HUS3605 Child Welfare and Family Services

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  • Session 6: A child of the State
  • #45185

    Linda Henry

    Lemn Sissay spent 18 years as a child of the state. He was fostered, and institutionalized in the United Kingdom. He jokingly referred to Margaret Thatcher as his mother. During those years he was forced to develop certain coping skills that he would not have had under normal circumstances. He deems himself an expert to speak about the system, and said that the strength of a country’s democract is determined by how the government treats a child of the state. He spoke of how his mother, an Ethiopian and Oxford student was tricked into signing adoption papers when he was born – seemed that was the primary purpose of the social worker. Back then, unwed mothers had no options ; they were viewed as a threat to society. His unstable situation made him realize how even religious people who were apart of the system, did not totally understand the hurt and disconnect children feel. He superfically touched on breastfeeding, which can be inferred, he was also deprived of. He alluded to the fact that children internalize what they are, based on how they are treated. He thought he was the devil. He made reference to legendary writers who depicted characters like Cinderella, Harry Potter, and even Moses, a Bible character, who were all hurt by their conditions in broken foster care systems.
    Unlike many others who are afraid to speak about their past, he feels the urgency and or obligation to bring awareness of the system that so many other children are trapped in. He wants to highlight the disconnection of children from their families, because what happened then is still happening today. Having experienced rejection, caused him to reflect on what a family truly is. During his incarceration and being placed among criminals, robbed him of the warmth of and affiliation with family; nobody enquiried about him, because nobody knew him for more than one year. He was determined to find his biological family, which he did as an adult and embraces them even though they are not perfect. He did not let his circumstances distract him from his passion for poetry, but rather uses this experience to enhance his performance. This is evident in the way he expressed himself on stage to a packed audience, who seemed to give him rapped attention. He is a true inspiration of what an advocate is.



    Child Of State: Lemn Sissay spoke about the reality of foster care and adoption, he spoke about children who were in foster care deserved care, love and to live a free lie. Children who are in foster care were being treated bad, those children were, Lemn was in the foster care for 18 years so he knew all about the unpleasant treatment while his was there. Lemn wanted to express his thoughts and feeling toward foster care, foster care supposed to be there to protect the children but sometime it is not the best option for them.



    Child Of The State: When I first read the words or the title Child Of The State, the first thing that come to my mind was ( a child is alone and without a real family). Lemn Sissay was a child of the state for 18 years so he really knows the feelings of being part of that population and how hard is to life without family love. This is something that still happen in todays world, many children’s are not living with their family and is very sad because every single person in the world deserve to be with their family, I think that is not fair to take them away. I really think, it was very nice of him to brought he experienced or past situation to others people because is a good way to be awareness of the foster care system.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 9 months ago by Luci.
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