Separation of siblings in foster care happens all too often. Two made for TV movies shed light on this common practice that often adds additional trauma at a time when young people need the love and familiarity of family the most.
This weekend I watched the GMC movie Raising Izzie. I love GMC so I set my television reminder so that I would not miss this adoption/foster care story. GMC was formerly known as Gospel Music Channel and faith/spirituality rather than adoption was the true focus of this tear-jerker. Fourteen year old Gertrude had been raising her ten year old sister alone for a year after their mother died of cancer. Because she feared her daughters would be placed in foster care and separated after her death, their mother moved her daughters into a furnished apartment, taught the girls to be independent, and set up a corporation and bank account to provide for their living expenses. Gertrude paid their rent online, did the grocery shopping and household chores, and signed all school paperwork. The sisters were never tardy or absent from school and both received straight A’s. As I watched this fictional film I was reminded of Exavier Pope story shared in my National Foster Care Month blog series. After the death of his foster mother, Exavier and his sister cared for themselves and he describes his education as her “one last gift”. The sisters are eventually adopted by Gertrude’s teacher and lived happily ever after.
The Lifetime movie, Gracie’s Choice, is inspired by a true story. Gracie Thompson is a high school student who raises her three half-brothers and half-sister on her own after their drug-addicted mother is sent to jail. The children are separated and placed in foster care. Eventually the grandmother takes the children in but Gracie is still the primary caregiver. Gracie’s sister becomes a teen mom and separates from her siblings to start a new life. Gracie faces her mother in court and receives full legal custody of her brothers. Gracie gets a job, an apartment, and continues her education – she provides her family the security and stability they never experienced in their mother’s care.
I love happy endings! Now let’s work to get more children permanent families!!
Nicki Sanders, MSW, Chief Visionary Officer
The Teen Toolbox provides youth portfolio development and civic engagement and academic enrichment opportunities to help teens set goals for life after high school and create a road map to reach those goals through its PACKAGED FOR SUCCESS™ Programs.