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Family

Younger generations are torn over inheriting boomer heirlooms. Here are 4 helpful tips.

The generational divide on this front is a big one, but there are better and worse ways to navigate it.

antique sewing table and radio

There are kind and gentle ways to handle hand-me-downs.


As the baby boomer generation reaches their "golden years," many of them are starting to think about what to do with their earthly possessions, much to the chagrin of some of their Gen X, millennial and Gen Z descendants.

How many of us really want to take over our grandma's collection of dolls or plates when we have no interest in collecting ourselves? How many people have homes filled with furniture we actually like, only to be offered antiques and heirlooms that we have neither the desire nor room for? What about china sets, artwork and other things our elders have loved that they want to see passed down in the family that no one in the family really wants?


It's a delicate road to navigate, as a post on X illustrated. Jodi-Ann Quarrie shared a screenshot of a story a man shared about his wife fighting with his mother-in-law about the china sets she wanted her children to have. She had four adult children and four sets of china for them to divvy amongst themselves, but all four kids refused. An argument ensued about how none of the china had ever been used, even on special occasions, and culminated in the wife telling the mother-in-law that she was going to use the plates as frisbees after she dies.

People's reactions to the story were mixed. Some pointed out that there's no reason for someone to say something so cruel to a family member (or anyone, for that matter). Others felt that the mother-in-law was being unreasonable by not accepting no for an answer.

Extreme as the story may have been, there is a clear generational divide between the post-Depression era folks who think passing down heirlooms is generous and the generations that are accustomed to replacing things every few years because of planned obsolescence. There is also a divide between people who attach their life story to their belongings to the point that if their things aren't valued then neither are they, and people who don't tie memories or sentimentality to material things at all.

How do we bridge these divides? Each family dynamic and situation is different, of course, but here are four principles to keep in mind if you're on the receiving end of an heirloom offer you don't really want.

1) Don't diminish the value—either monetary or sentimental—of what an elder is offering.

These things may mean nothing to you, but they obviously mean something to the person who wants you to have. There's no need to hurt their feelings by being brazen about how their outdated furniture isn't really worth anything anymore or to point out that you have no emotional attachment to it. That all might be true, but is it necessary to share that with someone who is nearing the end of their life and feeling sentimental? No. It doesn't meant you have to take it, either, but a little empathy, even if it's not how you would feel about your own belongings, goes a long way.

2) If they're trying to give you something now and you really don't want it or have room for it, offer alternatives.

It's perfectly reasonable to tell a loved one that on a practical level you simply don't have the space for something. What the person usually wants is to know that a piece of them is going to be carried on as a physical memory and proof of their existence, so offer them a way to do that in a way that works for you.

Try something like this: "I would love to have something of yours that is meaningful that we can pass down, but we already have all the furniture we are able to manage—is there something like a piece of jewelry or a photo album or something else that we could pick out together as an heirloom for our side of the family?"

3) Be kind about their wishes while they're still here.

It's not easy getting older, and people's feelings about their life and death are worthy of consideration and compassion. If it brings an older person joy to see belongings they value being passed down while they're still alive, it might be worth letting them have that joy. Again, they might just want to know that their memory is going to live on.

It's difficult for us to imagine what it's like to be old when we're young, but it's not too hard to understand the desire to be remembered. That desire manifests differently for different people. Kindness can look like taking the items with gratitude and waiting until they pass away to give them away. It can also be gently refusing them for now, telling them it makes you happy to see them enjoying their things, and reassuring them that you'll make sure their items are taken care of when they're no longer here. (Taking care of doesn't mean keeping, but they don't necessarily need to know that detail. Honesty must be balanced with tact and thoughtfulness here.)

4) You are not obligated to hold onto something someone gave you, especially after they are gone. (But also, stay open to the idea that you might want to.)

No one is obligated to hold onto anything they don't really want. You also don't have to tell the person that you're not planning to keep their stuff—let them be at peace about it while they're here. It's perfectly okay to let go of their material things after they're gone. It's highly unlikely that they're going to care at that point.

However, it's also wise to stay open to the idea that you might actually want some of the things a loved one gives you after they pass. We never know how grief and loss are going to impact us, regardless of our relationship with someone, and sometimes people regret getting rid of all of their family members' belongings too quickly. It might be wise to just say yes to some things for now (if you are able to) and then decide what to do with them later.

