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Uncertainty, and a Black Trash Bag

Dylan-LargeYou’re 5 years old. You’re lying flat on your stomach at the top of the stairs, listening to your social worker tell your foster mom that you have to go to another foster home. This always scares you, and makes you wish you were a normal kid.

Most of what happens doesn’t faze you, but what does matter is that you’re gonna have to meet a new family, get to know a new family, be a part of a new family. That’s always the hardest part. Adjusting to their standards, their norms.

You hear the creak of the steps, as your social worker climbs the stairs, to break the news to you. You always listen when your social worker comes. Her name is Ms. Goldie. You’re not even sure if that’s her real name. It just seems to sound nice, and go along with her hair, a shade of gold.

She’s always been kind to you. Breaking the news in the most caring way possible. She’d always say something like “We’re going on a trip. You’re going to meet a new family. They’re going to love you, and you’re going to be able to watch whatever you want on television. Not just Blue’s Clues. It’s time to get going. Get your things together, sweetie.”

Children aren’t supposed to feel this way. They’re not supposed to wonder where they’ll be in a day, a week, a month, or even a year.

You put everything you own in a black trash bag. What lies ahead, you have no way of knowing. You just have to brace for it, and hope for the best. You put your black trash bag in the trunk of your social workers’ car. You sit in the back seat, and you fasten your seatbelt.

On that day, you don’t meet a new family. You are left behind at the county agency. The building is cold, industrial even. But you’re a kid, and you don’t notice those things. Your black trash bag is set down, and your social worker buys you a bag of chips. You’re left to sit on a bench, alone.

After an hour, a sheriff’s deputy comes to get you. He doesn’t even know your name. He’s tasked with making sure you have a place to stay that night. He picks up your trash bag, and takes you to his office. You’re fortunate enough to get a sleeping bag, and a space by his desk. Hope is what you need, in every situation. Whatever you have to deal with, just deal with it. One way or another, you’re gonna get through it.

Published on May 8, 2013 as part of Children’s Rights’ “Fostering the Future” campaign. The opinions expressed herein are those of the blog author and do not necessarily represent the views of Children’s Rights or its employees. Children’s Rights has not verified the author’s account.