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No Humans Involved.

(Potential vague spoilers for Jorja's situation)

There are 518,000 children in the foster care system in America.  4 of them have been mine, at least for a little while.

Of all the episodes of CSI that I have watched over the years, none of them have affected me as deeply as No Humans Involved.  As I watched Sara throughout this episode, my heart began to ache.  Foster care was something I had never really been exposed to, and I found I could not stop thinking about these kids with no one they could depend on, no one to love them just floating from home to home, never finding the place where they could truly be home.  Discovering Sara had been a foster child made me even more curious.

It was with some surprise that I discovered I wanted to be a foster parent.  Somewhat selfishly I had always thought I could never love a child that was not mine as much as one I gave birth to.  It's no secret that foster kids have bad reputations for being problem children--almost every person I talked to about foster care reminded me of this.  Often times they don't know love, and subsequently don't know how to love.  Many of my friends questioned my sanity, but when I told my partner what I was thinking, she said "Where do we sign up?"  That was the only vote of confidence I needed.

About a year later, we had moved to Oregon (from California) and bought our first house.  Right after we moved in, we took all the necessary classes and received our certification.  The ink was barely dry on our certificate when two little boys turned up on my door step late on a Friday night.  Reeking of cigarette smoke, they had no shoes, and a tiny bag of clothes that didn't even come close to fitting them.  At ages two and four, they had no idea what had happened to them or why they were suddenly stuck with me.  Looking at them standing there, I had no idea how much I would come to love these little boys, or how much my heart would break a year later when their mother successfully completed treatment and they were reunified with her.  (This, however, is the outcome that is desirable, especially for kids who are bonded with their bio parent.)

Hearts do heal, though not as quickly as they fall in love.  When I tell people I am a foster parent, they often say "I couldn't do that.  I could never give them back."  But the first thing I learned from these boys is that it wasn't about me.  In the year that we had him, my 4 year old never said I love you, in fact he regularly told me "I don't love you."  But that couldn't stop me from loving him; I learned to love without expectation or conditions.  It is the hardest thing that I have ever done in my entire life.  And the most amazing.  I will never forget the first time he let down his guard and gave me a real hug. 

Those of you who know me, and my work, know how much I love Sara.  I don't think that I could write her (or even Grissom) with half of the love I do without the things I have learned from my foster children.   Like many of you, I am deeply saddened by the recent reports that Jorja is no longer going to be a part of CSI.  Her intimate, moving and real portrayal of Sara has given me a great gift, one that has brought immeasurable joy to me and to my family and for that I am grateful.

While not quite as life altering, Sara was also the character that brought me to writing.  I found her character endlessly fascinating, and after reading story after story, I found myself unable to resist writing my own. Now writing is such an integral part of my life, I can't imagine a day without it.  Nor can I imagine my life without the many friends I have made in this fandom.  I have never known kindness like I have found among my fellow writers.  Many miles separate us, and in some cases even oceans, but I feel as if we live on the same block, and I would not be surprised in the least to open my front door and find any one of you standing there.

I cannot even begin to imagine CSI without Sara.  Just as I could not imagine my life without the gifts this show has brought to me.  I suppose it's somewhat odd to be this invested into a tv show, but when I look back over the years, it has become much more than that to me.  CSI has had a hand in bringing me my children, my friends, and my love for writing.  Over the past two days, these things have been running through my head on a constant loop, and I just needed to set them free.  To lose Sara, to me, is like losing a friend.

For right now, I can't give up on the hope that this is some lame media game that CBS is playing, but if you have not already done so (and I am guessing you have) please go over to YTDAW and participate in the Dollar Campaign to let TPTB know what both Jorja and Sara mean to all of us.

*As an aside, and because I didn't mention it above (this is my OCD talking), after our first two foster sons were reunited with their mom in April, a 3 1/2 month old baby boy came to us via police escort in May.  We are hopeful (I know this is somewhat wrong, but I can't help myself!) he will come up for adoption sometime next year.  In September, our 4th child, a three year old boy arrived, bringing a whole new set of challenges.  We expect him to go home to his mom, dad, brothers and sisters by the end of the year.

