When children suffer because of mix ups and mismanagement of cases by child “protection” services, is anyone held responsible?
Is a mother simply a person who gives birth to a child? Or, is a person who gives birth to a child necessarily a mother to that child?
The answers to these questions aren’t as black and white as they may seem on the surface.
Are state child “protection” services really in place to help the children they are supposed to be protecting and serving? Or, are they in place more to help the parents who have not been so protective of their children?
And when children suffer because of mixups and mismanagement of cases by child “protection” services, is anyone held responsible?
Again, no black and white answers. Just gray.
This is our story. It may seem to be a story about us, but we more hope it to be a story about life and life’s journeys and tackling all that life throws… a story about being in between here and there.
This is a story about feeling loved and feeling lost, about strength and weakness, about confidence and uncertainty, about serenity and turmoil, about stability and upheaval, and about being cherished and being forgotten.
It is a story about the selflessness of living clean and the selfishness of addiction and giving in to addiction.
And finally, it is a story about responsibilities and about neglect and abuse of responsibilities.
What lies in between all of these micro-stories is a huge gray area, where so much of our lives have unfolded.
Who are we? My name is Siarah. I am 11 years old as I write this. Right now, I call myself Siarah State of Louisiana, because I am, as so often in my lifetime has been the case, somewhere between here and there. My biological parents have surrendered their rights to me but our much awaited Adoption by my new family is not yet final. So basically, at this moment in my journey, I am entirely the property of the State of Louisiana.
My sister is Savanah, and she is one year older than me, to the month. We fight constantly and make each other miserable a lot of the time, but deep down we know that there have been countless times when all we had in this whole wide world was each other. So I guess you can say we are pretty close to each other. In a way. Some times.
As we write this story, we are just weeks away from being adopted by a great family, starting our lives with a new beginning just as we are close to becoming teenagers. It may seem a little late to be starting over with a new beginning, but better late than never is the way I see it.
We consider ourselves very fortunate but with a lot of bad fortunes
All in all, we consider ourselves very fortunate but with a lot of bad fortunes. Through our biological mother, we have two little brothers and three little sisters, and one day when they are able to, they will have plenty of stories to tell as well. We just hope they get the chances and opportunities that we are getting.
Very, very fortunate
Savanah and I both want to emphasize early on in our story that we consider ourselves very fortunate. Our story is not meant to be a sad story or a “pity us” story in any way. We realize we are definitely some of the lucky ones.
Really, when it comes down to it, we know we are so much more fortunate than so many kids who end up in the Foster Care system and also more fortunate than kids who were dealt a bad hand in the parents’ department but don’t end up in Foster Care, or in any care for that matter.
We are telling our story, putting it together in writing, to hopefully show the evils of drug use… to hopefully show that kids need protection.
We hope further to illustrate the fact that kids understand a lot more than they are given credit for… to show that kids crave knowledge of things that affect them…
We hope to show that the it would be nice and even beneficial if the Foster Care system and the Adults who work for it cared about kids as individuals, and not just as nameless, faceless burdensome objects.
I believe very much that sometimes it is God’s way for children to make their own way.
And last but hardly least, we hope to inspire kids to know that sometimes it is they who have to fight for themselves. This may sound harsh, but it is real. There are times when you are the only one you can count on to stick up for yourself.
I know this is easier said than done… we didn’t start fighting for ourselves really until just about a year ago this October. Until then, we just let the Adults direct us in our lives even though some times, perhaps many times, we believed or even knew that they were clueless as to what was really best for us. Or, as was often sadly the case, we believed or even knew that they simply did not care what was best for us.
Some of most valuable inspiration we hope to offer kids is not to fall into the trap that we fell into by thinking they are insignificant.
It’s not who you are that can hold you back, it’s who you think you aren’t. Thinking you are nobody can get you nowhere. It’s easy to think you are nobody and nothing when you are caught in certain situations, but that feeling is a definite trap.
Have faith in yourself, have hope for your future. It, too, is much easier said than acted upon, but I believe very much that sometimes it is God’s way for children to make their own way. It might not seem fair and may even sound a little cruel sometimes, but have faith in a Higher Power up there or amongst us who truly wants what is best for you.
It is because of all we have gone through and all we have experienced that we are who we are today. I believe very much it has made both of us very strong people and that strength, if we hold on to it and build on it, will carry us through the rest of our lives.
A few notes about our story before we continue…
First… names (other than ours) have been changed. Largely to prevent any unnecessary embarrassment and in very small part to prevent promised revenge, from at least one family member.
Second…We wrote most of this story when we were ages 11 and 12. A few of the final chapters, we wrote at ages 12 and 13. We are now 18 and 19. We waited to publish it for many years for many reasons and for no particular reason.
Third… As we wrote our story, we ended each chapter with a summary… I guess you could say a speedier, edgier version of the chapter.