"It's Almost Tuesday" is a fictional story based on true events, using a young child's exact words when possible. It depicts true incidents reported within the Texas Foster Care System. While this story is fictional in situations, it is based upon abuse that occurs every day, and all over our country. The foster homes are meant to be a placement of safety for children removed from their family homes due to abuse or neglect, and when other abuse occurs, statistically worse than before their removal, something is wrong. Foster children are more likely to be abused than children in their natural homes. We should give those children a voice through this story, if they are not heard, then tragedies will continue to be needlessly endured.
Its Almost Tuesday
(written from the child's perspective)
"It's almost Tuesday" is what I tell myself; even though it's only Wednesday; but in foster care, Wednesday is no different from any other day except for Tuesday. It's the only hope I can find because Tuesday is the day I get to see my Mommy.
Tuesdays are the best but it seems like a lifetime waiting from Tuesday to Tuesday to get to Visit Day when I can be with My Mommy againthat is if Mom or Dad takes me
Sometimes they don't.
I'm supposed to see MY Mommy for one whole hour, but the caseworker says my Mommy was a bad Mommy, so I think my caseworker runs late on purpose to make Mommy madder but what did I do wrong? I'm the one away from home. The caseworker told me foster care was to punish bad parents, but it really punishes the kids. I'm only 8 and I know that, the caseworker has to be at least 30, can't she figure that much out?
Sometimes we only get to see each other for a few minutes but we're supposed to get a WHOLE hour! No matter what's going on, it's worth everything when Mommy hugs me and tells me it'll be okay. How does she know it'll be okay? They won't let me tell her what happens at home. When I say I'm going to tell my Mommy something, then they won't take me to visit her. So I don't dare tell Mommy and miss a Tuesday Visit.
I told Mommy that each time I go home from a visit I just scream at my foster Mom.
"Because each time she walks in, its not you, Mommy"
So I scream. I scream and I scream. Really I wish I didn't cause I only makes things worse, and making this foster mom mad is bad news. I try but I can't help it, I'm only 8 and screaming helps me when I hurt so bad I feel like I will blow up. . One of my foster sisters told me at another place this girl would cut herself; I guess that's how she let it out I just scream, even though I know what it gets me.
"SHUT UP, BOY!" Mom yells.
"SHUT UP THAT SCREAMING!"
I shut up. I shut up when I felt the sting of her ruler across my side, but not before I tore the towel rack off the wall in the bathroom. I never did that at my real home, I don't know why I do it now.
"I want my Mommy!"
"I want my Mommy and my name's not Boy!"
Visit Day on Tuesday is the best day of my life but Visit Day night is almost as horrible as Visit Day morning was fantastic. I think I'd be as quiet as a mouse if it mattered, but it doesn't. It doesn't matter what we do, we always do something wrong to Mom and Dad I feel like I'm only here for them to get me to do things for them that they don't want to do, and to cuss at. I hate it that they make us call them Mom and Dad.
Yesterday, my foster brother tried to break my neck. He's the oldest. There are 3 other foster brothers. 4 foster sisters too. In my old life, I would've yelled for help, but not here. I learned that the first week. I yelled for help and they helped all right helped choke me and hold me down. Even Lil' Sis sat on me, but I know why and I'm not mad at her. She's afraid of them too, like me. But she knows I won't hurt her later, so she sits on me, but not hard. Sometimes I see her looking at me and I can almost hear her saying she's sorry with her eyes. I wonder if she hears me wishing she was Wonder Woman and could save me.
I'd become that green guy with all the muscles and save her if I could; I'd save all the children, even the mean ones. I think sometimes the other kids are mean because they're mad they are here. Maybe they learned that screaming doesn't do any good but I bet they didn't used to be mean in their old life. Like me, and the towel rack; we are all changing now that we are here.
I gave Lil' Sis my white shirt when she came in, because she didn't have any shirts that fit. I try to protect her as much as I can, even from Mom.
Especially now, ever since the night I call the "cord night".
I could still feel the stinging on my side and butt from the ruler the night before. "It's almost Tuesday, it's almost Tuesday" I kept telling myself as I try to ignore the stinging and get ready to go to sleep. Dad was in the bathroom fixing the towel rack when it happened. Mom was mad too and got madder as Dad was calling me bad names for breaking the rack last night. He kept saying that they didn't get paid enough money for the things that are broken by the "brats". I don't know who Dad gets paid by, but he's always yelling, "It's not enough to take care of you brats". What is a brat? My mom didn't call me names and I don't think anybody paid her to take care of me.
