Thursday, March 5, 2009

America-The Movie!

Oh man was this a hard movie for me to watch. Very hard...and its how many years later. Today at work I delivered a baby boy to his new foster home. Once a child goes into care--the first home they go to is called the Receiving Home. They are to be there for 30 days--sometimes its more--sometimes less. We like to get the babies in the "permanent home" quick so they are able to bond,,,otherwise you end up with RAD--Reactive Detachment Disorder which is a tough nut to crack once a child ages. They just dont know how to bond...all you have to do is think about that and you can figure out what that means. No bond, no emotion.

Anyhow, I work in this field and I had no idea that we can expect only about 20% of these children to make it once they age out or return home to places that arent the best place for them to be. I was one of these children. How did I make it in the 20% of success? Why me? I dont know the answer to that--but i do know that I was in touch with my spriritual side all my life..perhaps that is why. But it killed me tonight to see this movie and relive this pain--and then know so many kids just dont have a fighting chance. So many of these children have been sexually abused, abused, lied to, neglected, left on streets. The anger inside of them--its like a growing cancer. This movie--will help you understand why kids act the way they do...and more importantly why they need someone to love them, be there for them, help them get the garbage out. They need someone to help them succeed, to not end their life as a victim. They've been victimized enough.

I see kids go into foster care all the time. Today--for some reason maybe it was because I actually delivered the baby and his 2 bags of worldly possessions...it tugged at my heart. I actually got into my car and cried as I watched the Foster Mom pull away. I do believe this baby will be well taken care of. In the Receiving home he was in--in just 30 days I've seen remarkable changes in this baby. I do love seeing that in our children. Its amazing how physically these kids change once in foster care. Where I live--we have some fantastic foster parents--and I've seen wonderful, loving, genuine care. Still, when this baby left today--I sat and wondered---what will his little life be like? Will he ever reunite with his birth Mom? Will he end up with RAD? Will he be ok? Will someone be there to ensure his life is a successful one--I probably wont be working in this field when he is older to see if he is a victim of this or a successer.

If you havent had the chance to see this movie--make it a point to see it. Take the time to see how so many of America's children are living. If your able--open your heart and home to them. And if not--that is ok to--but add these kids to your prayer chains. They need it,,,I know because I was one of them. I made it--and its sad that so many dont. I think tomorrow--and hopefully for the rest of my working days in this job--I will look at this differently. I have to, I need to see some of them be able to do what I did--toss the demons aside and move forward.

Rosie O"donnel did a fantastic job with this as well as the boy who portrayed America. What an inspirational and eye opening movie.

I came back to add this.....America's children need our help. This is what i see in my county.

If you cant shelter a child,,,,pray for them!
If you have extra money here and there and want to KNOW it will go to good use and not partly good use--partly administrative costs...then contact your local Human Services Agency where they provide Foster Care and offer them some Gift Cards for Teens. Cards that we need all the time are---Hair Cuts, Gift Cards for Walmart so we can provide basic needs such as personal care products, underclothing, socks, etc. So many of our children come into care with nothing. And I mean nothing. Last week we placed a set of twins that came into care with the clothes on their back. Can you imagine the foster parents having to run out and provide clothing for twins? The county does help--but again our funds are limited due to this horrific economy.

Please if any of you can provide try to make this something maybe you do once a month--a commitment to a haircut or Personal Gift Card for a child. It truly does make our job easier and also the life of the child. I remember when I went into foster care at 15, I was one of those children whose parents would not allow me to take my things--so I went into care with the clothes on my back. I remember the first thing my Case Worker had to do was take me to JC Penny to buy underclothes. It meant the world to me to have clean, items that I needed.

14 Thanks for your comments!:

Sassy said...

oh my stars.....what a rewarding and at the same time heartbreaking job you have...I don't know if I could do that....I would get so emotionally involved....bless your heart! I'll have to see the movie...

Thank you for your honesty on my blog....I am afraid to do the etsy thing just yet as well...my blog doesn't get that much traffic...too I am working already three small jobs...and I am spread pretty thin...we are just getting more and more desparate as far as finances...so I was just curious what others thought and I love that you shared your feelings...I feel we come from the same mold in so many ways...have a good day...thank you my friend!!!

Shellmo said...

Dawnie - I'm so glad you are one of the kids that made it! And what a big heart you have! I hadn't heard of this movie but now must check it out. My husband & I have thought of adoption but also thought of fostering a child as well. (I have a 10 year old stepson right now.)

Flor Larios Art said...

No, I haven't watched this movie. I will...
You have a great job...great gift...be proud!
Flor

Ginger said...

Hi Dawn:
It's pretty eye opening what some little kids go through in their young lives. My d.i.l. is also in this field, and she's told me some horrific stories of the kids she encounters. It pisses me off that these women who can't take care of their babies, are out there having more. Not the kids fault though.
I'm glad you were able to come out of foster care with your head on your shoulders straight.
Ginger

Raggedy Girl said...

Dawnie:

I used to be a foster mom when I was younger. It is at the same time wonderful and heartbreaking. Thank you for what you do and for the great ideas of ways to help. I will look for the movie.

Have a Thankful Thursday
from Roberta Anne

cottage farm villa (cottagecharm) said...

Thank you for opening our eyes! I will see this movie very soon....and I appreciate your telling us about it.

Thank you also for the profession you have chosen. You are a special person to live each day this way ~ helping others.

