Blockbuster Babies

Posted · 38 Comments

My daughter Destini wrote this for a class this year…I thought it was really good so I thought I’d share. Destini is eighteen years old and a senior in high school.

                In most cases, “you’re going to have a new sibling” is a surprising, exciting, interesting, unusual experience for a family. For me, this happens about once a year. My parents live as foster parents and have for as long as I can remember.  In my 18 short years, starting at the young age of 5, I have had more than 18 siblings. My house has always seemed a sort of “Blockbuster” of children.

We have ‘New Releases’. The fragile, the angry, the dramatic, the traumatized. We get the young, scared ones whose lives have been nothing short of a horror movie. The small children who have just been ripped from their families…hot off the presses. Straight from the studio, where their few years have been illustrated and documented in an up-close-and-personal tale titled ‘Abuse, Drugs, and Things You’ll Never Understand, So You Love Your Parents Anyway’.

Also in the category of ‘New Release’ reside the older teenagers. Ones who have spent their whole lives in a secret, dysfunctional world where they were probably raised knowing how to cook meth, but not how to spell their own names. These kids usually come shy, quiet, and keeping to themselves. They stay strong, and never cry, because that would warrant either punishment or a complete lack of attention where they come from. They will make you laugh, cry, and find yourself overwhelmed with the desire to hug them. Usually these ‘New Releases’ won’t stay long …they are over-nighters. They’ll often be bounced around from home to home or eventually go back to their families.

The first example that comes to my mind in this category was the beautiful, popular girl from my English class. She sat in front of me, and always had the cutest clothes…and cutest boyfriends. I was always jealous of her, I remember. Until, of course, my mom got the phone call that this particular girl was at the hospital waiting on a foster family. She and her little sister had gotten torn from their mother just hours before after the cops discovered their mother was a well-known methamphetamine dealer. The girl, it was discovered, was already well addicted to meth. She was brought to our house on a long, silent drive, and proceeded to curl up on the hard wood floor in front of the fire place without a word. She didn’t care to wipe off the usually perfect makeup that smeared her face. Her breathing was heavy and she shook as she lay there. Meth Withdrawals. After hours of this, she found her way into the living room where she curled up and fell asleep in a chair. We offered her blankets, food, and pajamas, but she declined with a silent shake of her head. The girl was gone when I got up for school the next morning.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, we get the ‘Old Releases’. They’re often older, with more pain in their eyes. These veterans of the system come as usually one or both of two things: angry or comedic. The angry ones often are beyond fixing. They’ve seen too much…you can see it in their faces. They cover up their pain by lashing out, because it remains the only thing that has ever worked. Sometimes it may seem the only thing that will get them attention. The comedic seem often overly rambunctious. Their jokes, bits, and anecdotes elevate to extrememely loud, so everyone will listen. But they have the same intentions as the angry. They use their comedy to cover up a past full of pain, and unthinkable horrors. Always friendly, always smiling, and always seeking attention. Regardless of how they cover it up, they’ve all gone through the same routine. 11 homes in six years… 15 in seven. The longest placement they’ve had did not surpass a month or two, before getting shuttled on to the next waiting family, who will reject them once more. We had an eight year old boy once who asked if he could stay for a long time… “like three months”.  The old releases, they’ve lived through the ringer.  Their life stories will make you cry by the time they recount the first five years of their lives. They don’t fly off the shelves nearly as fast as the new releases. No one wants the older versions.  Most just go from home to home until they get old enough to get cast out of the system on their own, because by the time they reach a certain age, why does it matter?

Last, there are the Classics, or lifers – either the lucky few who get adopted as babies, or the biological children who just have to watch from the sidelines. I’m a Classic, a biological, the only one who has mom’s nose and dad’s hair color. I watch the different stories from an outsider’s point of view, feeling guilty because I’ve always had parents who love me and I’ll never truly understand. I’m the babysitter, the big sister, and the tour guide. We’ve seen all the stories, from babies with AIDS, whose diapers we had to change wearing rubber gloves, to the little boy who came from a world of abuse and neglect yet still cried for his parents. Classics, we remain the mediators. We help decide who stays and who goes. We know all the stories, everyone’s background. We can immediately differentiate between new and old releases; between the angry and the comedic. We classics, we’ve mostly lived the good life. But we live here to help. We listen to the stories, and baby the ones who have grown out of getting babied, but just need the attention. Classics will stay around as comfort. Classics remain where you go when you need a feel-good moment, or a warm, simple evening. We always stay there.

My house remains the gateway. My house is the editing studio after immediate filming of a terrible story, or the last place an old release will land before their release in to society. We’ve seen all the stories, wiped innumerable tears, and taught the diagnosed unteachable. My parents are recognized as heroes in the foster-parenting world. They’ll rescue anybody, keep the most troubled children, and do their best to fix the unfixable. We live as a myriad of stories, backgrounds, and lost siblings. We are the Blockbuster of misplaced children.

