Sunday, September 2, 2012
THE CHILDREN'S HOME
On the Facebook group "I Grew Up In Washington Court House", there were several pictures of the former Fayette County Children's Home. I had numerous friends and relatives who grew up in The Home.
One of my sisters-in-law, her younger sister and two brothers were placed in "the foster-care system", but they were "farmed out" to foster homes and were not in The Home very long! I use the term "farmed out" because all of them were sent to farms where they were free, cheap, labor and the "foster-parents" also received a monthly check for their support. All of them lived with people who were, in varying degrees, unkind, cruel, abusive, and over-worked them. My sister-in-law's sister turned 18 prior to graduation, but she was "supported" until graduation. The day she returned from her Senior Trip, she found her belongings on the front porch. The house was locked--the locks had been changed--and the "foster parents" were not at home. She had lived there four years, but those "foster parents" did not have the decency to even tell her goodbye, let alone provide transportation to another place. She had "aged-out" of the system and the "foster parents" would not be receiving a support check the following day! At the time, she already had a job which she would be starting in two days; she had been planning to stay at the foster home and pay rent because it was convenient to work and of course, she didn't have a car. She had to walk to another farm to use the telephone to call her sister to come to get her.
Three of my cousins were sent to the Children's Home; Helen, the oldest of the three, spent her senior year of school with us and the other two were "farmed out" to foster homes. Three girls in my class--Joyce, Sally and Bess--were "Home Kids"--and all of them preferred the Home to being placed "in the system"! The girls had better clothes than I did, were able to go to a lot of places and events that I couldn't, because the County paid for it. However, the stigma of being a "Home Kid" defined them. I remember that one time Joyce's mother came to get her and she refused to go, because her life at The Home was preferable to being with her mother. My friend Betty and her boyfriend Bob both grew up in The Home (CLICK HERE to see my BLOG article "THE BETTY FARMER") and after going their separate ways after high school, they reunited and have been together for the past 27 years.
There is an annual reunion for Children's Home alumni.