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{February 27, 2011}   The Depths of my Rage…

So, I’ve disappeared a bit. There are reasons for this, and while I can’t get into particulars here, I want to discuss a few things that I’ve had the dubious honour of learning over the last 3 months.

First, the foster care system where I live SUCKS. Just…SUCKS.

Aboriginal children are treated like possessions, paycheques, and houseplants, at best.

No mind is paid to attachment. NONE.

Respite caregivers are helpless, even if they’ve known a child their entire life, and been a steady caregiver throughout.

Our system is more concerned about saving money than saving children’s lives, or saving families. You’d think they’d be able to strike a happy medium, right? Yeah, well, hope springs fucking eternal.

Foster parents are nothing more than vendors and have no power to advocate for the best interest of children. Zero. The courts and any other powers that be quite simply don’t GIVE A SHIT.

Even in the face of a reasonable solution that will provide minimal disruption for the child, Children’s Services will opt for the option that makes the least sense, and will turn a kid’s world upside down. EVERY. FUCKING. TIME.

Foster parents are naive, but it’s often not their fault. We ask questions, but those questions go unanswered in an effort to cut foster parents off at the knees and keep them quiet. I wouldn’t ordinarily say something so brazen, but what I have witnessed recently shocked even me, and I am not easy to shock when it comes to anything pertaining to foster care. Really.

So…I just want to say, if ever there is a foster parent reading this post:

PLEASE advocate. Don’t rely on your worker to tell you the whole truth. You MUST, MUST, MUST continue to ask questions, attend any court dates you are permitted to attend, and fight TOOTH AND NAIL if you believe a child to be in peril. You MUST, because it is your moral obligation as a foster parent, and a human being. Please do not simply “accept” what you are told by the system. Get lawyers, escalate complaints, write letters and be tireless.

Children die. Child abuse is not going away, but common sense IS. It’s NOT OK to send a child back to abuse without a fight of some kind. It’s not.

Children’s Services needs to remember who they work for. CHILDREN.

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{August 18, 2010}   The Milkman’s Kid

***I want to preface this post by saying that I am not comparing myself or my feelings to those of adopted people. I am simply relating my own experience, as seen through my own lens, as a non-adopted person. I am not commenting on how adopted persons should/do feel, and am not commenting on adoptive family dynamics. These are MY feelings, as they pertain to MY experience in my family of origin. They do not relate to adoption AT ALL, except that the stream of consciousness that lead to this post was instigated by an adoption-related post. That is all.

On an adoption-related forum that I frequent, there is often a question asked about biological kids who do not look like their families. The questions vary a little, depending upon who is asking, but the general theme is that non-adopted kids look like their families.

For some of us, this isn’t so.

I have been conscious of the differences between my family and I since I was a kid. I come from Irish and English folks on my mother’s side, and a big mix of stuff on my Dad’s side, but it does appear to be more Irish, English, and then some eastern european. However, my grandfather was from Missouri, so it’s not exactly a vibrant cultural tapestry. 😛

In any case, I grew up the youngest of 5 kids, by a large margin. There are 14 years between my brother and I. When I came along, I was already “different”. I was a long, skinny baby, where my siblings, all but my brother, had been short, round l’il bundles of joy. 🙂

Immediately, jokes were made within my family about how I surely didn’t belong here, and as I got older, they became more pronounced. The tallest woman in my family, save for me, is 5’3″. I tower over her at 5’8″. Most of my siblings are medium complected with naturally dark hair, and both my parents had/have dark hair also. My hair is sort of a strange reddish-blonde situation.

And then, there’s the freckles. What in hell? I am honestly the only one I have ever found in my family, including my extended family, that I know of, who has freckles. And not a couple, either. They are sprinkled across my nose, and prominent on my cheekbones and forehead, and as I get older, they are starting to creep down my arms.