Again, every situation is different, so these principles may or may not apply perfectly to your own circumstances, but the central message is to be kind and compassionate. We all have a limited amount of time here that shouldn't be wasted fighting over material things.

Sandhya with other members at a home meet-up

South Asian women across the country are finding social support in a thriving Facebook group devoted to them.

The Little Brown Diary has over 40,000 members, primarily between the ages of 20 and 40, and 100 subgroups devoted to niche topics. Some of these include mental health, entrepreneurship, career advice, and more.

Members of the group can discuss their experiences as South Asians, inner conflicts they face, and even bond over their favorite hobbies. The Facebook group has become a safe place for many of its members to find support in the most transformative periods of their lives. These include:

  • Supporting women in domestic violence and sexual assault circumstances
  • Sharing mental health and suicide resources
  • Connecting members to support each other through grief and loss
  • Helping members find the strength to get a divorce or defend their decision to be childfree
  • Helping them navigate career changes
  • Helping to find friends in a new city
  • Finding a community of other neurodivergent people in their shoes

“I joined the online community because I was looking for that sense of belonging and connection with others who shared similar experiences and backgrounds,” expressed Sandhya Simhan, one of the group admins.

“At the time, I was pregnant and eager to find other desi moms who could offer support, advice, and friendship during this significant life transition,” she says.

Another group admin, Henna Wadhwa, who works in Diversity and Inclusion in Washington, D.C., even uses the group to inspire new areas of research, including a study on ethnic-racial identity at work.

“I was surprised and excited for a group that brought together South Asian/brown women. I wanted to meet other women with similar research interests and who wanted to conduct academic research on South Asian American women,” Wadhwa says.


While social media isn’t always the best place to spend our time, studies show that the sense of community people get from joining online groups can be valuable to our mental health.

“The presence of LBD has allowed so many South Asian women to truly feel safe in their identity. The community we have built encourages each person to authentically and freely be themselves. It is a powerful sight to witness these South Asian women be vulnerable, break barriers, and support each other in their journeys,” says Wadhwa.

Hena and Neesha

According to an article in Psychology Today, a study on college students looked at whether social media could serve as a source of social support in times of stress. Turns out, these students were more likely to turn to their social media network rather than parents or mental health professionals for connection. The anonymity of virtual communities was also seen as appealing to those experiencing depression.

“The social support received in the online group promotes a sense of well-being and was associated with positive relationships and personal growth,” the article states.

This is why finding a community of like-minded individuals online can have such a positive impact in your life.

“There are almost half a million women in our target audience (millennial South Asians in North America) and about 10% of them are part of LBD. It’s been a game-changer for our community. LBD is all about embracing your true self and living your most authentic life. It's amazing to see how the members support, relate, learn, and lift each other,” says Wadhwa and Simhan.

Woman shares 'immaculate' new way men hit on women

Relationships are as old as time itself. And nearly all of them have awkward beginnings. For men, there is often the expectation of taking action. You can't go too far without crossing ethical boundaries but if you're not assertive enough, good luck waiting to be swept off your feet. And for women, well, let's not even get started. As simple as love and attraction may appear on the surface, in practice they are anything but.

If it's a man approaching a woman, oftentimes the woman is unsure how the interaction will end should she not be interested. There are all sorts of reasons for apprehension on the woman's part that some men looking to court may not fully understand. But one woman has taken to social media to share her excitement over a "new way of hitting on women," which may help ease concerns. The woman goes by the name Tee Rex on Instagram and eagerly tells viewers from her car about an experience she just had.


"I just got hit on and I hate getting hit on but the way that this person hit on me was immaculate and I want to share because I feel like men are doing a tough, there's a lot of hate going towards men who are literally just trying to find love," the woman says.

She explains that he did "the normal thing" when men hit on women but immediately after asking for her phone number, the man says, "I am safe to reject."

"Just taking the extra steps to make a woman feel safe and respected goes a long way (sadly) so I’m glad you had this experience vs the far too common unsafe experience," one commenter said in response.

"Wow impressive and I would be even more impressed because he’s also demonstrating he has self worth enough not to lose it if he is rejected. Good quality," another woman praises.

"I thought this was going to be another bullsh*t tip… but I’m definitely adding this to my arsenal," one man writes.

Some men took the time to explain the concept to other men who are skeptical.

