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As a former foster child, my passion is advocating for and with foster care youth, publicizing the challenges that they face and addressing their developmental and emotional needs through workshops.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Boy and the Dog Are Sleeping (Nasdijj)

The quotes from the very beginning of the book "The Boy and the Dog Are Sleeping" by Nasdijj are very powerful. I must admit that I became frustrated mid-way through reading this book, because while I admired Nasdijj adopting a foster child with AIDS, some of the trips he took the boy on were troubling to me.

But, here are the quotes:
-"Sometimes I think I am insane. Why would anyone adopt a child with AIDS?... I want something no one is allowed to have."

-"I want the mad ones. The children mad enough to struggle and survive. I want the children who have seen war. The children mad enough to question everything. The children who have had everything taken away from them. The children who are broken and mad enough to attempt to repair themselves. The children mad enough to spit and fight. Mad enough to laugh outrageously. Mad enough to make a music of their own. Mad enough to see themselves as individuals..."

-"I want children who will dance in the rain. I want the mad crazy ones. I want the ones insane enough to love hard, and brave enough to be vulnerable."

-"What I know and understand and write about is chaos. I have worked with boys who live in foster homes. I am told there are good foster homes, and I believe it. I am an optimist and in denial about many things. I just haven't seen any good foster homes. The foster homes I have seen have been places I wouldn't leave a dog."

-"I have many social worker friends who call me when they are facing a crisis with some kids they want to go to the wall for in order to save. Even in our burned cynicism, we believe there are kids who are still worth it."

-"When we were young, our idealism was breathtaking... we would save the world... We demonstrated. We got our names put on FBI lists. We took over Alcatraz. Now, we are quiet about the work we do. We change things. Quietly."

-"We are no longer interested in saving the world. We know in our bones that the world does not deserve or desire to be saved. We also know that there is a different between the world and an individual child who might, indeed, desire to be saved."

-"Change is one child at a time. Change is one family at a time. Change is changing the madness of culture into the spirituality of the individual, one social structure at a time."

-"Life with Awee (the foster child with AIDS) had an immediacy that was inescapable. You did things now. You hugged him now. You did the dishes with him now. You talked late into the night with him now. There was no 'later'-safe to store your valuables in."

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