OK... so the world didn't end last Saturday. On the other hand, all those who cry in outrage over the depravity in the world aren't completely crazy. I have been half-following the story of Sheena Upton, the so-called "Botox Mom" who became an overnight name for claiming to have given her 8-year old daughter Botox injections and even hair-waxings to keep her young and pre-pubescent. Needless to say, many people were outraged and soon afterward custody of her daughter was taken away and the child placed in protective custody by the local child protection department. Happy Foster Care Month. The next thing I heard, Upton had a new claim and was back in the news. She then claimed that the whole Botox and waxing thing was just a fake... She claims she did it for money [supposedly $6000 from the reporter who broke the story initially]. Mom of the Year award is definitely out for this lady!
I couldn't stop thinking of the daughter as all this unfolded. Each time this woman [or the reporter] was back in the news. Each time I heard people talking about the case. Each photo, each video, each interview. And somewhere there is an eight year old girl who has lost all that is familiar to her. She is probably in a different school system, different neighborhood, with a new family that is still a set of strangers to her. How much anger for what has been done to her, for what has happened since, for all that she has lost, is churning inside her? Is she acting out in her new home? Is she trying to be the perfect child? What kind of help is she getting? What kind of support are her new foster parents getting? Once again the true victim is out of sight, and sadly for most, out of mind.
This is Foster Care Month. Why can't just one journalist take this sad instance as an opportunity to do a story about the crucial safety net that foster families provide in a time of such crisis for children? Why can't they do a story about the impact of relocating on foster children so that classmates and friends are more sympathetic and less bullying to a foster child in their schoolroom? Why can't they talk about the support systems needed that are being cut right and left in the city and state budget crises that are happening all across the country?
Just one journalist to tell the story of so many children, so many losses, so many parents willing to open their hearts and homes, so many people working to heal damaged hearts and souls. It is National Foster Care Month. The story is sooo important and so desperately needs to be told. They are quick enough to tell the story when it is a negative story about foster care. There are over half a million children in foster care... each one with a story, each one traumatized by loss and often much more. Tens of thousands of foster families trying to create security, healing, and love. So many possible stories. Just one reporter. Where is he? Where is she? Just one?
I am a lifelong educator, writer and author, a foster, bio, and adoptive parent, happy mom of five daughters, Grandma to six, Nana to four, and church and theater musician. Oh yes, and all-round optimistic, crazy lady.