The past week has been a whirlwind of activity. I left for Ottawa on Tuesday morning to attend the Adoption Council of Canada's Summit on the Urgency Around Permanency. My flight was at 7:00 am, yet I was wide awake at 3:00 am worrying about whether I would make it through security with no problems - actually it wasn't me I was worried about, it was my garbage bag. This was going to be the first time I had ever flown with my garbage bag - I forgot how exciting and nerve-racking facing the unknown can be. Surrounded by fellow travellers, especially a lot of business professionals dressed in suits with lap top and carry on bags, I nervously clutched my garbage bag. As I practiced how I would answer if questioned about my garbage bag, I had a fleeting moment of thinking I sounded absolutely ridiculous. Thankfully though I went through security with no problems, the security guard only pausing momentarily to read the sign on my bag. My garbage bag was off to yet another exciting adventure.
While at the conference I had the incredible experience of speaking alongside youth on a panel, sharing our lived experiences of the foster care system. It reminded me how together we are so much stronger and using our voice is a powerful tool in advocating for change. Although somewhat not prepared, I also was given the opportunity to share about The Garbage Challenge. The response was moving - audience members approached me to sharestories of foster children/youth moving in garbage bags. One particular story stands out and that is about a young woman who moved 31 times and more often than not, with garbage bags.
Evidently the conversation of foster children and youth having to move their belongings in garbage bags has been going on for quite sometime. Even more importantly, I want to point out and acknowledge that there are social workers and foster parents who go above and beyond to ensure that suitcases are provided. Yet the question still remains - how do we ensure that every single foster child or youth who enters the system is guaranteed a healthier transition through the provision of a suitcase? I am excited to share that through several connections at the Summit this will be further explored within British Columbia and hopefully a solution will be created. I will keep you posted..................
Also I want to say a huge thank you to the Adoption Council of Canada for the opportunity to attend the Summit and for all the amazing work they do. To learn more about their organization, you can check out there website at: www.adoption.ca