by M.Hayes (c) 2005; All Rights Reserved
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It’s Almost Tuesday has been fighting for the voice of the forgotten children in foster care to be heard since 2007. It began as an impossible and desperate attempt to right the wrongs suffered by myself and my children.
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“Its Almost Tuesday” is what I tell myself; even though it’s only Wednesday; but in foster care, Wednesday is no different from any other day – except for Tuesday. It’s the only hope I can find because Tuesday is the day I get to see my Mommy.
Tuesdays are the best … but it seems like a lifetime waiting from Tuesday to Tuesday to get to Visit Day when I can be with My Mommy again…that is if Mom or Dad takes me…Sometimes they don’t.
I’m supposed to see my Mommy for one whole hour, but the caseworker says my Mommy was a bad Mommy, so I think my caseworker runs late on purpose to make Mommy madder… but what did I do wrong? I’m the one away from home.
The caseworker told me foster care was to punish bad parents, but it really punishes the kids. I’m only 8 and I know that, the caseworker has to be at least 30, can’t she figure that much out?
Sometimes we only get to see each other for a few minutes but we’re supposed to get a WHOLE hour! No matter what’s going on, it’s worth everything when Mommy hugs me and tells me it’ll be okay. How does she know it’ll be okay? They won’t let me tell her what happens at home
When I say I’m going to tell my Mommy something, then they won’t take me to visit her. So I don’t dare tell Mommy and miss a Tuesday Visit.
I told Mommy that,
Really, I wish I didn’t scream because it only makes things worse, and making this foster mom mad is bad news. I try to stop, but I can’t help it, I mean, I am only 8 years old and screaming helps me when I hurt so bad I feel like I will blow up. Have you ever felt like that?
One of my foster sisters told me that at another foster home place, that there was this girl there who would cut herself; I guess that’s how she let it out…
But me, I just scream, even though I know what it gets me.
SHUT UP, BOY!" Mom yells SHUT UP YOUR SCREAMING!"
I shut up. I shut up when I felt the sting of her ruler across my side, but not before I tore the towel rack off the wall in the bathroom. I never did that at my real home, I don’t know why I do it now.
Visit Day on Tuesday is the best day of my life but Visit Day night is almost as horrible as Visit Day morning was fantastic. I think I’d be as quiet as a mouse if it mattered, but it doesn’t. It doesn’t matter what we do, we always do something wrong to Mom and Dad… I feel like I’m only here for them to get me to do things for them that they don’t want to do, and to cuss at.
I hate it that they make us call them Mom and Dad. Yesterday, my foster brother tried to break my neck. He’s the oldest. There are 3 other foster brothers. 4 foster sisters too. In my old life, I would’ve yelled for help, but not here. I learned that the first week. I yelled for help and they helped all right – helped choke me… and hold me down. Even Lil’ Sis sat on me, but I know why and I’m not mad at her. She’s afraid of them too, like me. But she knows I won’t hurt her later, so she sits on me, but not hard. Sometimes I see her looking at me and I can almost hear her saying she’s sorry with her eyes.
I wonder if she hears me wishing she was Wonder Woman and could save me. I’d become that green guy with all the muscles and save her if I could; I’d save all the children, even the mean ones.
I think sometimes the other kids are mean because they’re mad they are here. Maybe they learned that screaming doesn’t do any good but I bet they didn’t used to be mean in their old life. Like me, and the towel rack; I know in my old life I never saw some of the things that happened in foster care... its making me a different kid…
I gave Lil’ Sis my white shirt when she came in, because she didn’t have any shirts that fit. I try to protect her as much as I can, even from Mom. Especially now, ever since the night I call the “cord night”. I could still feel the stinging on my side and butt from the ruler the night before.
I kept telling myself that it’s almost Tuesday, as I try to ignore the stinging and get ready to go to sleep. Dad was in the bathroom fixing the towel rack when it happened. Mom was mad too and got madder as Dad was calling me bad names for breaking the rack last night.
He kept saying that they didn’t get paid enough money for the things that are broken by the “brats”. I don’t know who Dad gets paid by, but he’s always yelling, “It’s not enough to take care of these brats”.
