Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Orphans in TV land

The midweek blahs set in- or maybe just inertia- but 8pm rolled around and I had only the energy to roll around the channel guide on the remote control. PIX had a new show and since nothing old appealed to me I watched it.

So here's the gist of it. This very pretty almost 16 year old blond girl who is tired of living in foster care since her foster brother opens the bathroom door when she hasn't finished brushing her teeth, decides she would like to be emancipated. So she somehow has in her possession a paper from her file with the name and addresses of her biological parents who she needs signatures from to become independent. However, when she goes to the hearing for emancipation her biological parents accompany her, volunteer to cosign a lease for an apartment, but the judge denies her petition and grants custody to the biological parents since they didn't have their signatures notified on the paper Ms Cute blond foster child gave them to sign the day before.

Okay- that's the first fifteen minutes of the show. What follows is love scenes and tearful confessions, and commitments and re-commitments until the final scene where everyone gets to celebrate foster-no-more-kid's 16th birthday and when she blows out the candle she doesn't have to make a wish since she already got her's.

And that's just the premier.

Conner came to my room yesterday and as we reviewed for the umpteenth time for the math regent he looked up and said, "I don't know how much more of this I can take." And he wasn't talking about math.

At 18, Connor is not looking for signatures from successful biological parents who made some regrettable, but forgivable mistake in their high school years. His biological mom lives a few blocks from the school but never could take adequate care of him, his father is an ocean away. Child Protective Services removed him a while back and Connor negotiates the morass of administrative "intervention" almost on a weekly basis. It's his story and I won't tell it but unlike Ms. TV Orphan he knows just how hard it can be out there on his own.

Quadratic equations I can solve, the vagaries of Child Protective System I cannot. I told Connor to make an appointment with the principal, a social worker by training with lots of experience with the foster care system, I figured she would be in the best position to help him.

I was in the principal's office myself earlier in the day, shuffling through intervention plans, testing schedules and teacher complaints but bringing Connor's issues up didn't rise to my consciousness.

I forgot to remember how hard it is to negotiate the world alone, until I stranded myself on the couch and watched an orphan in TV Land where wishes are granted within 60 minutes even with commercial breaks.

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