During the winter of 1937, with no warning, my mother dropped off my brother, sister, and me at the Home for the Friendless in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She said, “This is a nice place. You’ll like it here, and I’ll visit you every week.” We were met by Mrs. Kurl, who looked grim, but turned out to be a nice lady. She gave us a tour, and the place was so big our voices echoed in the halls.
At that time, during The Great Depression, childrens’ homes were full of kids whose parents could not afford to take care of them properly. Although I knew that, I still felt abandoned. Since I didn’t want my younger brother and sister to be scared, I wore my happy face, but when I found out we would be separated into three different dorms, I couldn’t hide my sadness.
The foster parent program today may avoid some of the issues that arise from housing children in institutions, but foster kids still have a rough entry into life at 18 when they roll out of the program.
What is your experience with children who feel abandoned? Are you a foster parent or a counselor? Did you grow up with both parents and still feel alone sometimes?