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38 Responses to "Blockbuster Babies"
  1. Tiffany says:

    She definitely has your talent for writing!

  2. LisaC says:

    What an amazing young lady you have. Lovely insight.

  3. Jo R says:

    such adult writing from one so young, but harrdly a surprise when you see how she is parented and by whom, amazing family all round 🙂

  4. Annette E2 says:

    What a beautiful story — you can easily tell it is from a beautiful soul!  Many happy tomorrows, Destini.  Best wishes for a wonderful future as you begin to take on the world!!  From a friend in San Diego, CA

  5. AmandaJean says:

    Simply amazing…a little teary at work now. What an beautiful family you are 🙂

  6. Lks says:

    I am not sure how I missed this one.  It really touched me.  I think that makes my career a producer… if your mother is the Director, lol!  I could really see this played out into a book or play as it is so dynamic and spot on!  Well done!

  7. Alicia says:

    Makes me cry…beautifully written. Destini, you’re experiences have given you an incredible gift to magnify and show to the world. I can’t wait to read more of your writing.

  8. mamabearof2KSboys says:

    Your daughter is so incredibly talented.  Every word is heartfelt and touching, leaving a lump in my throat and tears crashing my eyelids.

  9. Angels on earth! You have the right name. Destini, you are the master of your own, You know more about life and the than most people will ever know and an amazing ability to let the world hear the truth though your words. You will never know the total extent of your words on this world, but I can guarantee that have changed a huge part of the world with your heart!! You go girl!!

  10. Amanda says:

    Amazing. And a great perspective from the other part of a fostering world. Beautifully written Destini!

  11. roxylynnjackson says:

    As an educator, I am impressed with her ability to express herself so well in her writing.
    As a counselor, I am moved by her ability to connect with her emotions and her ability empathize with others.
    As a mom, I just want to give her a hug and a high five.  Nice job.

  12. Mankeys says:

    beautiful

  13. Dan Egher says:

    Amazing words from a high school student. May every high school student have as much appriciation for life and family as this young lady.

  14. L.G. says:

    A hug for Destini, and a big congratulations! What an amazing essay. You raised her right

  15. Kate says:

    Needs a button that give 5 thumbs up, heck 10 of them.  Wonderful essay!

  16. Anita says:

    what am awesome post!

  17. Terri Martin says:

    Had to read it thru tears. Thanks for sharing. It is beautiful!

  18. Chelsie says:

    Chills. If she ever writes a book about her life I want to read it. 

  19. Pat says:

    Destini – I am blown away by your story.  You are definately a chip off the old block.  Keep on writing – you are awesome!

  20. ValerieB says:

    Wow. I don’t even have the words, as I sit here in tears…just wow.

  21. Jill Baird Hodge says:

    Wow!  That makes me cry it is so moving and powerful.  Destini, keep up the good work – both the writing and the Classics.  🙂

  22. Laney Connell says:

    What a blessing your family is for the world.  This post should come with a Kleenex warning!

  23. Kkoschke says:

    Our newest grands all came as fosters with sad stories.  They are all permanently ours now.  I don’t think they remember but they do bear the scars, some will never go away.  Thank you Destiny, for being an awesome big sister.  Bless you for the sacrifices you have made. You are a beautiful young lady.

  24. Heather says:

    As a fosterc hild myself and now a foster parent for 3 years, this hit home! Thanks!

  25. Surfdoc says:

    Destini – wow – this piece is simply brilliant.  Thank you to your mom for posting this.  Have read and reread it and I now wish that we had tried harder with our comedic old release.  Keep on writing – you have such talent.

  26. Klhiatt214 says:

    So, did she get the well deserved A?

  27. Andrea says:

    W.O.W as a foster mother with three ‘classics’ I have my boys grow to be as kind and loving as you! What an amazing young woman!

  28. Anneypanney says:

    What a bright intelligent insightful young woman you are Destini!

  29. Tara Dong says:

    This is shockingly stunning…well done Destini…keep writing and keep comforting.  What a gift you have!

  30. Richardson Sars says:

    This is beyond beautiful. Looks like Destini takes after her Mom.

  31. Billeen Carlson says:

    Nice.

  32. Night Rider says:

    Damn. Just…..damn.

    Wonderfully written, Miss Destini. 

  33. Onedefyinggravity says:

    She has a gift like her mother…..thank you for sharing.

  34. Meg says:

    Wow, Destini is her mother’s daughter. In more ways than one.

  35. Danyellsplace says:

    Wow! Truely touching… she is an amazing writer just like her mom. I am thankful for knowing your family, as little as I do. You are all beautiful and giving people. It makes my heart happy to know there are people out in the world like you. As I child I thought all people were wise and giving, growing up I learned different. Thank you for being you 😀  

  36. Pam in Elk Grove, CA says:

    Bless you Destini!

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