Dad used to be in the army and he's really fussy about things being just right. When Dad yells (which is a lot) he never uses our names. He even makes us wear army clothes sometimes. In my old life, I dressed like that for Halloween once. I won't now, if I ever get to go back home. When Dad wasn't around, we used to pretend we're in the army and yell each other's last names like he does, until he caught us, luckily it wasn't me. We never knew what Dad did to the boy he caught, cuz I think the boy was too scared to ever tell anyone. He never did tell anyway. That was the last time we played that game, once Dad caught us.
So anyway, Mom got the computer cord out from her desk drawer. I wish I'd looked at the clock and reminded Lil' Sis of the time but with Dad cussing and all that, I forgot. I jumped on top of Mom without thinking about how mad she'd get (she didn't feed me for at least 4 days afterward). But I had to save Lil' Sis!
Mom was choking Lil' Sis, she couldn't even get her fingers under the cord, but she was trying to so she could breathe. Her fingers are small too she's only 5.
Mom wasn't stopping this time, not even when Lil' Sis turned blue. Usually she stops way before, but lately she gets so mad and that night, I don't think she even noticed Lil' Sis turning so blue. It was really scary!
Maybe Mom needs some of those pills she says I have to take because I scream on Tuesday nights.
"STOP! YOU'RE KILLING HER!"
I hit Mom with my GI Joe car to make her stop choking Lil' Sis. Mom quit choking Lil' Sis and started hitting me. I didn't see My Mommy next Visit Day though. Mom said it was punishment, but mostly it was because of my eye. It had blood in it, and was all different colors - black and purple mostly, and I couldn't open it from the swelling. I didn't dare complain though or ask for a doctor. I imagine that maybe a doctor will get lost and accidentally knock on our door. Maybe the doctor would see my eyebrow was bleeding and stitch it. Dad said a butterfly band-aid was what they would put on it in the army and that would fix it but it still bled for days. He made me go outside because I was bleeding and he said he didn't want me to make more messes.
I dug a hole and kept warm under the leaves and grass and stuff. I couldn't sleep, but I curled up into a little ball when I got scared. I pretended I was camping like I did when I was three years old and that my Mommy and Daddy were gonna be right back with marshmallows and graham crackers and lots and lots of chocolate.
"Dear God, please let me go home."
I wiped the blood with my shirt. It mixed with the dirt and leaves and made my brow throb. It hurt so bad.
I wonder if Mommy's gonna cry too, like me cuz I didn't get to see her that next Tuesday. I wonder what they told her.
I make myself into a tighter ball. I imagine that I'm at a circus and that I'm a red ball being bounced off a seal's nose. I imagine bouncing from one seal to another seal and the seals clap and make that seal noise. I can almost hear the crowd cheer because I'm the smallest, tightest ball ever and I fly way high up into the circus tent over the trapeze ropes even. I guess that's when I fell asleep. The last thing I remember was everything turning white around me.
"God, Is that you? I prayed. Did you hear me? Am I dead? What day is it?"
"Please God don't let me die until after Tuesday, I want to see my Mommy and tell her goodbye! I want to hug her again cuz I can't smell her Tuesday perfume on my shirt anymore cuz its too dirty!"
I can usually smell my Mommy for almost 5 days after a visit on my shirt. I try on the 6th day even though I know its probably faded by then. Still, I try. Since I gave Lil' Sis my white shirt, they took all my stuff away. This is the only shirt I have left. It'll be harder to smell Mommy from now on.
They even took my little rock Mommy gave me that has that bible verse on it about everything having its own time like a time to live and a time to die. I don't want to die yet.
"Is it really time for me to die, God? Not til Tuesday, God, please"
"Wake Up! Wake Up! It's Tuesday!" I can open my eye again. That's not God telling me to wake up though, it sounds like Lil' Sis
I squint as the sun is starting to come down and is so bright. I don't know how long I've been sleeping. I thought I was dead.
"Its Tuesday? Really?"
Lil' Sis was shaking me, I was still in the hole, curled up in a ball, but we had to hurry, before she got caught outside. I know I'll get to see Mommy today. They won't hide me for two Tuesdays. No way!
I tell Lil' Sis that it'll all be okay once my Mommy sees my shirt. We'll be saved. My Mommy isn't Wonder Woman for real, but to me she is.
She'll save us.
Then Mom walks in she looks at me for a moment because she sees me smiling. Then she says "No Visit Today Boy. Your Mommy didn't show up. I told you she doesn't love you, that's why you're here" I didn't believe her really, but in foster care, you never really know what's true, they lie to us so much.
I shouldn't have let Mom see me smile. I think that's why Mom said my Mommy didn't show up. To take my smile away.
