Second Hand Kids? April 26, 2011

Dear Michigan Senator Bruce Caswell,

Second-hand clothes? Is that the best you can offer? If you’re going to insult kids who’ve been removed from their family of origin, insult us! Call us names. Tell us our hair looks like a rat nest and we look like something the cat dragged in. Threaten to beat us to a pulp. Leave us alone for days at a time. Scare us with your driving. Tell us we have to be perfect or no one will love us. But just making us wear second-hand clothes is a really lame attempt at abuse. We can handle it. Make us wear a giant F on our chest for “FOSTER”. Or maybe a U for “UNWANTED”.

How much do you spend on your own clothes in a year? Do the other senators laugh at you because you’re wearing your teenage brother’s ugly gym socks? They laughed at me when I was in 4th grade for just that reason. Do you ever have to wear the same shirt three days in a row because there’s no laundry detergent at home? Did you sign up for 6th grade orchestra but decide to quit because you don’t have a solid black skirt, a solid white blouse and a solid black shoes? I know two kids who did.

Here’s a hint, Sir. If the state is only giving families $79 a year to spend on clothing for a foster child, you probably don’t need to worry that the parents are being too extravagant. In fact, if they can afford it, they’re probably supplementing the clothing allowance, especially if the child is still growing.

Senator, what we need in our lives is a champion.  We need someone who thinks we’re the best, who tells us we’re pretty, who helps us find that solid black skirt so we can stay in orchestra and attend performances. We need adults who treat us better than our parents did. We don’t need you and we don’t need second-hand bras.

Go to the thrift store, Senator. Buy a second hand set of clothes, including underwear and shoes. And let us all watch as the other senators laugh at how nothing fits right, the tie is too wide or too narrow or too stained, and your socks don’t match.  We are not even going to talk about the prospect of a 12-year-old buying a used training bra at Salvation Army.


Cassie and Many Other First Class Kids

Sharonlee April 26th, 2011

Cassie, I am sorry you had to experience what you did but I am so proud that you have found your voice and are willing to speak out on such issues.

Pellora April 26th, 2011

Hello Cassie!
Well said. So much heart in your response to such a callous disregard of people who are less fortunate. There are so many elected officials who have absolutely no clue of what compassion is and what would constitute helpful assistance. So many can benefit from reading and contemplating your message.

I think of you often – and check here often enough. Many Blessings.

Gnome de Plume April 26th, 2011

Please do mail this to that bozo. Or better yet, mail it to the newspaper in his hometown. Foster kids need your voice.

TimFromLA April 26th, 2011

Yes, send it Cassie as I sent a letter to him. I you sent it…oops. This is what I wrote:

Luke 18:16
King James Bible

But Jesus called them [unto him], and said, Suffer little
children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such
is the kingdom of God.

Senator Caswell,

You received an e-mail by a young woman named Cassie. Currently she’s attending college, yet she is not of a privileged family but one who suffered hardship. Yes, she even had to get on the government role in order to remain amongst the living. She wrote a letter to you and it inspired me to write to you. Yes, I am NOT in your district. I am not in your state either, but your disregard for the lives of children is appalling. The support from First Cutlerville Christian Reformed Church is evident that you are a man of God, but your disregard to the children, by ordering them to buy from thrift stores is opposite to that of Christ’s teaching. Did not Christ say in Luke 18:16

But Jesus called them [unto him], and said, Suffer little
children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such
is the kingdom of God.

Your uncaring agenda seems polar opposite to that of First Cutlerville Christian Reformed Church, for which your colleagues introduced to the members of the state capitol:

. Maybe it’s a ploy to get more Christian voters. Maybe it’s a facade. Or maybe like you, the church, First Cutlerville Christian Reformed Church is merely a front for the Republican party. Either way, Pastors Ken and Dan as well as the church secretary is receiving this e-mail as are liberal, progressive and atheists organization.

If this is the way of the Christians, then expect hatred for a religion who have little or no regards for humans, once outside the womb. As a wise Indian said: I like your Christ. I do not like your Christian.

Tim From L.A.

royeh April 26th, 2011

Thanks for this, Cassie.

Just heard of this on Mike’s radio show.

I can some what relate, having grown up in a children’s home.