~Cheryl

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Dawn, what a moving post! Was the success percentage the same when you were in foster care? It just seems that, even children with two good parents many times have more anger today than they did when I, or my children were growing up. It must be even harder on children who don't have good parenting. I'm sure you don't feel that your job has many rewards, but I want to give you a pat on the back for what you are doing. It must be such a difficult job, but it is good to know that someone with a heart is doing that job. laurie

Helen said...

Thank you so much for stopping by my place and leaving a comment on my cheesecake pie! I went back to look at the post and realized it was all out of alignment...so embarrassing! I fixed it! I still have problems sometimes getting everything to line up right. Your post is one of the most moving I've read. I had heard about this movie ... and plan on seeing it. So many young people need so much more than our system is able to provide so often. Take care .....

Lilly said...

You know Dawnie from the first time I read your blog, and certainly after you shared your own story, I knew you were one special woman. You truly are and I am so glad you are one of the 20percent who made it. I am going to see that movie. You are so right it breaks your heart for these tiny helpless kids who, through no fault of their own, are born into such dyfunction and then many of them show no emotion or empathy and in turn create even more dysfunction in the world. We who are privileged have some responsibility to help others who are not so fortunate. Take a bow, you are ttuly a blessing in this world. Truly!!

debbie said...

DEAR DAWNIE,
I AM HUGGING YOU REAL TIGHT....I AM JUST OVER-WHELMED WITH EMOTION THAT I CANNOT CONTAIN MY TEARS.
WITH THE JOB YOU HAVE, YOU MUST FIGHT TO KEEP A POSITIVE ATTITUDE....I USE TO LOVE THE SHOW AND STILL WATCH IT ON SYNDICATION JUDGING AMY AND HER MOTHER IS A SOCIAL WORKER......
I CANNOT IMAGINE WHAT IT MUST HAVE DONE TO YOUR SWEET SPIRIT TO GO INTO FOSTER CARE AT AGE 15.....I AM SO SORRY BUT GOD HAD HIS HAND ON YOU AND NOW TODAY YOU ARE SAVING CHILDREN....THAT IS AWESOME DAWNIE.
THANK YOU FOR SHARING SUCH AN INTIMITATE PART OF YOUR LIFE....
WERE YOU REUNITED WITH YOUR FAMILY????? DID YOU WANT TO BE????
I AM PRAYING DAILY FROM THIS DAY FORTH FOR YOU, AND ALL THE CHILDREN IN THE SYSTEM AROUND THE UNITED STATES...OUT OF SIGHT...OUT OF MIND...IT TAKES SOMEONE LIKE YOU DAWNIE TO MAKE US AWARE...WE GET SO CAUGHT UP AS A SOCIETY WITH OUR OWN NEEDS AND WE ARE BLINDED TO THESE PRECIOUS SOULS THAT NEED TO KNOW SOMEONE CARES FOR THEM.....
YOU NEED TO WRITE A BOOK DAWNIE.....
YOU WERE IN THE 20% THAT MADE IT....I AM TRULY APPLAUDING YOU.
YOUR AWESOME
BLESSINGS
HUGS
debbie

Dawnie said...

Well thank you so much Debbie. Really, sometimes I really need to hear the wonderful comments you and others have left.

Did I reunite with my birth family, NO...many, many attempts over these years, but all unsuccessful. The drinking, drugs, has never ceased, in fact its worse. The damage done to my 8 siblings has never been fixed. We all know by now--once you become an adult-its your responsibility to get help-and make the most of what you have been given. I dont feel sorry for myself one bit-I also know by now--so many of us were victimized as children. I wanted a better life for me, for my kids. Another thing I always said and recently thru studies done thru the CDC, I always said I will walk my life with a limp, you just cant undo all the damage done to you as a small child. Well so many didnt believe me--agree with me, go into more therapy-etc. They are working on studies now that show and prove when young children are severely abused they just "dont get over it" as adults..if they work hard they can become healed in alot of ways--but not all ways.
I'm really grateful everytime I meet someone that has had a great childhood-I think that rocks. And I'm really ok with mine because it contributes to who I am--and God never promised us life would be fair or easy...he just promised to walk with us thru it all.

JyLnC said...

What a beautiful post. I missed the movie so I will have to catch it in reruns. I did see Rosie on a talk show saying they found the young man who plays America while sitting in a restaurant or coffee shop. They were talking about who could play the part and Rosie looked over at a young man sitting with his family at another table. She pointed to him and said, we need a man like that. I'm paraphrasing but anyway they went over and introduced themselves and asked him to audition. He won the part.

Stay strong Dawnie and thank you for the idea about the gift cards. We do the Angel Tree every Christmas but this would be a way to help throughout the year.

rosemarie said...

i watched that movie,it was really good ,but very sad, it makes you realize how bad some of these kids live ..it was a great movie..

VINTAGE HOME lifestyle said...

Hello Dawn...thank you for following my blog. After visiting yours. I realize we have something in common other then loving great old stuff. I also was in foster care, group homes etc. since I was 8 yrs old. Unfortunatly I wasn't in any one for very long to be able to know what a stable home was. Although I think that I came out the other end OK. I still fight my demons and walk with a limp. But I feel that I am a stronger more kind person because of what I went through.

Thank you for doing what you do...it is a very hard job that you have.
Hugs...
Cathleen alyce