Myb real mommy didn’t call me names and I don’t think anybody paid her to take care of me. Dad used to be in the army and he’s really fussy about things being just right. When Dad yells (which is a lot) he never uses our names. He even makes us wear army clothes sometimes.
In my old life, I dressed like that for Halloween once. I won’t now, if I ever get to go back home. When Dad wasn’t around, we used to pretend we’re in the army and yell each others’ last names like he does, until he caught us, luckily it wasn’t me. We never knew what Dad did to the boy he caught, ’cause I think the boy was too scared to ever tell anyone. He never did tell anyway. That was the last time we played that game, once Dad caught us.
So anyway, Mom got the computer cord out from her desk drawer. I wish I’d looked at the clock and reminded Lil’ Sis of the time but with Dad cussing and all that, I forgot. I jumped on top of Mom without thinking about how mad she’d get (she didn’t feed me for at least 4 days afterward).
But I had to save Lil’ Sis! Mom was choking Lil’ Sis, she couldn’t even get her fingers under the cord, but she was trying to so she could breathe. Her fingers are small too… she’s only 5.
Mom wasn’t stopping this time, not even when Lil’ Sis turned blue. Usually she stops way before, but lately she gets so mad and that night, I don’t think she even noticed Lil’ Sis turning so blue. It was really scary!!
Maybe Mom needs some of those pills she says I have to take because I scream on Tuesday nights.
I hit Mom with my GI Joe car to make her stop choking Lil’ Sis. Mom quit choking Lil’ Sis and started hitting me. I didn’t see My Mommy next Visit Day though. Mom said it was punishment, but mostly it was because of my eye. It had blood in it, and was all different colors – black and purple mostly, and I couldn’t open it from the swelling.
I didn’t dare complain though or ask for a doctor and nobody called a doctor to check on me either. I imagined that maybe a doctor will get lost and accidentally knock on our door. Maybe the doctor would see my eyebrow was bleeding and stitch it. Dad said a butterfly band-aid was what they would put on it in the army and that would fix it… but it still bled for days. He made me go outside because I was bleeding and he said he didn’t want me to make more messes.
I dug a hole and kept warm under the leaves and grass and stuff. I couldn’t sleep, but I curled up into a little ball when I got scared. I pretended I was camping like I did when I was three years old and that my Mommy and Daddy were gonna be right back with marshmallows and graham crackers and lots and lots of chocolate.
I wiped the blood with my shirt. It mixed with the dirt and leaves and made my brow throb. It hurts so bad. I’m cold. I wonder if Mommy’s gonna cry too, like me… cuz I didn’t get to see her that next Tuesday.
I wonder what they told her. I make myself into a tighter ball. I imagine that I’m at a circus and that I’m a red ball being bounced off a seal’s nose. I imagine bouncing from one seal to another seal and the seals clap and make that seal noise. I can almost hear the crowd cheer because I’m the smallest, tightest ball ever and I fly way high up into the circus tent … over the trapeze ropes even.
I guess that’s when I fell asleep. The last thing I remember was everything turning white around me.
I decided to pray.
I can usually smell my Mommy for almost 5 days after a visit on my shirt. I try on the 6th day even though I know its probably faded by then. Still, I try. Since I gave Lil’ Sis my white shirt, they took all my stuff away. This is the only shirt I have left. It’ll be harder to smell Mommy from now on.
They even took my little rock Mommy gave me that has that bible verse on it about everything having its own time… like a time to live and a time to die. I don’t want to die yet.
“Wake Up! Wake Up! It’s Tuesday!!!”
I can open my eye again. That’s not God telling me to wake up though, it sounds like Lil’ Sis… I squint as the sun is starting to come down and is so bright. I don’t know how long I’ve been sleeping. I thought I was dead.
I asked as I woke up from my sleep. Lil’ Sis was shaking me, I was still in the hole, curled up in a ball, but we had to hurry, before she got caught outside. I know I’ll get to see Mommy today. They won’t hide me for two Tuesdays. No way! I tell Lil’ Sis that it’ll all be okay once my Mommy sees my shirt. We’ll be saved. My Mommy isn’t Wonder Woman for real, but to me she is. She’ll save us.
Then Mom walks in… she looks at me for a moment because she sees me smiling.