If you made it though all this, you probably deserve an award! 


( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 30th, 2007 02:07 am (UTC)
I made it through all of it -- and the reward is that I just got to know you a little better. Your story is deeply touching and I find a kinship with your reaction to No Humans Involved.

That episode remains, to this day, the most difficult one for me to watch. I end up in tears before I'm halfway through it, and by the end I'm an emotional wreck. But I can tell you that it just deepens my desire to become a foster mother and to do things as best I can to show love to someone who needs it -- even if s/he never gives it back. That's ok; like you said, the love is there whether they can recognize it or not, and as long as you're working from love it balances.

I've already sent off a lot of mail; whether or not this turns out to be some sick CBS publicity thing or not, I feel like it's something I need to do to show my appreciation for my favorite character on TV. Most writers wouldn't know how to write a character with that much depth if their lives depended on it; it pains me to think of that ending.

I'm rambling in your journal now, so I'll be quiet. Just know that I read every word and it touched me deeply; and if you ever find yourself in my neck of the woods, my door is always open. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for all of you. :-)
Sep. 30th, 2007 04:44 pm (UTC)
I feel the same way you do. Even if this is a publicity game, I am getting a chance to say thank you for a lot of things that I would not have if it wasn't for Sara, Jorja, and CSI. It is so unbelievable what posting my first story brought me--a life I never imagined.

Your posts regularly inspire me. I wish I posted more often, because I always have these things in my head, but finding the time is really hard right now with the baby. He really has my number and wants to be held all the time. He is getting ready to walk though, so I figure I will enjoy cuddling him as long as he lets me. :-)

I remember back when Em said she had a friend who needed a beta. She said you were a really wonderful person. That was an understatement. Oh, and I almost forgot. Thank you so much for reccing Her Shadowed Path on YTDAW...to get a rec from you means a lot to me. It's like it validates my crazy perfectionism when I am writing...know what I mean? I guess it just makes the work worth it. Okay...now I am the one rambling...
Sep. 30th, 2007 10:46 am (UTC)
Oh, at first I need to say, I´ll cross my fingers as hard as possible that PJ can stay with you and you can "make" him your son (which he already is :D)! I´m not a religious person but I do believe in destiny and probably in a higher power who maybe guides us (that´s why your last story moved me that much). And I´ll send every possible prayer that PJ´s destiny is finally in your hands!

I´ve already told you how deeply I´m impressed by you. Your selflessness and generousity is remarkable and even your Partner is admirable too, because of how easily she got in this idea of being foster parents. Since I got to know you I´ve always admired your humility and self-abondonment. It´s not easy to give all of yourself to others. If there were more people like you around the world would be much better. Believe me!
I can´t do much from "the other side of the world" but I can give you my supports and energy, when ever you need it as long as we stay in contact. We think a lot of you and you familiy.
Maybe I´ll be the one , who will stand at your front door :D

I can´t imagine CSI without Sara too! It really sucks and it makes me feel really sick. I´m so afraid that all the good things which came along with this show will devastated eventually.
I´ve already prepared a letter with some EURO (and alot of prayers)!
You should send this letter to CBS or Jorja herself because it´s so impressive and moving they couldn´t ignore it.

Daphne, you can´t imagine how much I love you! Just for being the person you are and the fantastic work you do. Maybe there will be the chance, some day in the future to meet in person and I can give you all the hugs (and kisses to PJ ;-) ) you deserve.

Hugs and love, Heike
Sep. 30th, 2007 04:50 pm (UTC)
You already do so much for me. Every time I look at Patrick's pictures that he drew for PJ, I feel so much love. I know you are oceans away, but sometimes it doesn't feel that way. I always think of you guy when I burn the butterfly candle that you sent as well...I burned it during the premiere to give Sara good luck in surviving! :-)

I have my flyers all ready to go out tomorrow, though I had to send Kelly out to get a bunch of dollars for me. I am thinking of including the post at your suggestion, though I might edit it a bit. If you have any suggestions on making it better, let me know.

