Monday, January 10, 2011

A little taste of what I"m sure most of us are guilty of doing!

The hardest part of being a foster parent sometimes is accepting the help and going along with all the services provided.  Not that they aren't great, but sometimes one feels like they are crossing the line into entitlement and it's a dance of what your mind "deems" as being right. 

Case in point, when Tigger came, she received WIC, so naturally it continued.  It's a great program and I'm very glad that my tax dollars go to fund such an awesome program, it's just that sometimes I felt out of place.  I got over it because in the end it wasn't about "me" it was about making sure Tigger received what she needed in light of the fact that she may not have received good nutrition beforehand.  OK I get it.  So it's not about me, it's about making Tigger healthy and being accountable to making Tigger eat healthy. 

Fast forward and now we are a forever family.  Because of her past foster care history, in our state Tigger still receives insurance from the state as secondary and because of that, she still receives WIC.  Again I feel weird because while we are not rich, I can buy food, we're not destitute.  Again, I'm counseled and told that Tigger unlike my typical pregnant friend may not have received prenatal care and good nutrition and accountability for that is good for HER and it has nothing to do with me.  I was then told that if it made me feel better, I payed taxes and I"m just seeing the benefits of where my tax dollars go to.  Ok. 

Now, being a WIC person and going to the store and buying food items with the WIC checks, you get to see people's true colors.  You know, the self-righteous people that roll their eyes and tap and sigh heavily because one is obviously "trash" if they are using the checks.  Well I guess it's payback because let's face it, in our harried lives and maybe in our youth, weren't we those rude people hemming and hawing behind a family using food stamps and/or WIC checks?  Last week, I decided to use another store outside my normal one that I use for these purposes and boy did I pay for it, even though I thought I was saving time by doing it before picking up Tigger and getting it done without her. 

If looks could kill, I'd be dead.  The cashier lady was nice...however, in my usual store I guess I've been making a wrong purchase that they haven't told me about yet this cashier said I had to trade this food for something else...I think the cereal boxes have to be in 12 oz boxes or more instead of 9 oz (yes silly rules) and so of course the people behind me started giving me that evil stare.  You know the "if you weren't a slut stare", and the "dang lady wasting our taxes" stare.  I was royally embarrassed and wanted to cry.  After I got out of there alive much to the happiness of the person behind me, I contemplated on how maybe sometimes I've acted the same way in my teens or early 20s....judging people on food stamps and WIC , not really knowing their situation and/or knowing them as people. 

Well now I know what it feels like.  While some days I may be in a hurry, I am much kinder and patient in line than I used to be.  I have empathy for people if they grabbed the "wrong" item....I KNOW what it feels like to turn red in the face and be embarrassed and I NOW give people the 'evil' eye if they start making a fuss in line behind a person using assistance.  I KNOW what it feels like and it doesn't feel good. 

If anything, I hope that if you stumble on my blog, my sincerest hope is that this post opens your eyes that it isn't cool to be rude in line.  And if you're my friend and start feeling exasperated behind someone using WIC, try to imagine that it is me in line in front of this really how you would treat me?


Ann said...

A man in front of me had a whole bunch of WIC checks to pay for groceries. I had no idea that they were written so specifically for items before then. The checker told me that ALL newborns get those checks. My son & his wife have a 2 1/2 yr old and don't think they were offered these checks. I am sorry that you got "the looks". Tigger and you deserve better. Will she get WIC forever?

Ticia said...

Interesting. I think the rules might be different here in Texas, because I don't think my friends who are fostering are getting the WIC once they've adopted.

DannieA said...

WIC is a "first 5" until age 5 :), what's interesting is that in her case it's not due to my income....but yes WIC is for Women, Infants, Children...hence the acronym and yes it's very cannot stray from what is written on the check and it's all healthy food as it's promoting healthy habits.

DannieA said...

T-it has to do with the medicaid/medical card...if they adopt and their child receives medicaid...I believe that is the only thing they look at...if there isn't medicaid then yes it goes by income. It's very weird and the foster/adopt is full of very interesting paperwork and twists and turns, but yes in short, every state is different with how they provide for foster kids once adopted...I learned that in my foster/adoption online groups

Lynn Woes said...

So sorry you had to deal with the judgment that can come from utilizing WIC. Please don't let that stop you from getting WIC if it is helping you take better care of your little one! So many people assume WIC is only for the absolute poorest of people who are out to suck the world dry. In reality 40% of America's babies are on WIC. I knew another mother whose baby was on WIC because she foster adopted him. I'm on WIC even though I work part time and my husband works full time, we still qualify. People are just rude. Probably the same people who give you the judgmental glances have utilized first time homebuyers credit, or cashed their stimulus check from the government and didn't think twice about taking money from the government that they didn't absolutely NEED. But if someone else is taking it all the sudden its not fair. In reality if the government offers you a break you TAKE IT! All the rich people know this, that's why they pay someone well trained to do their taxes and get them every break they can!

Unknown said...

WIC is a very humbling experience. We had it for our two youngest for awhile. My husband would try to go late at night when the lines were smaller (or nonexistent) so he wouldn't hold anyone up and we would always group the items together to match each check to make things more efficient. But, yes, humble pie indeed. And I am so much more sympathetic to others now than I ever was before.