Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Siblings: Foster Children and Children of Hoarders?

I've been a fan of David Hoffman's documentaries for a few years, and he recently did a series of short interviews with foster children for the city of Santa Cruz. While being a foster child and being a COH are obviously different experiences, I was struck by the similarities in the language used in this interview with the language used by many COH to describe their own experiences.


3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Comparing this video to your own situation may take away from the reality that the girl is portraying. It is also a stark difference that foster children have many different homes and children of hoarders are stuck in one.

Joe Hoarder'sSon said...

Thanks for the comment, Anonymous. As I said in my post, "being a foster child and being a COH are obviously different experiences."

I do not believe that finding similarities between different experiences "takes away from the reality" that anyone is experiencing. Instead, I think that finding common ground sometimes can foster greater understanding, awareness, and respect for each other's experience.

Just as not all foster children have identical experiences, not all children of hoarders have identical experiences. Everyone is different. Every group is different. That does not mean that it is wrong for people to recognize similarities in each other's experience and to try to explore them.

You are, of course, correct to remind us that foster children can have many different homes and that children of hoarders (usually) are "stuck in one." I wonder, however, if, despite the differences in physical circumstances, there aren't some similarities in how many children of hoarders and many foster children might process their different experiences.

I often have heard children of hoarders use language to describe their experiences that is very, very similar to a lot of the language used in this video. At root, many members of both groups seem likely to have challenging relationships with family ties and with the hopes for a stable, nurturing "home" versus the reality of a "roof over the head" that doesn't supply what is needed emotionally. Is it unreasonable to speculate that some members of these groups might share some of the same types of emotional effects or coping mechanisms?

We've viewed the video through the prisms of our own experiences, and we have reacted differently. That's fine. I thank you for your comment. I do not wish to diminish anyone's experience or story.

Joe Hoarder'sSon said...

PS. I changed the last sentence of the post from "I was struck by how much of this interview might have been given just as easily by a COH" to "I was struck by the similarities in the language used in this interview with the language used by many COH to describe their own experiences."

Perhaps that more closely captures what I wanted to say and will be less objectionable.