the years in between: memories of kinship care

I’m smiling so hard my face hurts.

Three or four years old, looking up at the woman who squatted over and put her hands on her knees to speak to me. I think what she’s doing is funny. I bend over too, mirroring her posture as I look up and respond to the questions she’s asking.

I was cared for by many in the months after my parents died. My Baba was sick. She couldn’t always take care of me. She died exactly one month after I arrived.

Fast forward to five or six years old. I’m acting silly with my brother in the hallway of King County Municipal Courthouse.

The judge asks whether I’ve seen the inside of a courtroom and I tell him, “Only on Mrs. Doubtfire.”

These are only memories. I was young when all of it happened. Happy and sad moments. Confusing times.

I am lucky to have had an open adoption.

In recent times, I have managed to reconnect with several families who took care of me during those years in between. The years where I had a bed to sleep on in many homes. I am grateful to have so many who I call family.

***

By the way, May is National Foster Care Month. “Foster care” refers to the formal child welfare system in the United States, whereby a child comes under the guardianship of the State. “Kinship care” refers to care by relatives or a close family friend to a child who would not otherwise have anyone that is legally responsible for them. In the United States, kinship care can be both formal and informal, depending on whether the caregivers receive a license from the State to provide foster care. The system varies, though, depending on the country and context.

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About mirellawarren

social work consultant, transracial adoptee, adoptee rights advocate, writer
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