Sara Whitman

The Universe's Pull

Filed By Sara Whitman | February 13, 2009 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: foster child, raising kids, universal pull, universe

I was tired yesterday. Sleep wasn't my friend the night before. Every time I drifted into it I had the most awful dreams. Children, so many of them, being abused and I was trying to save them all.

I couldn't.

I hate those dreams. when it's me, well, I can wake up and know I'm ok. But when it's nameless kids, and many of them, it haunts me. I know it's happening all around me and there is nothing I can do about it.

Until the other day. I was sent an email about a kid who needs a home in Newton. Do you know how sometimes the universe works with all it's energy in one direction? Literally, 9 different people sent me the email.

Can you give a foster home for this kid?

Sixteen years old. The kid has been lifting some heavy, impossible loads. Out of respect, I will not list the details but you can know that this child reminds me of myself.

It is no longer faceless, anonymous many like in the dream. It's a real child.

Jeanine said we can talk to the social worker, have an interview, but we need to understand the effect it will have on our children. Our lives. It's a full time job and she already has one.

My projection is so thick, I can only see a kid who needs to be given basic safety. A bed. Meals. And some kindness.

It is not a limited resource in me. Can I do it for two years?

When I was young, I dreamed of running away and making a life for myself in the wilderness. I read the Foxfire Books. I wanted out, to a place I could breathe.

Like I said, the projection is thick.

I've come to accept that the dreams will never end. They don't happen every night now, and as time goes on, I'm sure they will lessen more. I've taken the broken glass that filled me and made a mosaic. There are still sharp edges but I don't bleed as often.

I have a lot I can teach. The level of pain doesn't frighten me.

I've done a lot of impulsive things in my life. Taking in a foster child cannot be one.

I cannot ignore the pull of the universe. Now, at a time when I am solidly on the ground and can actually do it. When I feel full enough, safe enough.

I have a call to make today.


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Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | February 13, 2009 9:59 PM

Oh Sara, how wonderful, I hope you and Jeanine make the best decisions for the most fulfilling reasons. I am no expert in child rearing, but I know there has to be incredible value to your kids from the example of giving unselfishly to others.

However it works out, you are wonderful to consider doing it, and meeting with the social worker to see if it would be a good fit for you and your family.

I hope to hear more about it. My live in PhD in Child Psychology is available. His skills are a bit rusty, but he is a great listener.

Happy Valentines!

God, I never tire of Sara's personal writing. She can convey feelings so spectacularly well.

I agree with Lucrece, Sara. Your writing ability is outstanding.

That said, your capacity for love and general good spirit would make this child luckier than 99.9% of most if you accept him into your lives. You and Jeanine are dedicated parents. You'd make wonderful foster parents.

But most importantly? Do what you can and do what feels right. Don't take him in only to resent it later. He'll come with his own unique set of issues and problems and you need to be prepared for how hard that can be.

Your posts have helped me to remember that being gay isn't only about myself. Sometimes, being gay is easy with the constant reminders of the political climate, the "church", and society in general. Ya, being gay is easy, it's being a fully engaged human that is more difficult.

As I read your posts, that's what see--a fully engaged human. The life that you describe, from the mundane details of getting ready for winter camp to the awkwardness and tension of wondering if you child even wants to spend time with you. Will they even judge you to be important enough for them to share a few, limited, but precious words or save them for later on an IM with a friend. And now, you are faced with making the difficult decision to focus on yours, when your nature is to help as many as there are in need.

As a older, very closeted (and not active at all) gay man. I envy the family structure that can sometimes already be in place for some lesbian couples.

Not feeling like a full participant in life. Playing the role of observer, watching humanity from a far. I'm anamored by the mundane of packing and laundry, and pretending to know what purple haze is. As I watch, observe, I see the universe pulling. I just don't see it pulling for me. Thank you for letting us see glimpses, snap shots of what life is really like.

thank you, jon. that brought tears to my eyes.

(...didn't mean to make you teary!)

a P.S.:
In the midst of the struggle for adoption rights, it's worth pausing to be grateful. Publically grateful. I'm grateful that you live in a state (and country) where gay couples (and maybe singles??) are getting a phone call to be foster parents.

In a world full of misinformation, hate, confusion, and discrimination--could these phone calls be another whisper, a "yes", from the universe? I hope so.