And don't be surprised if you find me at your front door someday! It might happen. :-)
Sep. 30th, 2007 05:16 pm (UTC)
Oh, what a wonderful idea to burn the candle! And see it helped:D I feel flattered!
The premiere was so fantastic although I had to wait a day longer before I can watch it. At least I watched it three times now and I always discover new details! I was very much impressed by JF´s acting and also her courage doing those shots. The monolog in the backseat is excellent!

I think, you needn´t to edit a lot. You can notice that it is written very spontaneous and open-hearted. In my opinion, that´s the reason why it is so moving and believable. I think, it is as good as is already written.
Maybe you can leave out the passage about the "media game" and the "Dollar campaign". But this is the only suggestion I have.
I so hope, the campaign will be sucessful!

You´re always welcome! My home is your home! :D

Love, Heike
Sep. 30th, 2007 02:03 pm (UTC)
I definitely think that you should send this letter to Jorja and TPTB.

You've definitely been blessed in so many ways and have blessed others with your presence and to think that is has a lot to do with a tv show is pretty incredible. I for one will always be thankful for having met you and others that I hold dear. Nothing can ever change that...

You're in my heart, in my thoughts, in my prayers. And you're my dreams too.:)
Sep. 30th, 2007 03:30 pm (UTC)
You think I should send it? As is? Would you make any changes? I didn't have it beta'd. ;-)

Ever since that stupid Ausiello thing hit the internet, my heart has been heavy with all of this stuff. I know that I owe so much to Sara and Jorja...without "them" I never would have met you!
Sep. 30th, 2007 04:48 pm (UTC)
You don't have to beta what comes straight from the heart.;)

Don't let it bring you down honey, I know it sucks big HUGE floppy donkey dicks but I just keep thinking of the positive. Sara is alive. Gsr is alive. There's going to be backstory. Jorja is well and I'm sure she'll entertain us for years to come whether i'd be another tv show, movies or theater. And most of all your life is full and blessed and so is mine and you being my friend is way up there in my list of blessings.

Sometimes it saddens me to think that I may never meet you in real life but not knowing you at all would be worst so again I'll be positive and just be thankful to know you.

Je t'aime xox
Sep. 30th, 2007 04:56 pm (UTC)
Can I just say that I find it amazing that this whole thing with Jorja has inspired a giant lovefest...at least on my journal it has. As I was replying to Heike and Ali, I suddenly realized that I have you to thank for bringing both of them into my life!

I guess it's funny what makes you count your blessings...yesterday it was taping $1 bills to flyers...who knows what it will be tomorrow. Thank you for being in my life...and don't worry about meeting me face to face...we have a lot of time to make that happen!
Sep. 30th, 2007 05:59 pm (UTC)
I guess I did introduce you to Ali and Heike.:) And now we're all friends and love each other, awww!;D
Oct. 1st, 2007 02:03 pm (UTC)
This is beautiful. May I link to it?
Oct. 1st, 2007 02:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :-)

Link away.
Oct. 1st, 2007 05:54 pm (UTC)
I shall! Thanks.
Oct. 1st, 2007 06:23 pm (UTC)
I just friended you...I had no idea I hadn't! I really appreciate all your comments on my fics...you always seem to send one when I need a pick me up!
Oct. 2nd, 2007 12:39 pm (UTC)
Heh, you're welcome...thanks for such great stories! I'm terribly behind on reviewing, but I try to get to them eventually.
Oct. 1st, 2007 08:30 pm (UTC)
Beautiful story. Thanks again for organizing the flyover. It should be a sight to see. Take care!
Oct. 1st, 2007 08:44 pm (UTC)
Hey Daphne, I just read your entry and you brought me to tears. What an amzing story and what an amazing women you are. It is an wonderful journey to bring up a child and it is one that as birth parents you take for granted, one you assume is yours from beginning to end. I cannot imagine the strength and compassion you must have to be able to, I guess, have a child parachute in to your world, to love and care for them and then have to give them back. I just lay in bed with my 5 year old until she fell asleep in my arms and I thought of your story and it took all my efforts not too sob uncontrollably on her little head. There can be nothing more selfless than giving that warmth up so unconditionally. The funny thing is I read a fanfic a while back where Sara was a foster parent and I thought then that is so "in character", now to read how she inspired you rings so true. I really hope that things work out with PJ and that you are able to continue giving all that love where it is needed.

