Wednesday, February 27, 2008

ESD#17: Dukie dream #2!

Until last night, my only recurring, tv-inspired dream involved vampire slaying. That's right, I had yet another dream about Dukie from the Wire. In this dream, he was shot and killed right in front of me. What the hell? Maybe this was because I stayed up late writing a transit analysis of Baltimore. But diving deeper into my subconscious, I think these dreams are coming from some kind of maternal longing. E had two baby dreams this week, so I'm not the only one.

E and I have given a lot of thought to adopting and fostering children. We've done some research and spoken with friends who are adoptive/foster parents. This is not in our near future, and I suspect that going the foster care route would likely happen much later in our lives, but my passion for adoption and foster care is certainly growing. I won't criticize here the recent trendiness of celebrity adoption, but I will say that I wish there were a celebrity voice for foster care, especially as it still holds a kind of stigma that adoption doesn't.

In season four of the Wire, Randy's a foster kid who tries really hard to please his foster mom, who likewise cares deeply for him. Randy sort of accidentally becomes a snitch after trusting a police officer who pressures him for information on a homicide. His peers turn on him, and eventually attack his family, which results in Randy being admitted into a group home. Watching each of these Randy scenes, I cried uncontrollably. Randy in the hospital waiting room? I wept. Ellis offering to be his foster parent? I wept. Ellis told it would take four months? I wept harder. Randy walking into the scary group home? I wept. Randy beaten up by the scary group home kids? I wept. Man, the last two episodes of season four were tough.

I've been dreaming up a foster parent non-profit business model in my head, which I'll try to put into words here. Why not address such a serious topic on a vapid blog that considers such issues as the tautological style of Ludacris?

This vision comes from my current work in supportive affordable housing. I envision a co-operative housing project with 6 2-bedroom units and community space on the ground level. The residents of each unit are dedicated, well-trained, single foster parents who care for children who need short-term stays. Communal meals and homework time occur on the ground floor. The six parents share duties related to school, after-school and weekend activities. The community space also hosts regular support group meetings for foster parents outside of the co-op. The overall vision is to create a supportive network both for foster parents and kids who need short-term care.

We'll see where this vision takes me. As a supportive housing project, I think it could be fiscally viable. I'm more unsure about its programmatic feasibility--especially since the only thing I know about being a foster parent is to tell my kids to avoid snitching (sorry, but it's true).

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