A lot of people are scared off of adopting older children because of all the “baggage” they have. For many kids pulled from rough living situations, the trauma runs deep and comes out in ways you’d least expect — but some people aren’t put off by that and know that the blessings outweigh the struggles.
It must run in the family, as Bailey’s cousin, Aubren Dudley, has also adopted and fosters as well. She had an experience recently with one of her boys that she felt the world needed to hear.
“This is a MUST read,” Bailey wrote in her share of Dudley’s story. “My cousin is a foster parent with five children. She and her husband recently adopted four out of the five siblings!”
“It has been a joy to watch her in this journey – just like it was a joy watching her grow up. I love how she ‘keeps it real’ when it comes to living the life of fostering and adoption.”
“I reached out to my cousin about posting it because it really hits the nail on the head in terms of what daily life can look like for families who are raising kids from hard places,” she explained when speaking to “GMA.”
The story began with the boy (who’s been living with Dudley for over two years) sitting down to the table with what appeared to be a very odd meal choice.
Dudley posted a photo of it: A paper plate holding a dry brick of Ramen noodles with the powder scattered across the top.
When she asked him what he was doing, he said “I made myself dinner.”
“But it isn’t cooked,” she pointed out. “I can cook that you know.”
But then the story came tumbling out, and Dudley realized there was a purpose behind the seemingly strange meal. The boy explained to her that he wanted to eat something he’d eaten often with his “old family.”
“So we sat down and I asked him to tell me about it,” Dudley wrote. “He said that they wouldn’t feed him due to being passed out (you can guess why) and he would have to make dinner for himself and his brothers (2 and 4 months when they came to us). He said that all the money they had would be spent on cigarettes and other fun things (😬) and so he would find change in their van and would buy Ramen packets at the store down the street (at 6!!!!).”
“He said he didn’t know how to boil water, so he would eat it like this. And, he actually grew to like it. So, he would break it up for his sibling, and would try to make bottles for the baby (at 6!!!!!!).”
She asked the boy to fix her a plate, too, and sat down with him in solidarity. As she shared that moment with him, more pieces of the puzzle started to come together.
“[A]nd he just started talking about how the first time I made them Ramen, he wouldn’t eat it and I told him I remembered. He said it’s because it reminded him of his Ramen packets and he didn’t trust me (big thoughts for 9!).”
“He said he isn’t sad he’s not with his ‘old family’ (his words) anymore, but that sometimes HE LIKES TO REMEMBER HOW STRONG HE HAD TO BE.”
“And then, I walked away in shock, in sadness, and so so so proud of how strong my baby is. He’s so wonderful. And, we love him so much.”
Dudley used the story to point out the very real effects of trauma, and how it lingers and can pop up at the most unexpected times. She urged people to realize that with time and love, these kids will grow and change — but that doesn’t negate their past, and that fact shouldn’t keep people from fighting alongside their young charges.
“I love that people on the post were reporting their own trauma histories, and complete strangers were showing them so much love,” Dudley told “GMA.”
“Child abuse and neglect, and trauma, is such a taboo topic. Nobody wants to listen to it. Nobody wants to talk about it. But when a story like my son’s hits the public, they are shocked, they want justice. And I truly believe that once we start talking about it, and dealing with it, the world will be a better place.”
The story took off, and both Dudley and her son are thrilled that their experience is encouraging others.
“When I told him about his story being viewed so much, he started crying,” Dudley posted on Monday. “He said, ‘I just want people to be foster parents and keep siblings together. That’s so important mom!’ This is why. This is why we said yes. This is why I fight so hard and have so much passion for justice and grace and being forgiving.”
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