Let It Be Us Interviews Author of Goodbye SaraJane: A Foster Child Writes Letters to Her Mother – Tuesday, May 12, 7:00PM on ZOOM
- Adoption , Foster Care , Foster Parent Education , Foster Parent Recruitment
- May 12, 2020
Join us on ZOOM – TONIGHT – TUESDAY, MAY 12 at 7:00PM – as our Foster Parent Licensing Coach, Michelle Prickett, interviews Sequoya Griffin, author of the memoir Goodbye, SaraJane: A Foster Child Writes Letters to Her Mother. The author chronicles her harrowing journey through the American foster care and adoption system and our discussion focuses on foster care, adoption, family connections, culture, and more. An active participant in CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), the author’s passion is to continue bringing awareness to all aspects of the foster care and adoption system. Register for this and all of our webinars focusing on child welfare, foster care, adoption and more here: www.letitbeus.org/events. If you are interested in opening up your home and heart to a child in foster care please complete this form to work with one of our Foster Parent Licensing Coaches.
About the Author
Author Griffin (Love and Victory, 2015) expresses an enduring love for her birth mother, Katherine, who was forced to give up her children in 2000, when the author was just 10. In a series of letters with commentary, Griffin attempts to catch her mother up on her formative years, when she was shuffled from one unhappy foster-family experience to another. An illuminating chapter familiarizes readers with Katherine herself–a woman who was brought up in a religious family and who ultimately succumbed to drug addiction when Griffin was a child. This biographical section is pivotal and informative, forming a foundation for the later story. The author’s tone is notably gracious and heartfelt and never accusatory, embittered, or resentful. Instead, Griffin writes earnestly in delicately detailed, chronological episodes. While living with her first foster family, she was mistreated, she says, and found herself in a constant state of “uncertainty, anger, and depression.” Child Protective Services removed Griffin and her siblings from that home and placed them in different, crowded houses, filled with other, unsupervised kids who abused them. When Griffin and her family members were all finally adopted by a family from upstate New York, their heartbreaking cross-country journey from Nevada presaged great homesickness and jarring changes for which they weren’t mentally or physically prepared. The new family’s son punched Griffin in the face immediately upon meeting her, and the adoptive mother despised the author’s temperamental attitude.
Years of violent aggression between the adoptive family and Griffin’s siblings followed, the author says. The strict, churchgoing adoptive mother decided to change all of the siblings’ names; Griffin’s became “SaraJane.” She also forced all of the children to be baptized. The author writes of various fear tactics and mind games that Griffin and her brothers and sisters had to deal with while living in their new home. By the time the author became a teenager, her animosity for her adoptive mother had risen to violent levels, and investigations of the household by social workers became frequent. Stuck with the family until she would be emancipated at 18, the author struggled to overcome the fear and shame that her adoption experience had instilled in her. Griffin has a distinct talent for expressive prose and exacting detail. However, this can make for difficult reading, particularly during the foster-care years, when her experiences were so challenging and melancholy. She concludes her memoir with a series of dramatic foster-care-related statistics and one final missive to her birth mother about her advocacy for foster children and their parents through a new venture called Katherine’s Place. Although there isn’t much uplifting material in this remembrance of childhood trauma, there is a sense of forgiveness and inner peace, particularly in a late account of the author’s reconnection with her biological father, Stanford. This feeling of empathy and resolution ends the book on a particularly poignant note.
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