By A. Hosack, P. Berman, & K. Hecht
My life is so much better because the Carsons took me in. What if they could get someone to take in Larry? He really needed help, his parents were even scarier than hers.
Claire got so excited watching the video her mind was racing. Larry’s parents had beaten his back raw with daily beatings. He had missed a lot of school because he couldn’t put on a shirt. When he turned 14, the beatings finally stopped when he grabbed the whip from his dad and fought back. Since then, there was an uneasy truce in the house, they let him live in their basement and take food out of the refrigerator, but he was not allowed upstairs for any other reason and they called him ever foul word that had ever been invented.
Larry had never directly told Claire about this; he wasn’t much of a talker. However, when they took their clothes off, she could see the scars and welts on his back; she knew what caused these – she had a few herself. However, once when stroking his neck, she had felt some strange marks she couldn’t identify. At first when she asked him about it, he just grunted. But, as she sat silently waiting, he finally told her that when he was little, his dad would put the stub of his cigarette out on the back of his neck to teach him who was the boss.
Claire hadn’t told the Carsons anything about Davy’s dad. Larry was private about his life and would be furious if he found out she had told the Carson’s anything. But maybe if she told them just a little of what Larry had gone through, they would help him find a foster home. If he got the kind of help, she was getting, maybe he would want to marry her and be a good father to Davy. Claire decided to start small, she asked them if any of their friends might want to become foster parents?
The Carsons didn’t know what to say. Their friends had all met Claire and Davy and they did envy the fact that the Carsons weren’t lonely any more. But all their friends were retired and living on fixed incomes. The money Ms. Alexandra gave them as a stipend for taking care of Davy and Claire didn’t cover much. While there was a local doctor who was on contract to provide Claire and Davy with medical care, the Carsons had been shocked at how quickly Claire and Davy were ushered in and ushered out by the nurse and doctor. When they had tried ask a question about Davy’s immunization shot for Davy, the doctor had told her he didn’t have time for chit chat.
After that visit, the Carsons brought Claire and Davy to the pediatrician they had used. Ms. Alexandra did her best, but she didn’t have the budget to cover the difference in cost between this pediatrician and the one they had a contract with; the Carsons decided they would just cover the rest of the cost themselves. The Carsons also covered extra costs like buying books for Claire to read Davy and subscribing to the parenting magazine Claire liked. It was amazing how these few extra costs added up. They had started shorting themselves on their medicine to have enough money to cover the bills.
The Carsons’ friends had all met Claire and Davy and had envied the Carsons having company all the time. They admitted being lonely and bored at times. However, once they learned about the Carsons money problems, the envy ended; in retirement their greatest fear was running out of money.
The Carsons didn’t want Claire to feel bad so they hid from her their problems paying all the bills. Caseworker Alexandra didn’t know they were sacrificing their own medical needs either. She did know it was a miracle she had found the Carsons for Claire and Davy. There were a lot of rules around “who” could be a foster parent, and this made it more difficult to find families, particularly for teens who could be harder to care for. It was so frustrating that there were parents out there for teens that she thought would be great but the rules…
There is a bill that would prevent discriminatory practices in selecting foster parents. What might happen if instead of sitting around gathering dust, the bill was presented for a vote and passed into law? Could you or someone else you know spread the word about the need for more foster parents? Do you think single people should be allowed to be foster parents? What about gay couples?
If you follow the link below, you can find a proposed bill related to allowing more people to become foster parents if they have the skills and resources to offer a safe home and caring support.
What do you think of it? Would you support it?
For additional tips for ways to support foster families, like helping them get more family and friend support visit: https://www.mightymoms.club/support-foster-parents/