Thursday night was a presentation by the Pasco Pinellas Heart Gallery at Mahaffey theater to bring awareness to foster children. They did a fabulous job, it was a true community effort.
Please take a look at their website. This group does an amazing job of raising awareness and bringing the community together. Without them I would not have two of my children today.
Once upon a time I had one child. I worked in a preschool as the Pre K teacher. Many of the children in my class came from less than ideal circumstances. We had children who had been abused, had disorders, had strippers for mommies, lived with domestic violence, were aggressive themselves, and lived in poverty. On my first day of work there was a birthday chart. It was colorful with little names printed with black magic marker on balloons and their date of birth listed below. The name of one little boy was Rafiq. However he did not come to school. Eventually we took the name down. Time went on, new children joined our group. Something told me one of these children was going to come home with me. I couldn't figure out who or how. The thought of one of these mommies dying was not something I could wrap my head around. I told my husband my thoughts. I think he suspected I was crazy. Elle pretending to be the psychic again. March 23 2004, a case manager from FCP showed up with two little kids, a 3yr old girl and a 4 year old boy, at 6 in the morning. Somewhere in their history they used to go to our school. Even though we had no records, we took them that day. They were Rafiq and Shamecca. I knew the names. Shamecca had been in the class with my daughter, she was handful. Rafiq was a toothless quiet boy, and I could not understand his speech. He played under the table that day. I let him. His grandmother showed up to pick him up. She explained that the children would not be back. She was putting them in a daycare near her. She also explained the the children's parents were on drugs and it was a big mess. I saw the parents later on that evening speaking to the director. They were heart broken and I wanted to be far away from them, it was such an uncomfortable situation. I did not see Rafiq or Shamecca again. I moved from that town to another county. I enrolled in Montessori Teacher Training in June 2006. I had to leave my family for a month to learn Montessori. I absolutely loved it. Two weeks after I got back from Montessori school I spoke to a friend on the phone. A friend I had urged to adopt. She had gone through the MAPP process and was waiting for a home study and a child. She wanted to show me the new heart gallery on line. We were both excited about seeing the faces of the foster children looking for homes. I had always wanted to be a foster mom. I had gone to an orientation two years before but was unable to convince my spouse. So here we were pointing and clicking and then Stephanie says to 'search all' and then I saw something very familiar. The names 'Rafiq and Shamecca'. I gasped and she got chills. I saw there faces, I listened to their voices. I called the heart gallery they gave me the number for FCP, I called FCP- the children were still available, I called my husband. Later that night we spoke. I couldn't leave those children in Foster Care. He didn't think we could afford it. We couldn't sleep. Then I found out about subsidy. We might just be able to afford it. I found out about orientation and MAPP class. I drove a one woman crusade to get these children. I had to leave my dream of being a Montessori teacher on another burner. This is the story of how these heart gallery put us together. Without them I would have never known these kids were parentless.