Is this burnout, or am I just growing out of idealistic youth?

Was just trying to imagine what the pregnant unit is like at Riker’s (prison).  Snap’s mom has already been there before when she was pregnant with Snap and she remembers it fondly.  I can only guess it’s ground zero for cute, feel good projects.  Sure enough, I found this article about something called the Carnegie Hall Lullaby Project.

Why is it irking me? It sounds just like the kind of thing I would have volunteered for, the kind of fundraising gala I would have attended, the sort of project I would have told someone at a cocktail party that I was working on, or feel good press piece I would have loved to have read. 

A few years ago, that is. 

Do any of these projects instill real change in these moms’ lives?  Do we expect to, or is making them happy for a little while good enough?  Or, are we just making ourselves feel good?

I thought maybe I could finally be useful and create some  sustainable change by investing myself in one big, focused way through fostering- as opposed to being a therapist with a case load of 35 or any of the other non-profit jobs I’ve had where we fly in and out of someone’s life without any real community commitment (anyone gotten a 30 year grant recently?).  Blerg, blerg.  Snap’s mom and the continued cycle is bringing me down. 

An interviewer once asked me, ‘Isn’t it enough that you’ve kept these kids in a safe and healthy home, even if just for a while?’ and I said no.  I had to believe that the grief of losing my foster kids to reunification was a good thing in order to submit to the routine.  I think most foster parents hope for a better future for their foster kids— I just don’t have a clue how that can happen.  The dysfunction, the trauma and mental illness and disability… how can services, as they exist now, really repair a family?

Is this burnout, or am I just growing out of idealistic youth?

Recent comments

Blog comments powered by Disqus

43 Notes

  1. singleadoptivemama said: I think it is a lose of the idea that programs and good intentions change the cyclic issues that cause kids to enter care. Sadly there are no 30 yr grants.
  2. get-started said: Yes, no, maybe? Isn’t trying these small interventions better than despair? Hillary Rodham Clinton tells of her mother being sent away from her parents at 7, and going to work at 13 yrs old and …
  3. carolineandco said: Are the women in the pregnancy unit permitted to nurse their babies exclusively? Is the Rikers unit where the babies can stay with them in the nursery unusual or do many prisons offer this?
  4. littlepenumbra said: sometimes i can get all a bit cynical about it all - i think people are given so many promises so often about what a program is going to do and sadly it’s not that simple
  5. tumblewieds said: I could write a novel on this. I think it’s just growing up and realizing what The Bad Truth is :(
  6. aninstantfamily reblogged this from fosterhood
  7. theworldoffostering said: I think this is the reality of knowing from the inside how the system works (and that often it doesn’t).
  8. mollyinkenya said: sounds like you’re shifting to a deeper level of understanding it all. more levels will come, too. (i.e. imagine your perspective if/when you get to watch jacket walk across a HS graduation stage…)
  9. wickedzen said: This is a really important post & I love your blog.
  10. fosterhood posted this