The day our two foster sons moved in, Big D (the ten year old) made it clear that on no uncertain terms were we to come to his school.

He was willing to live with us. But being associated with us was a different matter.

Our bright white skin next to his beautiful dark tones was like a spotlight calling out that things weren’t as they once were.

Several weeks ago, when we heard Big D was participating in the Black History Program, we obviously wanted to attend and cheer him on. But he more obviously told us we weren’t welcome.

The day of the performance, rolled around and we headed out the door together. I nonchalantly told him I was sad to miss his big day. Without missing a beat, he reminded me that I couldn’t go anyway because I had work.

I countered. “I would leave work to be there. If you wanted me there, I would be. No question.”

He paused, but then confirmed that he did not want us there.

So we all went about our days. Until a simple text from his teacher stopped us in our tracks. He wanted us there. He still wasn’t comfortable looking at us or being known to be with us. But he wanted us to see him and know him.

What an invitation.

Until it was extended I didn’t think about the questions involved. The bigger issues at play.

Letting us in, meant acknowledging that his parents weren’t allowed in.

I can’t imagine wrestling with that in fifth grade. Deciding whether it’s worth having someone out there in the audience, when that someone represents the fact that mom isn’t


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  1. Monica

    So glad he opened up enough to let you in…that’s such a gift, even if he didn’t want anyone to know you are there for him. I hurt for those kids.

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