Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Andrew as a fostering child

Andrew was ten when Carl became a part of our family. He had a very clear personality already developed. He was a worrier. He was sympathetic. He was very bothered when he saw other children being bullied; he wanted to be able to intervene, but did not know what to do. He was not athletic like most of the other boys, but seemed liked by them. Teachers complained that he did not keep his workspace clean, never pushed his chair back in, and talked to everyone. His first grade teacher tried her usual trick of putting the talkative boy between two girls, but he just talked to them. No matter how many times she moved him, he always just started talking to whoever he sat with.

He is now sixteen. He is beginning to envision wanting to drive, but it is not important to him yet. (Yep. He is a sixteen year old boy who is not interested in driving.) He has a tight circle of friends, but always seems happy to invite a new kid to join them.

Like Brian, he loved Carl as a wonderful older brother. Unlike Brian he had the experience of being "demoted." One week he was the oldest, the kid with the most interesting, grown-up things to say at the table. The next week he was a younger brother, often considered annoying.

He and Ann were a disaster. Ann was a eight months younger than he and was determined to be top in the pecking order. She waged a slow, constant psychological warfare designed to ensure her place of power. She yelled at me and at Hubby. She criticized everyone constantly. There was no peace. She criticized people for laughing at their television shows. (How odd was that? We would watch a show and find something funny and she would reprimand us all, "Why do you laugh at that?! That is not funny! I HATE it when you do that!") We re-installed a baby monitor in the basement rec room so that Brian could turn it on if he needed to let us know he needed help. Andrew was demoralized. I had to ask the social worker to move her.

His relationship with David and Evan have already been documented here.

I have a clearly sense of how fostering has affected Andrew, though again, I can never know for sure how he would have turned out otherwise.

Andrew is stronger. He is better at dealing with difficult people. He has a greater understanding of the ways that he is privileged (even though he gets less than some of his friends). He has a low tolerance or intolerance. He told me once that he hates the in-crowd with a fiery passion because (in his opinion) they think that everyone who is not rich and beautiful is lazy.

Andrew has a commitment to social justice. Though he is only a sophomore he has begun to think about colleges. The one he likes the best he likes because of its commitment to social justice and its racial diversity on campus.

It has not always been easy for him, but I really think it has been a positive experience.


  1. I think I would like Andrew.

  2. Such an excellent post about things that I wonder and truth be told that I worry about.

    Thank you and I think I'm with granny!
    BTW my fifteen year old doesn't seem to have a lot of interest in learning in the driving thing either!


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