Friday, February 3, 2012

Abuse on a Different Level

A Different Kind of Abuse
I've posted about verbal abuse on a very personal level.  (Jan 21)  But sometimes abuse doesn't involve words or fists. Sometimes abuse comes in an entirely different form.  As foster parents these were a few of the 69 kids we tried to help:

One family traveled on I-75 from Florida to Michigan, stopping at truck stops along the way so their children could beg for money by carrying cards that said they were deaf mutes.  Their 14 yr. old son didn't want to deceive people anymore.  His parents told him if he didn't start making some money they would leave him there.  He didn't.  They did. 
A 16 yr. old was used to having to pack and move in a hurry on the whim of his mother.  But one day he came home from school and she was gone.  So was all the furniture.

A 16 yr. old was late coming home from swimming at her friend's house.  She was in a bikini.  It was 10:00 at night.  The house was locked and no one would answer the door.

A mother decided she didn't want her 3 sons anymore (really?) and gave them up for adoption.  Two of the boys (youngest and oldest) were adopted together but the middle son couldn't go.  The adoptive family said he didn't get along with his older brother. 

A 13 yr. old was raped by her father.  Her mother didn't want her anymore.  She said it was her fault her father was in prison.

Why do some parents think that because it's their kids, they can do whatever they want with them or to them?  I guess I'm not really looking for an answer to this, but maybe just making people aware of some of the kinds of hidden abuse that's going on in our little corner of the world.

Is It a Worthy Story?
I eventually wrote a manuscript (can't call it a book till its published, in my opinion) about our 13 years as foster parents and told the stories of some of those kids and how we managed in a household with 8-10 kids.  I thought it might be helpful to others thinking of fostering or maybe just an interesting read.  It took me 2 years from start to finish but I was unable to find an agent that was interested.  Now I know why.
My first attempt (as with most first wannabe books) wasn't very good.  I read it now and can see all kinds of things I would change.
But my question is this...does this sound like a story I should dig out of the file cabinet (or deep out of the hard drive of my computer) and redo?  Is this the kind of story people would be interested in reading?  Or should it be left alone to serve as a memory I cherish?  I would appreciate your opinion on this.

Stretch Potatoes:
This is a recipe I used when I was the 'old lady in the shoe' and had 'so many children'.....

When I was little my mother would make browned potatoes for a side dish which was just cubed potatoes browned in a skillet. The next night she would take the left-over potatoes and make what she called 'stretch potatoes'. Stretched for another meal. She would toss the left-overs back into a hot skillet and add eggs that had been whipped up. And we had another side for another meal.

Well, I took that to a whole 'nother level with my many kids. And this is my stretch potatoes for 8-10 teenagers and 2 adults:

5 large potatoes, diced and boiled till tender, then drained
1lb bacon, cut in small pieces and browned in skillet
1 dozen eggs, whipped in bowl

Now the part that will be hard for you to hear, but is part of the browning process, don't drain the bacon fat off. Yep, that's right. Keep bacon and the fat in skillet, add the tender potatoes and the whipped eggs and stir occasionally till all is browned to perfection.

This is really good and can be served as a breakfast or, as we did, as a small portion side with smoked sausage.  And it's so easy to cut the recipe down to fit a much smaller family. I use 2 pieces of bacon and 1 small potato and 1 egg for myself and that makes a meal for me. Now it doesn't sound quite so bad....does it?

Oh crap!  Last post I said I was going to start doing a preview of what was coming...but as of this post...ummm....I haven't decided for sure which that will be.  The last couple days have been so busy and thoughts have been running through my head faster than I can write them down. 
I need a tape recorder to keep in the car cause that's where I've been with my thoughts for the last 2 days.  I get an idea all worked out but by the time I get home...poof...part of it is in the traffic jam I was in and part of it has dropped off at one of the hundred or so places I've been. 
Ok, that was an exaggeration, but you get the idea.  I can't write much at red lights or waiting in traffic so I really need to invest in a good tape recorder.  Do they still make tape recorders or is there another new tech thing that's passed me by?

Quotes of the Day:
It's important to talk about it. You raise awareness. But you can also prevent it (child abuse) by not letting it be a secret.    --Chris Witty

A lot of people in our community don't want to believe that child abuse happens in their neighborhoods — but it does.     --Shari Pulliam


E.D. said...

I think it can definitely result in a great work - the experiences, the hardship, the rewards. Dig it out of the cabinet!

Karen said...

Thanks for your opinion E.D. That's kind of the way my mind is going too. If I can bring it around to an agent worthy piece, I'll give this one another chance.