Much love, Ali (AlisonEngland)

PS- I guess the hearts on the banner are not all for Jorja, one is definitely for you.
Oct. 1st, 2007 09:21 pm (UTC)
Re: Words
Hi Daphne,
you are such a wonderful person, you know that? Your personal story is one that brought me to tears. Fostering is something that my husband and I have talked about before and now that my children are getting older, I feel I have so much more I could give to another child who doesn't have a happy and healthy life like my kids have.
We all have our own special reasons for loving Sara/Jorja so much. I remember sitting down with my husband watching 'nesting dolls' and afterwards I just couldn't stop crying. He hadn't known about the mental and physical abuse I'd recieved for years from an ex partner. I sat down that night and told him everything from the times when my head was used as a battering ram to the frequent times I was raped. I didn't realise I was on a downward spiral until I became involved in the CSI fandom. I too found courage from Sara, she gave me the strength to keep fighting. I've met some truely wonderful people through the fandom who I love with all my heart.
What you are doing with the banner is truely amazing, and so are you. I know we've never met and I don't have time to review as often as I'd like to, but I feel so close to many of the other authors, as well as you because in the end it's love that brought us all together. Love for Jorja, love for Sara and love for CSI.
Thank you
with love
Amanda (Amanda Hawthorn)
Oct. 1st, 2007 10:47 pm (UTC)
You are a beautiful person. I'm speechless. I have tears in my eyes. I wish I could meet you in person, just so I could give you a strong, heartfelt hug.
I knew people learned things from characters and from tv shows. I know I learned a lot from one specific character, Sara Sidle. But never in a million years did I think it was possible for someone to make such a decision, to open their home and their hearts to foster children, all because once they saw a little of the life a character (in this case Sara Sidle) had while growing up.
Your story just made me love Sara Sidle and Jorja Fox even more. I never thought that would be possible.
And even though I have never met you, I love you with all my heart for what you're doing for foster children. I hope that one day, when I'm older (I'm 19 now), I have the courage to do something as wonderful as what you're doing right now.
I hope you and your family live happily ever after.
Oct. 2nd, 2007 12:09 am (UTC)
Okay ... that was a long read. But it helps one to understand any individual. I can't honestly say that I could ever do what you have done - but there are times when I think of what I could do to improve life for others. This, what you have done, is something beyond what written words could describe. You've taken another person into your life and loved them unconditionally. I wish you the best in your continued success as a foster parent.

Also thanks for everything else.

Oct. 2nd, 2007 12:43 am (UTC)
How could I not make it thorugh your post.
I think you are amazing in a whole lot of ways. Not everyone could do something like that, take care of children that are not your own? Children you don't know where they are coming from or who they are is just amazing.
It's also amazing how a show like CSI and Sara Sidle have inspired you with so little into making something really big, and I'm sure the writters/producer maybe have no idea that with the show they inspire anwesome people to do awesome things.
I don't know you but I'm proud of you for doing this.

I have to be honest, when I read about the flyover campaign I though it was a cool idea but a little too much, but after reading this I totally understand it now and support the idea 100% and I know how important is for you to keep JF/Sara on CSI.
It is important to me as well because I can really see myself in her (except for the foster kid part), but your story moved me.
You are amazing girl (=

I'm sorry about the typos and grammar, english is not my first language :s
Oct. 2nd, 2007 01:10 am (UTC)
Wow, that was simply mind blowing. Thank you for sharing that with all of us!

