Author: Julie H., Foster Mom
My Norris foster case worker came across an art contest for foster kids and sent it to all her families. The theme of the contest is “What Keeps You Going?”. Miss D is an amazing artist so I encouraged her to enter. There is a $500 scholarship for the teen winner. As we approached the due date, I asked her to start thinking about the theme. I asked her, “Well, What keeps you going?”. She immediately blurted out Music and McDonalds. She loves to dance, sing, listen to music, and do TikTok videos. But then I thought, “McDonalds? Food”? So I asked her about the “food” part of it. I said if she focuses on food then the agency might see her as a poor foster child who wasn’t fed. And she said, “Well, that’s true. I didn’t have enough food before foster care”. Gulp.
Food. How privileged of me. How stupid of me. How could I have assumed that food couldn’t be important to her? I grew up with plenty of food. My kids grew up with plenty of food. But, as a teacher, I knew that my students didn’t always have food. Why didn’t I see that, of course, food would be important to her? But then I think, How will this impact her for the rest of her life? This one thing that I thought was “nothing”, will impact her life choices forever. I think of my grandparents going through the Great Depression. About them saving every sugar packet and saving every ketchup packet from McDonalds. Going to the food “outlets” and buying the expired food because they didn’t want it to go to waste. Kids in this world are hungry, the rest of us just don’t see it. Well, Miss D sees it. She lived it. My goal is for her to never have to live without enough food again.