There are great trees filled with leaves that are very beautiful, gorgeous, and precious. Each leaf is shaped uniquely, and it is astounding to notice how, although they are each different, they complement one another with their different shapes and colors. Together this leafy family makes a smart, funny, engaging, and beautiful display. When winter comes, all the leaves begin to fall down one by one, side by side with respect. The leaves support each other no matter what season they are in. They work together to provide shade and solve problems. They fight fleetingly through the air as they fall to the ground. Just like siblings fight and then come back together.
After fighting their way to the ground, they forgive one another as they gently land. Have you ever walked down a beautiful forest trail and found just one leaf that is not wet and it makes the sound kwush kwush as you step on it? That is me, the one that doesn't give up and get wet right away. This is how I view my sibling relationships. I am a lost leaf who mourns her siblings.
I remember the hugs I received; they were the best hugs ever. I don’t know when I will be able to return the hugs to the leaves I belong to. We all came from the same tree and grew in the safety of the same womb. We were all beautiful inside and out. We understood each other and shared the same culture and language. We showed respect to one another. We laughed together even though the story was not funny. We cried together until our eyes dried and it was time to say goodbye and begin a new dream.
I did not know where I would end up, but I knew I had to leave the forest. I had always known I would have to leave. My focus was to chase the dream. The American Dream! American Dream!! American Dream!!! What every leaf dreams of. I thought I was going to touch the sky, be whatever I wanted to be. I got very excited for a moment! The possibilities of this new life, the opportunities this change could bring. I thought everything would be alright. But, when I actually arrived in my new territory, the environment was way different than I expected.
There were trees with leaves that had their own unique colors. It was amazing for a while, but the dream did not go as planned. One day, I suddenly found myself without trees and without leaves of different colors. I felt so alone and overwhelmed. I thought it was the end of the world. Everything turned to black and white. There were no more leaves to fight with. There were no more leaves to joke around with. There were no more leaves to laugh with. It is so difficult to live life as just one leaf. There is not a lot you can do, you know what I mean!!! Even though I have God who is the creator of everything by my side, it is very challenging to live life every day without my colorful leaves beside me.
THE PAIN WITHOUT A CURE
When you have pain from a headache, you take medication.
When you have pain from a broken bone, you go to see a doctor.
But what do you do when your pain is caused by sibling separation? Where do you go?
I am sad when I see siblings playing at the park. I am disappointed when I don’t have to share my birthday party. I feel down when Facebook reminds me it is sibling’s day to celebrate. I am heartbroken they were not at my high school graduation. I am sorrowful when I do not have them as cheerleaders at my sporting events. I am hurt they will not be at my college graduation. There is not a cure to heal the pain that comes from sibling separation.
I am writing this blog to creatively express the importance of sibling relationships. Siblings should be defined as not only biological but any family members you were raised with. It is important for people to know that sibling separation has a big impact on youth in foster care. Even if siblings are not able to live together, arrangements should be made to have regular visits. Allowing these connections to continue for youth in foster care is important for personal identity and the emotional development of youth. Each state should be required to adopt a Sibling Bill of Rights to protect and support these lifelong relationships.