"Fellas if you haven't heard numbers of stories about how dudes be aggressive and retaliatory when getting rejected, you're living under a rock. A woman was recently murdered for this (not the first). The problem is we take this personally and it might seem ludicrous because some of us ourselves know that we're not like that. That still doesn't dismiss the fact that it happens A LOT to the point women have to plot ways of avoiding it. But this is social media, we gotta be contrary lol," one man explains.

"Crazy the number of dudes who see this as self-deprecating vs a reflection of both his social awareness and self-confidence. And for those who see this as defeatist - is it really a win if she’s only not saying no because she’s AFRAID," another man asks.

While saying the exact phrase, "I am safe to reject" may not be everyone's ideal line, if a man knows he wouldn't pose a risk to women after being rejected, it wouldn't hurt to put that out front.

Several men in the comments shared that they say things like, "It's cool if you say no" or "No pressure to say yes." These small phrases give women who may be feeling afraid from past experiences a sense of relief and the room to give an honest answer.

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Saturday Night Live/Youtube

Pete Davidson on "Saturday Night Live"

Singer Ariana Grande and "Saturday Night Live" cast member Pete Davidson were dating back in May of 2018.

Neither star had confirmed the relationship outright, but their reps weren't pushing back on reports claiming the two had linked up either. The singer and comedian's playful interactions on Instagram certainly suggested to fans the romance was budding.


While many celebrated the news, it inevitably came with a side of backlash too. Some of the criticism, however, crossed an unfortunate line.

Trolls began pointing to Davidson's history of mental illness to suggest he couldn't be in a healthy relationship.

The comedian felt it necessary to shut that down. Fast.

"Normally, I wouldn't comment on something like this cause like, fuck you," Davidson wrote in a note he shared to his Instagram story. "But [I've] been hearing a lot of 'people with BPD [Borderline Personality Disorder] can't be in relationships' talk. I just wanna let you know that's not true."

Davidson said he was diagnosed with BPD in 2016 after having lived through a "nightmare" year that involved rehab and grappling with the ups and downs of diagnosis. The comedian has also spoken openly about living with depression.

"Just because someone has a mental illness does not mean they can't be happy and in a relationship," Davidson wrote. "It also doesn't mean that person makes the relationship toxic."

After noting there are many life-changing treatments available for people like him, Davidson emphasized the importance of combating stigmas associated with mental illness.

"I just think it's fucked up to stigmatize people as crazy and say that they are unable to do stuff that anyone can do," he wrote. "It's not their fault and it's the wrong way for people to look at things."

Davidson has been praised by mental health advocates for using his celebrity to humanize his illnesses — and poking fun at himself along the way.

In one "SNL" segment that aired shortly after he went public with his diagnoses, the comedian spoke candidly about his mental illness with "Weekend Update" host Colin Jost.

"If you're in the cast of a late-night comedy show, it might help if they, you know, do more of your comedy sketches," Davidson joked about ways others can help him get through his dark times. "I was born depressed, but it might make me feel better if I was on TV more."

Like many comedians, Davidson often uses brash and cringeworthy lines as a form of therapy to overcome trauma. His father died on 9/11, for instance, and the comedian's folded the devastating loss into his routine with a comedic spin.

Laughter may not be the best medicine, but it certainly can help.

Davidson ended his message on Instagram clarifying why he decided to speak up in the first place.

"I'm simply writing this because I want everyone out there who has an illness to know that it's not true [that you can't be mentally ill and be in a relationship] and that anyone who says that is ill and full of shit," he wrote. "Mental illness is not a joke; it's a real thing."

"For all those struggling I want you to know that I love you and I understand you and it is going to be OK," Davidson concluded. "That's all. Love to everyone else."


This story originally appeared on 05.25.18

Three woman walking down city streets.

A forensics student named Alex recently shared vital information on TikTok that all women should know. She detailed the specific signs male predators are looking for when they choose a victim.

Her video is based on a 2013 study entitled “Psychopathy and Victim Selection: The Use of Gait as a Cue to Vulnerability.” For the study, researchers interviewed violent criminals in prison and asked them the type of women they’d be most likely to victimize.

The study found that the criminals all agreed that how the woman walked was a deciding factor.


“What the selected women all had in common was the way that they walked and how they generally held themselves in public,” Alex says in the video she later deleted but has been shared broadly across the platform.