"No Visit Today Boy. Your Mommy didn't show up. I told you she doesn't love you, that's why you're here…"
Mom said that to me with a message smile on her face. I didn’t believe her really, because she was smiling, but in foster care, you never really know what’s true. It seems like they all just lie to us kids so much; like we aren’t really people who deserve the truth.
I shouldn’t have smiled, but I did, because I was still so excited that it was Tuesday and Mom saw me smile. I started thinking that’s why she said my Mommy didn’t show up. To take my smile away.
I think that on that Tuesday night, I screamed louder than ever!
I screamed so loud that night that I think Mommy knew I was screaming and all of CPS knew too. I screamed so loud that I got to see Mommy on Wednesday! The very next morning!
When I fell asleep that Tuesday night, I dreamed that my Mommy screamed too, just like me, and together we screamed so loud – that the whole world could hear us. Then the whole world started crying for us, because they were screams of sadness and the whole world knew.
This was the first time they were going to let us have a Wednesday Visit Day. I couldn’t wait to see my Mommy and when I did see her on that day-the best Wednesday of my entire life – I could tell that for Mommy, it wasn’t as good a day for her as it was for me. I think my Mommy got really scared when she saw what was left of my black eye and when she saw all the blood on my shirt.
Yeah I will never forget it the rest of my life, that Wednesday visit.
Mommy told me that the truth was, she DID go to visit on Tuesday. The caseworker had lied to her and told her I forgot t
Maybe my Mommy did scream like me. I think they let me go home because of my shirt and my eye. Or maybe they realized my it was my visit day. I would never forget visit day and my Mommy knew that. You see, the truth is, my Mommy really wasn’t a bad Mommy.
So I guess my Mommy did scream too, like me, and I guess the world really did hear us, because after that, I got to go home.
The first thing I wanted to do when I got out of foster care, was go to a circus and see if there were seals there.
There weren’t any seals. That’s okay because I still got to go to a circus. It was funny though, I had fun, but kept thinking of all of the kids in foster care will never get to go to a circus. That made me sad.
I hug Mommy all the time now, 100 times a day it seems … but I always think of the kids who don’t have mommies, or get hugs. That makes me sad.
I love to hug my Mommy so I can smell her perfume and I don’t care what day it is…
I just want to smell her again…
and again …
I never have told her that it’s one reason I hug her so much. She wouldn’t understand. I’m afraid it might just make her sad, and we can’t both be sad.
I still wake up from the nightmares and Mommy always rushes right into my room to comfort me right away. I don’t think she sleeps very well, it seems like she is always listening for my cries.
In foster care, i was so scared of waking up the Mom or Dad that I learned how to cry very softly at night. Quiet as a mouse I was.
I know I’m not in foster care anymore, but I still try to be quiet as a mouse, even in my real home, and I think that’s why my Mommy listens for me to cry when I sleep.
I don’t think Tuesday nights will ever be the same for me again, even if I’m not screaming anymore…
I never go more than a week without wondering how many kids are screaming on Tuesday nights.
…Or cutting themselves….
… Or turning mean….
I have a lot of secrets now that I didn’t have before foster care. t have one I never told anybody before, but sometimes, when I am alone, I imagine all the foster kids that are out there, like, even the ones I’ve never met, and I imagine them, that they all got together to go to a humongous circus. They are all my friends too. They aren’t like my imaginary friends in my old life though. Nope, not these, they are all real. I mean, they were really now than friends I guess, they were my brothers and sisters for 18 months, even if I didn’t meet them. They are still brothers and sisters, and as long as there are foster homes like the one I had to live in, I know they are being lied to and punished for something a grownup did wrong. Not for something they did wrong.
I still can’t figure out why all those grownups don’t know any better at their age. I used to think that maybe it was because they weren’t as smart as me, but I’m not the only kid who understood and knew that we didn’t do anything wrong. We all knew it. So it has to be something more than just being smart. It’s wrong. We know it and they know it, so why don’t they stop doing what everyone knows is wrong? It hurts us – were just kids, we shouldn’t be hurt like that by anyone, but especially our parents and the people that day they are trying to protect us. They lie.
