Fostering Cinnamon’s Freedom
Albert Einstein. I had just given my 16-year-old foster kid, Cinnamon (not her real name), a personality test and I was thrilled. It said she had the same personality as Albert Einstein—a deep thinker, able to solve complex problems. I felt like I had discovered a golden nugget everyone else had overlooked. My mind went into overdrive: booking a tutor, finding out about early college admittance, giving her her own room to have space to quantify the universe. Cinnamon regarded the personality test with much less enthusiasm, then asked if we could go to McDonald’s.
After a summer of changing diapers, I had asked the Department of Child and Family Services for a 16-year-old girl. I had made a master plan. For the next two years, I would teach her everything I had learned in corporate America and help her get to college. In exchange, I would get more help around the house with cleaning and cooking. The department flooded my inbox, and I painstakingly read through each profile. I picked Cinnamon because of her story. She should have entered foster care three years earlier, when her sister did, but she had stayed loyal to her sick mom. She had been left behind to endure more, and then entered into a system that highly favored younger children. When I called to speak with her on the phone, she said, “I don’t eat that much, so if you let me come to your house, you won’t have to buy that much more.” I called her social worker and said yes. A week later a 5’4” bundle was dropped at my door.
I had read books on teenagers and the social worker had given me pamphlets, but the real thing was different.
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