I think that on that Tuesday night, I screamed louder than ever! I screamed so loud that I got to see Mommy on Wednesday! The very next morning! When I fell asleep I dreamed that my Mommy screamed too, like me, and together we were so loud that the whole world could hear us. Then I found out that they were going to let us have a Wednesday Visit Day. I couldn't wait to see Mommy and I did see her on the best Wednesday of my entire life, but I think for Mommy it wasn't, she got really scared when she saw what's left of my black eye and all the blood on my shirt. I'll never forget it the rest of my life.
Mommy told me that she did go on Tuesday. The caseworker lied to her and told her I forgot to go to the visit but she knew that I would never forget.
Maybe my Mommy did scream like me.
I think they let me go home because of my shirt and my eye. Or maybe they realized my Mommy wasn't really bad. The first thing I wanted to do when I got out was go to a circus and see if there were seals there.
I hug Mommy all the time now, 100 times a day it seems I love to hug her so I can smell her perfume and I don't care what day it isI just want to smell her again
I still wake up from nightmares and Mommy always rushes in to comfort me right away. I don't think she sleeps very well listening for my cries. I was so scared of waking Mom or Dad that I learned how to cry very softly at night. I know I'm not in foster care anymore, but I still try to be quiet as a mouse, even in my sleep. I don't think Tuesday nights will ever be the same for me again, even if I'm not screaming anymore
I will never go more than a week without wondering how many kids are screaming on Tuesday nights.
Or cutting themselves.
Or turning mean.
When nobody is around, I imagine all the foster kids, even the ones I've never met, that are out there. They aren't like my imaginary friends in my old life though. They're real. They were my brothers and sisters for 18 months, and as long as there are foster homes like the one I had to live in, I know they're being punished for something a grownup did wrong. I still can't figure out why all those grownups don't know better at their age. I used to think maybe it was because they weren't as smart as me, but I'm not the only kid who understood. We all knew it, so it has to be something more than just being smart. I still don't know why they really put me in there. Maybe God put me there so I could save Lil' Sis that night from Mom. Maybe there isn't really a God and that's why there are foster homes to begin with. I don't know. I'm just a kid.
I wish all the grownups in the world knew how it felt to be treated "worse than a pile of dirt", I felt like I would die if I didn't have next Tuesday. If they really truly knew how it felt, then there wouldn't be any bad homes.
I know that's true, because when I grow up, I'm going back. I am so I can save a foster kid whose being hurt like I was, because it's not fair for kids' wishes not to come true.
My Mommy explained that the kids, who turned mean, didn't have a day like my Tuesday Visit Days. Visit Days there are like resting days, like landing on free parking in monopoly.
Yeah, my mean foster brothers didn't have Mommy's to hug them and leave perfume on their shirts. That's why they were mean, because they didn't understand the first 6 days because everyday is the same as the day before. And on the 6th day, they didn't hope for one more sweet-smelling whiff because they didn't have a Mommy to visit tomorrow. Nobody tells kids like me what I'd have to do to survive when they put me in there, or that I would have to protect Lil' Sis, especially on the cord night. I wish she could've come home with me. I'd protect her forever even though I'm not green and covered with muscles, but to her I was.
I tell God thank you every night for letting me go home, I don't care if he really is real or not, because to me, he is.
Then it happened I screamed again I screamed just like I did in foster care.
My Mommy had never heard me scream since my new life, but one night I heard on TV on the news that they found her and she was dead. They said she was tucked away for bed, and wearing a white shirt. It was Lil' Sis, and she was wearing the same shirt I gave her. They said she was holding a rock with a bible verse on it.
The news people said the foster parents were in shock and had no idea what happened. They said she had tried to run away the night before but they had found her and brought her home and when no one was looking, she drank some kind of poison.
I never thought I would scream again after I got home and my Mommy just grabbed me and hugged me and pulled me close to her. It was the first time I was held while I screamed, and it felt weird at first but then it felt better. When I stopped screaming, I told Mommy that Lil' Sis was running away to find me. Mommy believed me even though I didn't tell her how I knew; I guess it was my screams. I didn't have to tell her that I didn't think she drank the poison herself, or that her death was an accident. That night I wanted to tell Mommy everything, but I didn't.
Lil' Sis was one of the really little foster kids and I wish she could have lived with me but instead she died. Mommy held me all night, and I remembered how Lil' Sis would ask if she could "smell the yummy flowers" on my shirt because she didn't have a real Mommy. I wish she could have met mine.
I curled up as tight as I could in Mommy's arms that night and thought about how Lil' Sis would never know how good it felt to be held by a real Mommy, but at least she knew what a real Mommy smelled like, and it always made her smile.
I loved watching her eyes that were so big when she smiled each time.
I loved being home in my Mommy's arms. It felt so good and for the first time in my new life, I almost forgot what day it was.