I still don’t know why they really put me in there. Maybe God put me there so I could save Lil’ Sis that night from Mom and the cord. Maybe there really isn’t a God and THAT’S why there are foster homes to begin with.
I don’t know. I’m just a kid.
I wish all the grownups in the world knew how it felt to be treated “worse than a pile of dirt”, even I was in there, I felt like I would die if I didn’t have next Tuesday to look forward to.
If the grownups really and truly knew how we kids felt, then there wouldn’t be any bad foster homes.
I know that’s true, so when I grow up, I’m going back. I am!
I’ll go back so I can save a foster kid who is being hurt like I was hurt. After all, it’s not fair for a kids’ wishes to not come true.
My Mommy explained to me, that the kids who turned mean didn’t have a Mommy or a day like my Tuesday Visit Days. Visit Days like our Tuesdays, are like resting days, like landing on free parking in monopoly.
Yeah, I think she’s right because my mean foster brothers didn’t have Mommy’s like I did. They had nobody to hug them and leave perfume on their shirts. That’s why they were mean. They didn’t count each day for the first 6 days and get excited for the 7th day. Because every day is the same as the day before when you are in there. You see, on the 6th day, I had hope, something to look forward to. They didn’t have hope for one more sweet-smelling whiff of perfume because they didn’t have a Mommy to visit tomorrow.
Nobody tells kids like me what I would have to do to survive when they put me in there. They don’t tell us that someone little me would have to protect Lil’ Sis, on the cord night.
I think about her a lot. I really wish she could have come home with me. I would have protected her forever, even though I’m not green and covered with muscles, but to her I was.
I tell God thank you every night when I pray. I thank Him for letting me go home most of all.
I don’t care if God really is real or not, because to me, He is.
Then it happened…
I turned on the TV one night and I saw it on the news. Before I could change the channels…they had found her … My Lil’ Sis… and she was dead.
They said she was tucked away for bed, wearing a white shirt.”
I knew she was wearing the same white shirt I had given her. They said she was holding a rock with a bible verse on it when they found her.
I screamed again…
I screamed just like I did in foster care.
i screamed louder than when I screamed in foster care.
i screamed so loud I didn’t think I could ever stop screaming.
i screamed so loud so that Lil Sis could hear me.
My Mommy had never heard me scream since my new life.
I think it scared her.I know it scared her.
The news report said the foster parents had been in shock and said they had no idea what happened to Lil Sis. The police that Lil’ Sis had tried to run away a few nights ago but she had been found and brought home.
Then, they said she drank some kind of poison by accident.
I never thought I would have a reason to scream again after I got home. But the news about Lil Sis dying was so bad I couldn’t stop screaming. Even though she was scared, my Mommy pulled me close to her and she let me scream. She hugged me and held me and told me it was okay to scream, and cry, that she loved me so much.
It was the first time I was held by someone while I screamed. It felt weird at first but after a few minutes it felt better.
When I finally stopped screaming, I told Mommy that I know Lil’ Sis was running away to find me. Mommy believed me even though I didn’t tell her how I knew that.
I guess it was my screams.
I didn’t tell Mommy that I didn’t think Lil’ Sis drank the poison by herself or that I believed Lil Sis didn’t die by accident.I didn’t have to tell my mommy all that, because I think she already knew. Somehow.
That night I wanted to tell Mommy everything, but I didn’t.I think my Mommy knows there’s allot of things I keep inside
Lil’ Sis was one of the really little foster kids that would’ve been one to turn mean if she had lived. I wish she could have lived with me instead of dying.
At least she’s with God now and not Mom and Dad at that awful place.
My Mommy held me all night. As I cried, I remembered how Lil’ Sis would ask if she could “smell the yummy flowers” on my shirt because she didn’t have a real Mommy.
I wish she could have met my mommy.
I curled up as tight as I could in my Mommy’s arms that night and I thought about how Lil’ Sis would never know how good it felt to be loved and held by a real Mommy.
At least she knew what a real Mommy smells like, and it always made her smile.
I loved watching her pretty little eyes that were so big when she smiled each time She smelled my Mommy’s perfume after a Tuesday visit.
I loved being back at home in my Mommy’s arms.
In fact, it fels so good, that for the first time in my new life, I almost forgot what day it was.