Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Big Brother Program

(This is a continuation of a previous post about how I became a foster parent. Click HERE to view the previous post.)

In the early 1990’s I joined the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Program of the East Bay. This organization’s stated purpose was “to match children of varied ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds with stable, mature adults… to increase the child’s self-esteem and broaden their future options.”

This program accepted girls from 10 to 16 years old, and boys from 7 to 14 years old. I was matched with an eight year old "little brother" named Kai. (He is on the right in the photo above.) Kai lived with his mother, who was divorced and held down a full time job. He didn’t see much of his father. For the better part of a year we palled around together on weekends. Sometimes we went on special trips, like to the zoo, and other times he just joined me in whatever I had going on. One of the things I remember about Kai was that he liked drawing, and I just found some of his drawings in my file cabinet!

There were a lot of things I liked about the Big Brother program, but the sporadic visits and having to return the kid to his mother every day were difficult. Every time we got together it seemed like we were starting over and working on the same problems. I didn’t get the sense that I was making a difference. So, in 1993 I decided to look into becoming a foster parent.

Click HERE to view the next post in this series.