Biological parents need our love, too

I recently had an eye opening-experience with the biological mother of my foster child. This biological mother, who has been truly difficult, was in the hospital and in a situation where she should have had people who love her there to support her. She had no one. She was alone.

So I went to the hospital to be with her. I may not be the person who should have been there for her, but it was important that someone was there to show her she was loved and not alone.

Sadly, for too long I have viewed her as a villain, as someone I needed to overcome. This situation helped me to see the humanity in her, helped me see that the people in her life have failed her–failed to love her.

A friend recently shared a quote with me from the show Midwife. It went something like this: “Poverty isn’t about poor housing, dirty clothes and families of 10. It’s about never being loved or even respected. It’s about not knowing the difference between love and abuse.”

Tragically, that is the world that many foster kids and their biological parents live in. It’s a world of poverty, the poverty of never knowing real love and therefore never being able to give it. I commit to changing that world for one child, one biological parent at a time.

- Charonne Ganiere, licensed foster parent
Charonne Ganiere

 


Comments

Biological parents need our love, too — 12 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this. We are in a similar situation right now with our adoptive daughters bio Dad. I am with you in changing the world- one child,one bio parent at a time.

  2. Keeping the children with their biological parents is the only way to insure children are cared for. Never removing children from their parents is necessary. The foster care system should be illegal? Anyone wish to discuss this?

    • I agree that biological families need our love and support-I believe this is the very essence of which Charonne was trying to convey.
      We as foster parents are all at different levels in our ability to work with birth families. Personally, I am at a point where I view fostering as a whole family experience. I am not attempting to take anyone’s child away from them, I am merely the safe place for their child while the child and family heal.
      Although I respect your opinion, I must strongly disagree with your statement that the only way to keep a child cared for is to keep them with their family. I fully support putting into place community supports both formal and informal to prevent the removal of a child but the child’s safety must always come first.

    • I have been an educator for 22 years, a mom for 17 and a foster parent for over 7. I have worked with countless parents and children, who have shared countless opinions, on how to raise, discipline and care for children. I am always cautious when someone’s opinion is loaded with many absolutes such as always, never or the only way. When dealing with human beings much of what we do is not an always,never or only way. I respect you have an opinion but I struggle with it being loaded with “The only way to . . .” and “Never removing from parents . . .” not to mention some statistic that I don’t feel are valid (Less than 1% of both parents are abusers ?) Personally, I have had placements where that IS true – I share a fact there.
      The absolutes I would infuse into this discussion would be that a child should ALWAYS FEEL SAFE, a child should NEVER BE ABUSED and a child should ALWAYS FEEL LOVED! If those things can happen by the child staying with their family (immediate or extended) then great. If the family, immediate and extended cannot provide a safe environment, cannot avoid trouble with the law, cannot stay sober/drug-free, cannot take medication or seek help for a mental illness. . . then that is NOT the best place for that child. No amount of DNA shared makes you a good parent or the best choice.
      The incredible thing about fostering is the amazing moms and dads that take in a child, love a child, heal a child and forgo judgement to work with that child’s biological families. They give daily so selflessly and work so tirelessly to change a child’s, a family’s story. Our goal is always reunification but at the same time we hold dear the best interest of the child. You would have to agree with me that is is in a child’s best interest to . . .
      not be beaten and bear bruises/broken bones
      not be left alone without food or electricity
      not be sexually molested
      not raise your baby siblings when you are barely past the toddler stage yourself.
      What is important here is the best interest of a child, not the place, in your opinion, you feel is best for that to happen in. IT WAS NEVER ABOUT A PLACE . . . IT WAS ALWAYS ABOUT A CHILD!!

  3. Don’t remove the children from their home, their natural environment, their communities. This leads to a long life with many other psychological issues. You are creating more victims. When you support the act of taking a children from their home, especially against their will, you are reinforcing the problem of abuse in their life. When you are a part of taking a child away from their home it creates insecurity, loss of control and loss of skills that will be necessary later in their life to cope with the universe around them. The only way for a child and their family to heal, is to heal together. I agree there may be situations where some families are, for the moment, physically irreparable.(Death of both parents, both parents or another sibling as an abuser), but these situations are far and few between. Probably much less than one percent of the foster care population. We need to reform foster care and social services into an organization that works with us. We have solutions to heal a family’s wounds and help them along the way to recovery. When you take a child from their family, you take their family from them. For a while is too long. When a body heals, you don’t separate the part that needs to be healed. It is healed as one so it can live life to the fullest. The child is it’s family. The family is it’s child. If you have to separate the body under extreme circumstances, you keep the rest of the body intact. I seriously believe your thinking is in the right direction. But let me say this as I quote T.S.Elliot’s Little Gidding. Let’s look forward to the day when our community joins together. “And all shall be well When the tongues of flames are infolded Into the crowned not of fire And the fire and the rose are one”

