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2017 Update

Quick update from NYC.

Blitzen, Carrie and I officially adopted each other in September 2016, more than nine years after Blitzen entered the foster care system.  Blitzen has grown into a brilliant, fashionable and fierce 14-year-old with remarkable talents.  To know her is to be smitten.

Blitzen’s oldest sister (Dancer, age 16) has been in our care since October 2016.  We’re not sure she’ll be here much longer, but we love having her.

Blitzen’s youngest sister (No Reindeer Name, age 3) lived with us for eight months in 2015-16. She now has permanency with her father, which is a great thing we advocated passionately for. We see her on weekends and miss her like crazy.

Three of Blitzen’s siblings have been in foster care for ten years with no permanency in site.

Carrie and I remain passionate about creating a child welfare system that works for kids, parents and communities.  We believe that public policy should support families.  We believe that undoing institutional racism would lead to better outcomes.   We believe that permanency is essential for the health of children.

We believe in #PermanencyforSandy. We love Rebecca, Sandy and Clementine and miss the Fosterhood blog, which was a huge inspiration for us.

Fosterhood’s sabbatical reflects the pressure to be silent that exists for those stuck in the child welfare net. That pressure has the impact of erasing voices of birth parents, foster parents, kids in care and former foster youth – the very folks whose experiences should be central to our child welfare discussion.

As a person with privilege and safety, I feel an obligation to speak out on behalf of just, accountable child welfare system. With that in mind, I revisited Fosterwee and made a handful of old posts public (about 30 out of 800).

Fosterwee’s special beauty was the potent combination of Blitzen’s inimitable spirit and Carrie’s daily ability to capture the messiness with honest, sparkling prose. We won’t have that moment again.  Blitzen’s story is for her to tell, and it’s likely to be found on Snapchat, Youtube or in concert. While Carrie and I consider new platforms, we’re delighted to connect with friends committed to a humane, equitable child welfare system.

Thank you for the generosity, love and support.

Gratefully,
Andrew

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When we started this blog, Andrew and I, I think we mostly wanted to force ourselves to produce a record of what we expected would be an unusual, amazing, heartbreaking, confusing, joyful journey.  And it has been those things.  It has been a little bit of an electronic lifebook of the past year plus, a public journal of our attempt to parent/love/engage/give to a creative, bright, sad, angry little girl.

For me, the blogging has been way more.  It has been something that I have done for myself in a way that I did not anticipate.

I really enjoy writing – who knew?  It is cathartic and liberating and forces me to be mindful and experience this experience now, as it is happening.

It has also built a community of support.  When I feel tired or like I am not a good parent or think to myself, why on earth did I sign up to do this exhausting, maddening job? Somebody always hears me and responds in a way that makes me take a deep breath and reminds me that I can do this.  That I am doing it and I am doing it pretty darn well, actually, so I should let go a little bit and accept and relax.  And often the responder is a total stranger which is oddly validating because, wow, someone that doesn’t even know and love me, is taking time to send me good internet vibes.  How thoughtful, how kind, how helpful it is to hear from you, internet peeps.  And I also feel, as corny as it sounds, that creates an atmosphere of love for Blitzen.  She doesn’t know about it but I do — a kind of shockingly large number of geographically diverse people are rooting for her and interested in her story.

All this to say, thanks for talking me into blogging, Andrew.  It has totally been worth it.

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Fosterwee got some blog love from Fosterhood today.  Carrie and I reacted simultaneously: Oh crap — now we have to start writing in our blog.

It would be hard to overstate how famous Fosterhood is in our house; if we were featured in the Times it wouldn’t have been as big a deal.* We read the blog, discuss it, laugh about it, refer to it pretty constantly.  Our families call us when something exciting happens to Rebecca.  During one of my personal interviews with our agency, I mentioned that I knew all about what it would be like to return a child in our care back to her parents because I’ve been reading the saga of Jacket.  (The social worker had no idea what I was talking about.  Thankfully I didn’t go on to say that I understood the theory of relativity because I read a biography of Einstein, or that I knew all about being President from watching West Wing.)

I don’t have the skill set of a successful blogger.  My favorite bloggers post religiously, without excuses, no matter what’s going on.  They post long or short, happy or sad, sane or crazy.  Like Ichiro, they get a hit or two every day and steadily create a compelling 3,000 hit narrative.

Carrie has the discipline to be that blogger.  (Yup, she’s consistent, in addition to being brilliant and beautiful.)  I do not.  I’m likely to write five entries tonight and slack off until December.  I’m likely to start writing and then “research” an Aaron Sorkin hyperlink and spend an hour reading about his upcoming HBO show.  I’m likely to be Pete Reiser, teasing with potential.

But if Fosterhood says we’re bloggers, we kind of have to blog.  Which is probably why we told her, right?

A couple years ago when Carrie and I made the decision that foster care was the way we wanted to add to our family, we told a bunch of people.  We didn’t say this to each other at the time, but what we were doing was creating a community to hold us accountable.  If friends and family were asking us how the process was going, we should probably have an update for them.

We want to blog because we want to document our foster journey for fosterwees and for ourselves.  We want to blog because we want to assembly a community of elders and learn from their experiences.  We want to blog because we might eventually be helpful to other foster families.  If folks are reading our blog, we should probably have updates for them.

Darn you, Fosterhood.

* Carrie and I also think that Ellis Paul and Carrie Newcomer are famous rock stars.  We might not always be plugged in to the zeitgeist.

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