Fantastic. 😦

As I grew older, many, many jokes were made by mean-spirited older siblings about me being “the milkman’s kid”. My mother didn’t appreciate the jokes terribly, but she also noticed the effect that they had on me and my self-image. I HATED being tall. I refused to wear heels at my own wedding. I hated everything about how much I stuck out. As a teenager, I kept my hair dyed dark, and made every effort to fit into the “cuteness” of my sisters, when I was in fact more the ‘Sarah, plain and tall’ sort.

These self-image problems catapulted themselves into massive insecurities in my early twenties, which were compounded by my history of childhood sexual abuse. I hated everything about my body. I hated every skin cell. I hated the fact that even though I had blue eyes, like my father, no one would have ever guessed that we were related. I was the only kid that ended up with blue eyes. Everyone else has hazel. It hasn’t been until the last couple of years that I have identified the impact, and how much it sucked to have some crazy, 4 generation old genetics while being plopped smack into the middle of tiny, “black irish” people.

Anyway, our family is very…”high spirited”? Ha ha. What I mean by that is that they are all batshit crazy. Lots of politics, infighting and the like. Until 2008  (the year I was married), I really didn’t know my extended family. They have only recently begun to trickle back into my life, and at 29, I am now starting to learn some really interesting (and many sad) things about our family’s “colourful” history.

My extended family, since they didn’t know me well as I grew up, often treats me as an “afterthought”. At my cousin’s wedding in 2009, my aunt, my mother’s sister, motioned to my mother through the crowd and hollered, “Can you get your three girls over here for a picture?”. She did not mean me. She had forgotten about me entirely. I felt like a jackass as my mother pushed me into the picture, and my aunt looked totally embarrassed, and apologized to me, while mispronouncing my first name. Sigh.

But, it has never stung so deeply as it has since I lost my father. I saw that question on the forum tonight, and what I usually considered sort of a “fluff” question now became a knife in my heart as I felt a profound disconnection from my Dad. I find myself wishing that I was his spitting image, his little girl. I just wanted to look like I was part of him, as if that would somehow carry forward his legacy.

He and I shared music, and a deep love and appreciation for each other, and little else. We could never talk politics. My whole family is conservative, while I lean so far left, they are often convinced I’m off the deep end. I have a different temperment and different mannerisms. I certainly look different…To look at family photos is actually laughable. I look like that weird stranger who offers to take a picture with your camera and then jumps into the picture at the last minute.

I don’t know why this is affecting me this way tonight, but I guess I just feel like my dad is getting further away, and I want him back. He was the one person in my family with whom I shared anything at all…music. And now, who will play with me? I’m going to be sitting alone Christmas Eve, strumming my guitar, and surrounded by musical instruments, in a sea of people who don’t know how to play and don’t care about it like I do.

I just want him back.



{June 16, 2010}   Oprah’s Redemption

OK, so…I’m going to be honest. I really don’t like Oprah. There are a lot of reasons for that, but generally speaking, I don’t enjoy her.

However, when I heard that she conducted an interview with convicted child molesters, I just HAD to see it.

I don’t know why I wanted to see it, but I know that part of me wanted to be able to get angry. I really did. I wanted to watch it, and hate these men. I wanted to take the anger that I have toward my abusers, and spew it at my laptop screen, at 11pm on a Monday, in my living room.

However, that is not what happened.

Watching this interview, the only frustration I felt was toward myself. In some sick way, I was frustrated with my own reaction to the candor of these men. I was frustrated with myself for not feeling more enraged, for not feeling more triggered, and for not feeling more horrified by what I was hearing.

The truth is, I felt none of those things. I felt no rage, no fear, no hatred.

I only felt sympathy.

Not empathy, but sympathy. I can’t relate to what they did. I can’t understand it. But in these interviews, I saw their humanity, and for a moment, the monsters from my childhood that haunt me in my mind have ceased to be monsters, and have become instead flawed, sad and ill human beings.

I’m not ready to forgive just yet, and I’ll never think that sexual abuse is forgiveable, but I now feel a greater sense of peace, knowing that the people who weilded power over me then, no longer have to. For they are only men. Flawed, sick men, entitled only to my pity.

See the interview here (warning…graphic and explicit details):

http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/Oprahs-Conversation-with-Child-Molesters



et cetera