October workshop was so much fun!
Our leader for the month was Juanita. She brought her sister along to show and assist the girls with making tortillas from scratch and teach us about Dia de Los muertos. We tag teamed and while 2 girls made their own batch of tortillas the others hung outside with us to decorate styrofoam sugar skulls and wood masks.
Did you know that Dia de Los Muertos is a holiday that celebrates the dead? Typically called Day of the Dead. Not in some weird creepy way but on November 1st as a Mexican heritage they celebrate the life and death of the children. They make beautiful sugar skulls, hang bright colored cutouts, have a photo of the person and make their favorite food. Then they do the same on November 2nd for the adults who’ve passed on. It’s really beautiful tribute. Much like Americans celebrate the dead by placing beautiful sets of flowers on the gravestones at graveyards each year.
Mrs. Rachel Beechboard and her sweet girl Chloe made some yummy mummy Oreos for the girls to munch on while they craft. They ate them all! Juanita taught them how to say Dia de Los Muertos and they did really good!
As we sat outside, some girls talked about what’s been going on in their lives and others opened up about what it’s like being an orphan without the ability of ever seeing your 3 siblings again. What it’s like to be a former self-harmer and then having your adopted family un-adopt you after 6 years because they couldn’t take it. Give them back?!? How?!? Why?!? 6 years?!?
The facts like they have been treated as a second class citizen in their own adopted home and then dropped off and discarded like the Wednesday garbage makes your Mama Bear soul roar in indignation.
The way they talk about it so matter of fact is like a true gut punch. Don’t get me wrong, these girls are anything but “woe is me pity party”. They just long to be heard; truly heard. It’s why we are here. Oftentimes you’ll see us listening more than you will see us talking.
You’ll hear them talk about you taking them home. Granted if we could we’d tuck them in our pockets and take them with us. As one joked about it, Suzette said we can’t do that it’s a kidnapping charge! The girl said yeah but then I’d have a home. And a mom; we’d be a family. Insert ugly cry right now. Gosh how they long to be WANTED! Renee Smith said “Look around you right now. You see these women here? Chicktime will ALWAYS be your family. No matter where you are or where you go.” Suzette Bordonaro Johnson said, “Yeah baby girl. You got lots of mommas here!”
“True”, she said. “I’m glad for that.”
I’ve seen them write the words, ‘It gets better’, over and over. Yes it will get better. May not be right away but you’ll get there. Emotions run high in a girls group home. Some act tough but you know they long for those mama hugs and prayers. I always come out of there wiped!
Abby really connects with some of them because of the age closeness. They argue over who sits next to her and that’s in itself beautiful. Holly Stewart and Anna Scott right in and craft with the girls, helping them to not feel so guarded and tense. They let their creativity flow honey! Many put those jewel stickers on their glasses and face just to strive for difference and individuality. Some end up being loners and after so much you’ll see them find a corner to hide in. It’s always an ebb and flow.
We had one of our very first original girls back this time. She ages out in a few weeks. Did you know that if a child in care turns 18 in the middle of the school year they have 45 days to be placed elsewhere?! WHAT?!?!? They haven’t even graduated yet and they as a rule must be removed from the home. Granted they find a place for them if they don’t have family or any place to go but I don’t get it. The system seems broken doesn’t it? That is how so many end up in the street and in bad situations.
I know this post is long but I want others to understand. I NEED you to understand what we’re up against. We have limited time with them and that time is precious. We need your help. We need your talents and time.
WE JUST NEED YOU!