That episode also touched me. My mom and her five siblings were all in foster care and not all of them ended up in homes like yours. Up until the episode aired, I'd never really thought about what my Mom being in foster care meant. She never talks about it, but MY life would have been better if she had ended up in a home like yours.

Oct. 2nd, 2007 07:20 pm (UTC)
I have always known you were an amazing writer and now, I see, you are an amazing person. Thank you for sharing your story. Peace to you and yours.
Oct. 7th, 2007 08:25 pm (UTC)
Hi Daphne,

I worked in children's services for 11 years-in a family preservation, and a family reunification project. My agency also had a therapeutic foster home program, and a program for medically needy and HIV positive kids. I can't say enough about the wonderful things our foster parents did for our kids.

The character of Sara moved me because she showed the alternative to all the stereotypes you mentioned about foster kids. Some times foster kids grow up okay. They don't get perfect lives, usually, but who does? But they can overcome the deficiencies of their childhoods. They have to struggle, like Sara, but don't we all?

Sara is real, and layered, and strong-and watching her makes foster kids, and former foster kids real. And not just a story or stereotype.

I so love that character.
Oct. 11th, 2007 03:30 am (UTC)
That is a moving post Daphne. You made me cry. I have definitely been involved in the campaign. I think Jorja and her character are just absolutely wonderful. It wouldn't be CSI without Sara. I think it's great you do foster care, my parents used to do it as well but we have had some not so great experiences with DHS and been through a lot. Now I think my parents are only doing emergency foster care. But anyway, we did end up adopting one of the girls we have had as foster kids. From one Jorja fan to another,
Oct. 16th, 2007 02:00 pm (UTC)
Wow. Okay, I've been in tears almost everyday since this whole debacle started, but now I'm seriously bawling. I have been in awe of you ever since this whole campaign started, so when I saw the link in your post, I knew I had to read it. I have many friends that are foster parents, and to me, you're all angels!

This is such an amazing story, and it makes Jorja/Sara's departure that much more heartbreaking. I can't believe this is happening, and I don't know how I'll ever be able to enjoy the show again like I have for the past 7+ years. Jorja has been my ultimate idol ever since her role on ER, so I get VERY attached to her characters, but especially Sara. And the Sara/Grissom romance made me adore her even more.

But to hear how she changed YOUR life has me even MORE saddened about this whole thing. You and your partner are both absolutely AMAZING. We need more people like you in this world. I feel like I actually KNOW you now....I'm not just your drooling fanfic-fangirl anymore!! LOL I have such a new and huge respect and admiration for you. I wish you the very best with your children and I hope that everything works out with you and the baby.

Just know....you're AMAZING! And Sara is amazing, which makes Jorja amazing for portraying her in this way that could compell someone to be a foster parent. This whole story has just given me goosebumps.

I'm off to go cry (for the thousandth time this week) again now.

Jan. 31st, 2008 04:43 pm (UTC)
I'm a foster parent. All of my children are adopted. First, we got our oldest son at six years of age. We'd had him a year when we were asked to foster an eleven year old. We had her for eight beautiful months. You would understand the challenges of a child who has never had consistent commitment made having trouble adapting to junior high.

My oldest son spent half his young life in foster care before we got him. We went into this process wanting to adopt. When we decided to foster, it was because we could see so much potential. We fell in love with our foster daughter.

This last summer, we re-registered as adoptive parents and have been blessed with a sibling group of three. Today, we are being given the gift of adoption. As of later today, they will be officially our children, and we are so very very happy, as are the kids.

To provide stability and consistency in our kids' lives, we've decided not to foster for awhile. It took our oldest son over a year to really start seeing that we will always be there for him. Perhaps in a few years, when the kids know in the deepest part of their hearts that they have a home, we will look into fostering again. In the meanwhile, my oldest daughter watches CSI with me, and I feel proud that there is a character that shows strength and compassion that represents kids like her.

Thank you for sharing your experiences.
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )