Sunday, April 27, 2008

All Aboard !

“Too many children in foster care are falling through cracks. . . .
Be a hero -- take the time learn about adoption today.”

Bruce Willis

We boarded the “Fremont & Elkhorn Valley Railroad is a division of the National Railway Historic Society chartered as the Eastern Nebraska Chapter National Railway Historical Society in 1985 – the named changed to Nebraska Railroad Museum – the mission of education and preservation of railroad history”.

This was quite a ride in an old Vintage car going about 10 miles an hour! I loved the “ladies lounge”! We began our journey and Charlotte had two woman Joanne and Judy dress who are Toastmasters (!) in costumes and they were the speaker introducers.

We listened to each others stories – they were two live Orphan Train rides Lela and Lola who are in the 90;s today. They spoke about their journey on the Orphan Train ride and how they were “lined up like cattle” and hand picked or that some of them had ribbons with numbers pinned on them – and the people who wanted them had the matching ribbon and number pinned on them.

Lola explained that she and her sister went to a family but the family took her back because they “wanted a boy” – then Lola was taken back to the Orphanage - but then adopted by a loving family.

Lela explained that she was “never adopted but was an indentured servant” taken in by a “mean foster mother”. Lela shared a story about her Raggedy Ann doll that she brought with her to explain how she use to hug her doll when she was sad, scared or lonely and the foster mother took the doll and told her to “come to the furnace room” – then the mother shoved the doll in the furnace. Although that was sad to listen to – it was not unbelievable to me because I could relate with sad Foster Family stories. I will eventually share them when I complete my own book titled The Little Wanderers Home.

I shared my connection to The Home for Little Wanderers and how it was part of the Orphan Train Movement. I shared about Orchard Home – the female Group home that I stayed at and Longview Farm where my brother lived – I shared about the 20 programs The Home has today and how instrumental The Home was in my life and continues to be.

Then Charlotte invited one of her illustrators to show his drawings of water color portraits for one of her books.

Charlotte presented Lela and Lola fleece embordied sweaters that had the titles of her books and then shared her story and she mentioned that she and her husband Kevin are now foster parents and how some children are harder to foster – as she spoke we both cried – she thanked me for coming because she needed that “other side” to see a person who has traveled through the system. She shared that an Orphan named Lester said to her “Charlotte, you know foster kids are bad blood don’t you? We we’re bad blood”. There was not a dry eye – and no one knows like I know that!

More news later about speaking at the Keene Memorial Library – which was a surprise!



Indentured Servant
An indentured servant is a laborer under contract of the employer for some period of time, usually three to seven years, in exchange for such things as ship's passage, food, land and accommodations.

Unlike a slave, an indentured servant was required to work only for a limited term specified in a signed contract.

A major problem with the system of indentured servitude was that in many cases, an indentured servant would become indebted to their employer, who would forgive the debt in exchange for an extension to the period of their indenture, which could thereby continue indefinitely. In other cases, indentured servants were subject to violence at the hands of their employers in the homes or fields in which they worked.

The labor-intensive cash crop of tobacco was farmed in the American South by indentured laborers in the 17th and 18th centuries.[1] Indentured servitude was not the same as the apprenticeship system by which skilled trades were taught, but similarities do exist between the two mechanisms, in that both require a set period of work.


Foster Care

Foster care is a system by which a certified, stand-in "parent(s)" cares for minor children or young peoples who have been removed from their birth parents or other custodial adults by state authority. Responsibility for the young person is assumed by the relevant governmental authority and a placement with another family found. There can be voluntary placements by a parent of a child into foster care.

Foster placements are monitored until the birth family can provide appropriate care or the rights of the birth parents are terminated and the child is adopted. A third option, guardianship, is sometimes utilized in certain cases where a child cannot be reunified with their birth family and adoption is not right for them. This generally includes some older foster children who may be strongly bonded to their family of origin and unwilling to pursue adoption. It also may include cases where children are placed with grandparents or other relatives, where the placement is likely to be permanent but those relatives don't want to fight the birth parents in court. Voluntary foster care may be utilized in circumstances where a parent is unable or unwilling to care for a child.

For instance, a child may have behavioral problems requiring specialized treatment or the parent might have a problem which results in a temporary or permanent inability to care for the child(ren). Involuntary foster care may be implemented when a child is removed from their caregiver because it is believed such removal is necessary for his/her own safety. A foster parent receives monetary reimbursement from the placement agency for each child while the child is in his/her home to help cover the cost of meeting the child's needs. The amount of financial assistance typically varies from state to state and even city to city.

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