TRUE . . .Foster Care . . .
In 1992, I had the great fortune of visiting a foster care home for children. Most of these children come from homes of abuse, drugs, domestic violence, and other heartbreaking situations. Some are brought in during the middle of the night, terrified, screaming and crying, afraid of what is happening to them. Even for those living in a dysfunctional, abusive home, it is still where these little ones want to be because that is all they know.
The day I arrived at my appointment time, I first spoke with the gentleman who was the head of administration. After we talked about the process these children go through, and the professionals on-site for the children and parents, he answered the many questions I had and explained the set-up before taking me around to meet the children.
There were two buildings in which the children lived: one for the younger group and one for the older. The chapel was in the younger children’s building, which had been re-built after a fire in 1983. The beautiful stained-glass windows were still intact. In the children’s rooms were four beds in each, with flowered quilts and curtains for the girls. The colors on the wall were bright reds, greens, and yellow.
Meeting the Children . . .
As we walked toward the dining room where the children were having a snack, I tried to compose myself and prepare for the worst, as I have an over-abundance of empathy for others– especially children. But, I was amazed at their reaction at meeting a stranger. They ran over to us, laughing, fingering my suit skirt and all talking at once. This was the two to eight-year-old group. One child was in a highchair. Holding back tears, I spoke with each one who was capable of having a conversation. The older ones in this group, more toward eight, were less talkative.
The building for the older children was about the same, and there was a large room for the kindergarten classes filled with lots of toys, board games, chalkboards, and dolls. There were no electronics then, at least not for children. The older children attended the school nearby run by Catholic nuns, who actually started the foster home a century or more ago. Out back of the home, there was a large pavilion and a playground right along the river. All and all, the rooms for the children were cheery as for color but void of any toys, stuffed animals, or personal things.
At that time, especially, the laws were not on the victims’ side. The home was like a swinging door for many of these innocent children. The natural parents/guardians only had to call or send a postcard every six months to hold onto these children legally. So, for many, this became their home away from the violence and abuse.
This foster home still stands today along the river in Philadelphia and helps millions of children get through life without abuse and violence. Many things have changed there as time moved forward. I think of these children often, praying they all survive.
FICTION . . . Meet my Villain, M. Pearson, in Web of Destruction . . .
Here’s where this true story turns fictional: Looking back, it prompted me to write my villain into my fictional book. Most likely, since he was born in Philadelphia, this might have been his first stop (fictionally speaking). Then, due to severe psychiatric problems, he was taken to a gated and alarmed hospital/home setting for children and diagnosed a psychopath. He escaped his last home, after many attempts to foster him out, and began his life of crime.
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Have a great day & stay safe!