Match Closed

My “Little Sister” has gone to live in Corona with a new foster family that may or may not permanently adopt her. She’s been through this scenario before. A few times actually. In fact this time, papers were being processed by this family to adopt her straight away from the foster family she was currently with while I was mentoring her, but she ran into a few problems. These problems were not exactly new however. Mainly they were stealing and throwing tantrums. Alicia was not new to throwing tantrums. They came after she would find out when an adoption fell through, and in this last case, one of her younger foster sisters was being adopted by her current foster mother – in the house she had lived the longest since being in foster care at six years old. Yet, it didn’t seem clear to her foster mother that this could’ve been the reason Alicia’s antics suddenly escalated. She stole from school (pens, clothes from Lost & Found, art supplies), from Macy’s while Xmas shopping (jewelry, hair accessories), from her foster mom (quarters out of a glass jar she kept in her bedroom). The quarters quickly added up to $60 and she purchased and sold candy at school for a profit. Candy she was not allowed to eat – at all. She has some enamel deficiency on her teeth so she is not allowed to ever eat candy. (Can you imagine a 10 year old forbidden to eat candy?)

Well, her foster mom had quite enough of all these broken rules, so she called the agency to give her 7-day notice to get Alicia out of her house.

I tried to get along with Mrs. M. I was very respectful. She is an elderly, old-school, traditional Mexican grandmother that has successfully raised several children of her own and through Social Services. Her home is spotless. All the kids have impeccable manners (including Alicia), and she is very strict – which most of these kids probably need: structure. But psychology was probably not her strong suite. She knew about Alicia’s past, but had some unrealistic expectations of her regardless. Alicia had come a long way since coming into Mrs. M’s house.

I was told that when she first arrived there, she had only one outfit. The one she had on. It had holes and was deeply stained with grime and still had a stench after washing. Her socks did not match, her shoes were worn through on the bottoms. She had no idea what hair conditioner was. She had never used eating utensils. She had no toys. This was her fifth foster home. She just turned nine.

Her father died when she was six. Her mother was an addict and her older brother was molesting her. Social Services took her away and placed her into a foster home where the adult male was found to be molesting her in addition to what she had already gone through. She then hopped from foster home to foster home until she arrived with Mrs. M, which was the first Latino home she landed in. Alicia is Latina.

Now she is in Corona. Mrs. M told the social worker nothing about the Big Sister program, and the social worker would not return CBBBS‘ calls. Match Closed.

I will reapply in May.

We had some fun together. We made paintings, puppets, t-shirts, bracelets, We went to the movies a few times, we tried different restaurants, we went swimming, we went bowling, listened to music, she came over and we decorated the Christmas tree, we talked, we went to the arcade, played a lot of Tic-tac-toe, and kept a activity book together. We danced to Beyonce too. For the most part, we did have fun. At times she was shy. At times I was shy. She was very disconnected (understandably) and she had pretty significant OCD, which made it hard for her to have “fun” in some instances. I still wonder if I was any good as a “mentor.” I hope she knew she was important to me and that I love her.

alicia - Copy

One thought on “Match Closed

  1. Scarlett March 8, 2013 / 6:06 pm

    Carol, this poor child’s life is/was rough and happy endings aren’t too common in the Foster Care system. My sister is a Social Worker and has told me that most foster children have abandonment issues, hoard food (because they have experience of being placed in places where they don’t get enough food), etc. One thing I know is that however tough Alicia’s road ahead is, she will always, always remember her time with you as a bright spot – and everyone needs that special *good* memory. You’ve done a real good thing… and you put a smile on her face and some kindness in her life.

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