For 12 years I looked at my birth certificate and wondered whose name it was on that piece of paper. All I knew was that my mom’s name was Joan, but the document didn’t seem to agree. My story may be different from others, but I hope that the similarities found in the joys of my childhood can resonate with the masses.
I came to my foster home after spending the first six weeks of my life at Cook Country Hospital in the city of Chicago. I, a black child, was now placed in the home of Paul and Joan Grotelueschen, a white family with a heart to care for those in need. The day that I arrived, my parents had to be gone for a bit, so I was left to the care of my foster siblings, all six of them.
That first evening a note was left on my foster mother’s pillow saying, “Mom, can she stay forever and ever???”. Immediately, what was originally a short-term foster care situation, turned into a desire for adoption. However, when these plans were told to the social worker handling their case, they were cautioned that if their hopes were revealed, more than likely, I would be removed from their home to discourage any sort of bi-racial adoption. Thankfully, things have changed since the ‘70’s, but that was the unfortunate reality of our time.
For the next twelve years, I remained a foster child in the foster care system, cared for by one family that called me their own. As the years passed and I grew older and more aware of my surroundings, the thought that I was a foster child never dawned on me; I simply knew that I was loved unconditionally. And isn’t that the heart of the foster family, to love wholeheartedly so that the child is unaware of the circumstances that have brought them to this place? I think so.
~ Mia Koehne