The Mom Who Wasn’t

A little story: this (Saturday) morning I went to visit one of my kids at a psychiatric hospital. It was quite a trek, but I was able to see him and check up on how he is doing. He is having a great time there, and that’s the sad part. He loves this hospital as it seems to provide him with a sense of safety, attention, and friendship with the other kids that he is lacking otherwise. His current foster home placement has been a stable one, and he will return there soon, but this little boy’s needs are very demanding. He spoke to us not too long ago about wanting to go back to the hospital as he “has friends there,” and then his sudden, violent outbursts at school and in the foster home accomplished just that…

Anyhow, as I was signing out to leave the facility, all the children filed past me on their way to play outside. I waved to J., smiled and said goodbye again. One of the children in the line yelled in passing, “Hey! That’s J’s mom!!”

I was amused by the comment at first, as was the security team at the desk. To be his mom, that would mean I had him at age 13. Also, I am a 23 year old who can usually pass for a 16 year old. When reflecting upon it after, however, the incident struck me as saddening, not amusing. Why wouldn’t the other children assume that the woman visiting him was his mother? The fact is, his mother has not visited, and she probably will not. To the other kids, it appeared that J. had a parent who cared to come and check up on him, and they can be left to believe that…


Note: In order to protect the identity of this child I have used a random initial to name him.

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