  4. Don’t remove the children from their home, their natural environment, their communities. Foster care as it functions in this country will never work. Especially for those who think they are doing a service to the families who have their children kidnapped by a legal organization that has been embedded in this country almost since it’s establishment. It will never work for the children that have been legally kidnapped from their and held against their will, more often than not, separated from other brothers and sisters as a result of poverty or other pressures that cause their families to become dysfunctional. Instead of helping their families, the social system sets rules, without resources, tasks they can’t accomplish and can never meet. They are forever held in a quagmire of hopelessness and despair, a nightmare that never ends, but one that changes from one nightmare to the next They are forever trying to catch up while the rug is being endlessly drug from under them. The psychological toll becomes insurmountable. Their children are taken (legally kidnapped) from them and their community, then displaced into strange foreign environments that make no sense to them. Like a different country, a different language and custom, they then become detached from; a reality and placed where everyone is making nice. It’s not nice, it’s a farce. A nightmare!! Abuse!! If you want to stop child abuse, quit supporting organizations that legally kidnap children from their families. They do it for the money. Children should stay in their biological homes. Their home should have a support group that addresses their problems. Rapid Response with community oversight. A team which includes a psychologist, resource counselor(provides physical needs like food, house, jobs, doggy door, money, washing machine, fix things that are broke, etc.) transportation. Police for enforcement. If there is abuse in the home, the abuser should be removed from the home, given a restraining order, counseling and if necessary, prosecuted. Do not take the children from their natural environment or their communities. This leads to a long life of alienation and a lack of control of the self. When you lose track of who you are and where you come from aren’t capable, without assistance to nurture their own families or their communities. When you take a child from their home, you are creating more victims. Despite the good intentions of foster parents and others who want to help, they are only reinforcing the problem. No matter how good your intentions, when you support taking a child from their home, for whatever reason you become part of the problem in a child’s life. Use your energy fighting against taking children from their families, splitting up their family, separating them from their brothers and sisters, their friends, the things they’ve learned to know and to love and how to handle the things they don’t. When you are a part of taking children away from this, you are helping to create uncertainty in their lives, loss of control and a loss of skills that are necessary later in life to cope with the universe around them. You become a part of their problem. Do you want to share that blame? I’m older now. I look back to the child I was. Many memories. Making mud pies with my sister by the house in our yard. She sometimes dressed me up in her old clothes, but I didn’t care. It was the attention she gave me. When my brother got back from school we ran the neighborhood, joined up with some friends and played in the creek and the woods. As yours, a world of discovery. A lot of times we didn’t have a lot to eat. My father got discharged from the military and wasn’t able to find a job. We didn’t have much but I loved picking up a board in the yard and putting it on my shoulders, flying like an airplane through the grass. My mother had five young children to care for and our relatives were too poor to help. We were running all over town. I guess we ran through our neighbors yard too many times so they reported us. Our house was dirty and their was a lack of discipline in the family. My father was gone a lot, working or trying to find it. My mother wasn’t capable of handling us. But I ask you, should that give anyone a reason or a right to disintegrate a family forever? Make rules my parents couldn’t keep. Take us from them and split us up? I didn’t see my sister and younger brother until twenty years later. The youngest died in a car accident before I got to see him. I stayed with my older brother in foster homes for a few years until they separated us. The social worker told me I shouldn’t cry. I was molested by three brothers who ganged up on me in a home after that. I carry psychological damage from that to this day. Later, after I matured and tried to reconnect with my family, I discovered those bonds were broken beyond repair. You say that was that case or it was a sad case. It was a case that should never have separated my family for one minute. I have worked briefly with protection and permanency. This organization you have identified with has ruined lives beyond comprehension. Let me address your better points. 1. Not be beaten and bear bruises/broken; solution: Police. Remove the abuser. A restraining order. Do not remove the child! 2. Not left alone without food or electricity: solution: Provide a baby sitter, food and electricity to the family. Do not remove the child. 3. Not be sexually molested: Solution: Police. Remove the predator and prosecute. Do not remove the child. 4. Not raise your baby siblings when you are barely past the toddler stage yourself: Solution: This is unbelievable, your are making a judgement here. Solution: You can provide assistance and counseling to someone who is young in society by approaching their situation to help them with their child. Do not remove the child. Yes!! It is about place. Keep the child placed with the family!!

    • I am truely sorry to hear of your experiences with abuse and I will pray for your continued healing.
      I will also pray for my fellow foster parents to have the heart and strength to continue the amazing daily work they do! Continue to be part of the solution that enables a family, a child to heal :)

  5. “Quite often our opinions are based on our experiences, and I’m truly sorry for the experience you had.” I’m truly sorry for the experience you had, though I don’t know what it is, I know we are all the same.

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