This is a true story about two South Lake Tahoe children. The names and a few details were changed to protect privacy.
Lucy is a big sister. She has a younger brother named Jackson. Lucy has a shy smile — the sweet and contagious kind. Jackson has a smile from ear to ear — the light-up-the-room kind. Lucy has long, straight, shiny brown hair that she likes to put up in a ponytail. Jackson has crazy, curly brown hair that he doesn’t want brushed at all. They are adorable. Straight from heaven.
But things aren’t so heavenly in the lives of Lucy and Jackson. Lucy, as the big sister, was actually more like a parent to Jackson while growing up. She’s only two years older and yet she would have to help with “the baby.” Lucy and Jackson were born to drug-addicted parents. They were born to parents who, most of the time, weren’t really parents at all. They were either too busy getting high or too busy coming down to do much for their children. And in between those times, they would fight. Like punching-holes-in-the-wall fighting. Like mom-has-to-go-to-the-hospital again fighting. Like mom’s-face-is-all-black-and-blue fighting.
So this is how their story goes. The police are called on one particularly violent night. When the police discovered a 6-month-old and 2 year old in the home, Child Protective Services was contacted. A case was open and, long story short, the children were placed into foster care and were not able to be reunified with their biological parents.
Lucy and Jackson were eventually placed into a loving adoptive family that worked hard on creating an attachment relationship with them. But this goal didn’t come without its challenges. Because of the neglect that naturally comes with having drug-addicted parents and because of their exposure to violence and abuse, Lucy and Jackson came in scared and not sure who to trust. Why would they trust adults? I mean, come on, those people that were either yelling or passed out on the couch with no concern for them and their needs? But, thank goodness for Lucy and Jackson, we in the foster care system know now that such fears can be overcome. Children can learn to trust again. Children can attach to a parent again. Children can learn to love and be loved again!
Helping children is about learning what love is, because love is enough. If you are interested in caring for children like Lucy or Jackson, please contact Leila Rosner at the Foster and Kinship Care Education Program at 530-541-4660, ext. 575, for information on how to become a foster or adoptive parent. South Lake Tahoe is need of all types of homes: long-term homes, emergency homes, or respite homes. We have an information night on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Foster Family and Adoption Services at 2580 Lake Tahoe Blvd. Come get more information and have your questions answered. We’d love to meet you!
— Leila Rosner is an instructional specialist for Foster and Kinship Care Education.