Went there in 1947, & spent 15yrs 6mos 3days. Near 50yrs later, still feel the effect.

Bless You.

peace royeh

mydogkona April 26th, 2011

Keep calling them out, Cassie! Maybe soon the shame will finally bring them to change. Longshots do come in sometimes

Charles Cramer April 26th, 2011

Hi Cassie! I heard Mike Malloy read this on the air tonight (KPOJ in Portlad, Oregon). I just had to drop you a note if only to say HOORAY FOR YOU!

Work hard! Get smart!

Deborah April 27th, 2011

Cassie, I heard Mike Malloy read this on air tonight. What a talent you have (and what a story, too!) I never knew the whole story, but tonight Mike explained much of it.

My sister is a therapeutic foster mom and I want to forward this to her. She’ll relate to it. Two out of the four of us siblings are adopted as well. I’m going to share this on Facebook!!!!! Senator Bruce Caswell… Well, i agree with Mike M. when he asked, “What happened to these people (people like Caswell) to make them turn out this way?” See you on FB.

Smart young people with heart will save the world. Keep strong and keep writing. :)

Ali April 27th, 2011

You are right Cassie. Shame on the people for making others suffer.
BTW, great job, keep up the good work.

suzanne April 27th, 2011

no child should ever think they are only worth used hand me downs. tis chid abuse — that’s what this proposed law is — child abuse.

msmolly April 27th, 2011

Wonderful letter. Please send it to this heartless bastard.

Porter Hedge April 27th, 2011

Thanks Cassie. Just made me so angry when Mike read this on air. Very well presented, very “punchy”. Way to damn go, Cassie!

Debbi April 27th, 2011

Hi Cassie,

Long time, no comment … :)

I’m so pleased to see you’ve gone on to college. And upgraded to a new blog. But you haven’t lost one bit of your edge. Keep on telling it like it is. :)

I’ve achieved a thing or two since the last time I left a comment on your blog. Those achievements are chronicled here:

Including having my first novel end up here:

Just sayin’. I was poor once. I used to live in project in Queens, NY. My childhood wasn’t fun. But these things made me stronger and more determined. I sense you are also determined, as well.

In short, never give up on your dreams. Ever.

Aussie Progressive April 27th, 2011

Heard about this on the Mike Malloy Show.

Shame on the Senator and the miserable mindset he’s coming from.

bedtimeforbonzo April 28th, 2011

Hi Cassie,

I just heard Bob Kincaid mentioned this on the HORN. I add my voice to those encouraging you to send this to Sen. Dick Wad, or whatever its name is.

I was lucky as a child to have a father who was a very good breadwinner. That he was verbally abusive and a GOP politician is another story for another time.

I got so disgusted with the US back in Reagan’s day that I just left, having met a Swedish woman who took a shine to me. And said, lucky.

Anyways, here in Sweden, Social Democratic policies — still honored by even the more conservative parties — set up a system where the most disadvantaged families get a pretty generous child support for all of the reasons you mention. The Social Democrats once-upon-a-time all came from a situation bordering on poverty while the rich had it all. So that while we have our share of social problems, they are not as bad as the ones in the US. The philosophy here, which I not only sign on to — I have become a Swede, a proud one that — is that a child should not be punished for the parent’s inability to pay. This includes healthcare, education, housing quality (people can and do qualify for living expenses) and so forth.

I am glad that you personally have the fortitude to persevere while remembering where you’re from. You make we liberals proud! But there are so many who have fallen by the wayside in America, their resolve eroded by the constant hurdles of a “blame the poor” mentality. I think it is easier here, because children don’t have it rubbed in the face to the same extent, although we all know how adolescents are, any perceived weakness is like chum in the water.

It’s a battle everywhere, and I’m glad to have you on our side. You keep calling them like you see them over there and I’ll do the same here! Onwards!

El pueblo, unito, jamás será vencido!


A secret old-fart (plutonic) admirer!

PS: My daughter is a freshman too, and has a heart like yours, she gives a damn about others too. What more could a father hope for?

gordon May 5th, 2011

heard it on mike’s program also.
We are a wealthy enough country that all our kids should be able to have at least a few nice clothes. Nice response to the politician. I’m sure his pay allows him to buy nice things for his own kids.

darian May 9th, 2011

Nice response to the politician