SBCC Foster and Kinship Care hosts first ‘Movie Matters’ event

SEYCHELLES MIZEL, Channels Staff

The Foster and Kinship Care Program at City College hosted the first of its “Movie Matters” series on Saturday, Sept. 23, to educate the community on adoption and the foster care system.

Program Director Judy Osterhage opened up the night with the HBO Special film, “More Than a Thread of Hope.” The movie features 24-year-old author and neo-natal nurse, Beth Thomas. She gives the audience a lesson on fostering children based on her personal experiences and knowledge.

“These kids that come from the gates of hell…they can make it,” Thomas said in the film. “But what happened to our children before they became our children?”

Thomas explained her past Attachment Disorder. Thomas described it as the inability to give and receive affection.

In the film, Thomas broke down the mindset of a child in the system that is dealing with Attachment Disorder. She used her story as a building block for the audience to learn from.

“Most kids in the Foster Care system do have attachment issues,” Osterhage said.

Osterhage teaches foster parents everything they need to know in her classroom at City College. At the event, she gave examples of foster kids who she has witnessed that showed signs of a lack of development because of the trauma they have faced.

Osterhage talked about a 3-year-old foster girl casually placing her hand on a cactus with no idea of the its painful effect. There were also stories about children who suffer from starvation.

“They gorge, they hoard,” Osterhage said. “It’s a security that comes from a place of trauma.”

The film ended after two hours, and a 30-minute discussion wrapped up the night.

“You don’t know actually how extreme this is if you grow up like this,” a discussion member said. “If you see this everyday you think it’s normal and they continue this behavior. But if you see and hear that this is actually not alright and this is not okay, you realize what actually happened. So this is an eye-opener.”

Arthur Olguin, a psychology professor at city college, mentioned some facts he knew on the separation within the system.

“There’s a number of articles about separating kids from the mothers that are in jail or prison,” said Olguin. “From the infants that they’ve just delivered and they’re separating them.”

Osterhage talked about her experience as being a resource for these parents.

“I get a lot of calls to my office of people saying ‘my kid does this and that and everyone thinks I’m crazy.’” said Osterhage. “And I say, you know what..you’re not crazy.

“You may have a child with attachment issues and I can’t tell you how many people just burst out in tears.”

Judy Osterhage explained how nice it was to see that the audience of the discussion now has a better idea of the foster care system and what happens within. The series is going to continue with four more movies to be shown on campus as well as a Foster Parents Panel Oct. 6, at the Santa Barbara Church.