Friday, May 15, 2009


Growing up, my parents did foster care. Jimmy was one of those foster kids. He was the one foster kid that would ultimately break all of our hearts. I don't remember how long he was with us, but it seemed like forever. When we got him, he was a terrified little shell of a child. He was scared of everything. It didn't take too long before he came around and it was like he had always been a part of our family. Jimmy was about 10 months younger than me. I got a respite from being the baby, and he got a real family. So it was a win-win situation... at least for the two of us. He knew left from right but I didn't. I could tie my shoes but he couldn't tie his. So putting shoes on became a group effort for the two of us. He would make sure I got my shoes on the right feet and I would tie his shoes for him.

Having Jimmy around just seemed natural. I remember going with my mom to drop him off with his mom for visits. It was usually to some seedy hotel room, and Jimmy never wanted to stay. He didn't want that woman to be his mom. He wanted my parents to be his. I was okay with that. I knew that if I could share my parents with him, that meant I got to keep him too.

My parents were in the process of trying to adopt him. We hadn't planned to let him go. He wasn't going to be another foster kid through the revolving door. We wanted to keep this one!! Then one day... it was over. We lost him. His mother had complied with whatever it was she was supposed to do. She took him. She took him and moved far away from us with him. We never saw Jimmy again. He was the last foster kid my parents took in. After him, none of us wanted to see another child come in broken and abused, only to walk right back out and into the situation that got him/her there in the first place. It was just... over.

Over the years, I've tried to find him. When I was a child, I was foolish enough to hope that just maybe I would find him at school. Or maybe I would run into him at the gas station. Then as I got older, I thought I would find him on the Internet. I thought I could just type his name into some search engine, and there he would be. Now 20+ years later, I'm typing his name into Facebook. There are over 500 Jimmy Bowmans. I wouldn't recognize his face anymore. All I have to compare to, is a faded picture of a 5-6 year old little boy. That 5-6 year old little boy would have turned 28 this January. 20+ years can do a lot to a body. I'll never recognize him by a picture.

At the moment, I'm fresh out of hope again. He could be one of 500+ Jimmy Bowmans. Or he might not be one of them at all. Who's to say, he didn't get placed with another foster family later on. Another family may have been able to adopt him... change his name... give him the life he deserved. For his sake I hope that was the case. For my sake, I hope his name is still Jimmy Bowman, and that one of these days I will be able to find him. Not just for me, but for my parents, my sisters, all of us.

No comments:

Post a Comment