Open Doors, Open Hearts
Open Doors, Open Hearts
Open Door Open Hearts was a book written after 11 years of living in the foster care system. The book was originally released in 2011 only to have to be republished with a new cover in 2017 due to the original publisher going out of business.
There were many reasons that the author wrote this book but one of them was the misconception of what foster care is really like. There always seems to be the foster child that turns out to be a psycho path that lived in a abusive foster home in more TV shows that we care to mention. It is disappointing not only for the foster parents but for the youth who are sitting and watching these shows and see themselves stereotyped as a psycho path or loser because they come from foster care. The real issue is that there are many success stories for youth in foster care but hardly ever is that brought into the picture. The author has had many experiences with people literately making derogatory comments to her face. In a urgent care room one time she sat with one of her foster sons and when the attending nurse heard that he was in foster care her comment was, “it really sucks doesn’t it, I was in foster care to and I couldn’t stand it.” The author sat and apologized to the nurse for her negative experience. Then there was the experience at a retail store at Christmas time when she was bringing clothes up to be checked out and was talking with the clerk. It came up that she was a foster parent and the clerk made a statement that referred to all foster parents doing this only for the money. She was shocked that anyone would make such a statement and couldn’t even say a word. One has to love the ad for adoption because it shows a little girl with a suitcase with the insinuation that kids in foster care can never unpack their clothes unless they are adopted. Most teens in foster care are not eligible for adoption so they will age out but to have this slapped in their face is another reason youth have such difficulty in foster care. Now maybe there are foster homes out there that do this for the money or whatever reason but to stereotype all foster homes that way is an injustice to not only the parents who work so hard to help these youths become successful but to the integrity of the youths who live in foster care. The youth in foster care have enough of their own problems the last thing they need is for people to stereotype them as well. There are many youth out there that also get into trouble that are not in foster care and have considerable less trauma in their lives to deal with so the accountability should be taken off the foster care environment and placed where it belongs. These types of issues are also discussed in her book.
The book talks about life as a foster home single parent and some of the good times and some of the more challenging times. The author also describes times when the system failed these young people. There is discussion on mental illness and how deceiving it can look, presenting as if it isn’t there isn’t any illness, when services are needed for the youth. How mental illness is viewed by others and how foster parents learn to help youth with mental illness. There is also discussion on youth sex offenders and the trauma that they have incurred.
Open Door Open Hearts is a book about life and a rude awaking to a part of it that the majority of people will never see. It is about experiences in residential settings as well as the struggles to understand a system that is broken.