Time to Wake Up and Smell the School Bus!

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It’s that time of year again. It’s time to buy your notebooks, pencils, crayons, and maybe even a new lunch box. It’s time to stand out on the corner with your neighbors, all wearing their best new outfit and fresh, clean sneakers, and wait for the sound of the diesel engine and squeaky brakes of a big yellow bus coming around the corner. That’s right! It’s time to go to… Siberia (don’t worry, my kids thought it was a lame joke, too)!

Today has me feeling nostalgic. Along with all of the good memories I have of being in school, I also remember some of the anxieties I had.

  • I often wondered if my teacher would be nice, or
  • If I would have any friends in my class, or
  • Who would I ride with on the bus (plllleeeaaasse! don’t let it be the kid with the tuba, I can’t fit in there, too!).
  • Would I have a lot of homework?
  • Would class be too hard?
  • What if I forget to study for a test, or even worse…
  • What if I forget to put on pants??!!!

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This makes me wonder about foster kids. Is this the way they feel when they are taken to a new home? I was a baby when I was adopted, so I have no recollection of living in foster care until I was adopted, but I imagine this would be how a foster kid would feel- but on a much larger scale. For many foster kids, packing up their belongings and being moved from home to home is an all too tragic reality. These kids feel the “first day jitters” way too often. Unfortunately, these kids don’t often have someone who is “in their corner”.  Just do a simple Google search and you will find a number of articles that state that school drop out rates are significantly higher amongst foster children than children from most othe demographic groups.  So what can we do to fix this problem?

  1. Training for teachers in the needs of foster/adoptive children
    Many times, teachers are over worked with large classes and heavy work loads, and they have a hard time understanding why children in their classes act out, or they are not ready to handle the aftermath of traumas many foster/adoptive children have.
  2.  A great support group
    Hey.  We can all use a little encouragement from time to time.  Foster and adoptive kids need more.  They have been rejected, moved around, traumatized, taken away from everything they once knew or understood.  The rules are different for kids in this situation, they are making up their own new reality, and they need everybody around them to help.  They need to talk- they need applause, accolades, and clear, constant guidance.  They need to constantly be reminded that they are strong, worthy, and respected.  They need a special person or people to always be there no matter what.

I know this is a tall order.  I know we can do it!  I know we can be a community for these children, and it may be frustrating and difficult, but I know, we can make a difference!  So, let’s make a difference- let’s show these kids that the “World is their oyster”.  I am so glad to be a part of the Transfiguring Adoption team because I want to reach out and help.  What are some ways you can help foster/adoptive kids in your community?

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It’s time for not only students to wake up and smell the school bus, but for advocates of foster/adoptive children everywhere to dedicate to teaching all kids how to thrive.

Oh- and in case you are wondering, school busses still smell like a delicious combination of rubber, pleather, and heat with a slight wafting of body odor on top.

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