• Jenny Chamberlain

My Past, My History Is Not My Fault. It Does Not Define Me ~ Zoe~

Updated: Feb 9

Today, I completed my last two modules of foster parenting classes which were centered around "trauma" and I must say they were the hardest. I had to take some time out alone and catch a movie in order for me to decompress and let my heart and mind settle to process.


Now, for anyone who is thinking that these classes are regular "How To Do Good Parenting" types of classes, that they are not. That would be too simple. No, these classes are more complex and give you a reality check of what to expect from a child who most likely will view the world through a different set of lenses. Their world might look a little bit different than yours and mine.


Lenses. How Do You See The World? Hold that thought for a bit. How much of your childhood, your life experiences, your ups, your downs, how you were loved, unloved contributes to how you see the world, your life? How much of that is contributed to safety? Having regular meals and a roof over your head?


How about the lenses of which others view you? Yes, that makes me feel uncomfortable too. How comfortable is it to be around someone who you know will judge your every move, every laugh, every time you did not grip their hand hard enough during a handshake. How would you feel that if that "judgy" person contributed everything they thought you did wrong because you weren't loved enough. That as a result of no one really caring about you, that you pretty much didn't have a chance to be successful at anything or that you were simply just not worth their time...

Not cool right?


I mean, it was freezing cold outside and your hands were frozen, that's why you didn't give an extra big grin and a firmer grip on that handshake. It has nothing to do with your past. Your reality and mine is most likely that no one would contribute our human "flubs" to never being loved as a child.


That's just a "tad" of what I had to process today.


Since I have started this endeavor, I have had a few folks ask me why I wanted to foster an older child because they have a lot more "baggage". Why don't I adopt a baby, I am often asked. At least with a baby I can train them and they don't come with all the traumatic experiences as older children do.


Wrong. That is why I am taking parenting classes and not you. In fact, what I learned is that babies experience trauma while in the mother's womb.


But, let's go back to the older children because that is the journey that I have chosen. I want to make one thing very clear: These kids did not choose their "reality".


They did not volunteer for the life that was given them (and that's nicely putting it. I actually started writing something out a bit more harsh and realistic, but decided not too because it was too hard for me to write). I don't know of any child who chose to live a life of uncertainty. How many children do you know want to feel unloved and neglected? I mean that's "their" raw truth.


Do I think it is going to be an easy road with butterflies and chocolates 24/7? Nope. I know it's not going to be easy and will require a lot of patience. Then there are days like today in class I thought to myself "Can I really handle this?" while I listened to a 911 call made by a 6 year old girl whose mother was in an domestic violence situation. The sleeve of my sweater was soaked by the time the called ended.


Can I do this? Can I do this without my heart constantly breaking and tears swelling up my eyes? Can I hide my tears from this child? When a child is reacting to their trauma, can I listen and not judge?


Am I able to see the world through their lenses? If so, is that one of my greatest fears? My greatest heartache? I don't know, because I am not at that part of my journey yet.


Love. It's just not about loving unconditionally, but love with consistency and stability.


Is this something I am able to do?


And .... just as I was wondering if I have enough love and patience inside of me to offer a child, they showed us a short 13 minute film by Nathaniel Matanick titled "ReMoved".


I was then reminded, what I am doing is not all about me. It's not only how I view things or the world. I need to change my lenses sometimes and if I do, then yes, I've got what it takes to do this.


The reality of what some of these children live through, their traumatic experiences, many of us adults can judge pretty harshly and in doing so, we define their present and future based upon their past. A past, an experience they did not choose.


When we determine a child's future based upon their wounds, we in a sense say "Because you were unseen, unheard, unwanted .... you are now hard to handle or you will end up being ... "


Why do I want to take in an older child? Watch the film and it will explain my many reasons why. For me, I see these kids as being loved, heard and wanted. Most of all I see them and as beautiful human beings who need to reminded that they are worthy enough to be noticed. To be loved. To have hope for a future.


A child's past or history is not their fault. It does NOT define who they are. We, as a village have the opportunity to help change that and as the Beetles sang " All you need is love"


The video is below. Have a box of tissue ready before you watch it. Feel free to share your thoughts with me!



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