@gatita_bunee

How to walk for your safety! #women #safety #tips #walking #kidnapping #murder #attacks #fyp

“The selected women all had a similar ‘awkwardness’ to the way that they walked and carried themselves,” she continued. “The first part of the woman had a gait that was a little bit too small for their body, which resulted in smaller steps, slower speed and their arms more typically to their sides, or crossed, as well as their heads being down and not really taking in their general surroundings, which indicated three different things to these potential attackers.”

The woman’s body language signaled to attackers that she was fearful and anxious and because her head was down, she'd be easier to surprise. Alex then described the second type of woman the criminals said they’d target.

“On the other hand, the other part of the women that were selected had a gait that seemed a bit too big for their body and their arms tended to flail to the sides and seemed just overly awkward,” Alex continued.

The woman with the bigger gait signaled to potential attackers that she may be clumsy and won’t put up a good fight. “Because their arms were out and flailing to the side, it left the lower body open to, again, come around and grab them,” she said.

woman walking, predators, crime

Two women walking down the street.

via Mâide Arslan/Pexels

The video was helpful because Alex also discussed the types of women the attackers wouldn’t pursue. Alex says these women “walked with a gait that tended to be more natural to their body.” She adds they moved at the same pace as those in the immediate area, with their shoulders back and chins up and asserting a general sense of confidence.

“Essentially, the women that were not selected gave off an energy that said, ‘Don’t mess with me. I will put up a good fight.’ And that’s why they weren’t selected,” Alex said. “I know that it sounds silly, but something as simple as the way you walk or the way that you carry yourself in public could determine the likelihood that you become a target of a predator.”

Alex concluded her video by sharing an acronym that can help prevent women from being victimized while in public: STAAR.

S(tride) — Walk with a natural stride to your body and not too far apart or short.

T(all) — Stand tall. Keep your shoulders back and your chin up. Assert a natural confidence and dominance to those around you.

A(rms)—Swing your arms naturally by your sides, avoiding keeping them too close to your body or flailing out of your natural range of motion.

A(wareness) — Stay aware of your surroundings. Take notice if something feels or looks off.

R(elax): Stay cool, calm, and collected and don’t indicate to a potential attacker that you feel or see something is wrong.







Pop Culture

Video shows how Gummy Bears are made in reverse

You’ll never look at a gummy bear the same way again.

Photo by Amit Lahav on Unsplash

Another type go gummy... Gummy Bears.

The first gummy bears were created in the 1920s by Hans Riegel, owner of the Haribo candy company in Bonn, Germany. Since, gummy candies have become popular worldwide and evolved to take the shapes of fish, sour patch kids, frogs, worms, and just about anything a clever candy maker can imagine.

But unlike the popular Disney '80s "Gummi Bears" cartoon, these sweet little guys don't come from a hollow tree in the forest. Sadly, their creation is a bit more terrifying.


In the video below, Belgian filmmaker Alina Kneepkens shows how the colorful snacks you bought at the movie theater actually began as pigskin. Yes, an NFL football and a gummy bear have the same humble beginnings. But if you're a vegan or vegetarian, there's no need to worry; there are candy manufacturers that make gummy bears out of agar and pectin so you can enjoy these fruity delights minus the swine skin.

Now, you know you want to sing along to this tune.

This article originally appeared on 9.3.21

Family

9 things to know about kids in foster care. Plus an unforgettable view into their lives.

Foster care is a nightmare for some kids and their foster parents. For others, it's a blessing.

A clip from "ReMoved Part Two"



Zoe's story, "Removed," has been seen by millions of people.

It was previously shared by my amazing Upworthy colleague Laura Willard. We got just a tiny taste of what it was like for kids in foster care, right after being removed. Specifically, a little girl named Zoe and her little brother Benaiah.

My wife and I, foster parents for the past year, even shared the original with our adoption worker, who passed it along to the entire agency and, then, it took off like wildfire among those people as well.

This is part 2 of that story, and it hits hard.

(Yes, the video's on the long side at about 20 minutes. But it's worth the watch to the end.)

She describes her life as a cycle, interrupted by a tornado. She's a foster child. I don't think I need to say any more.


So ... let's accompany that with 9 uncomfortable — but enlightening — facts below. There are only nine bolded, but within those headers, there are several more facts.

1. There are an estimated 400,000 kids in foster care right now.

Some are awaiting adoption. Some will go back to their parents. Others will age out or, sometimes, run away.

2. Foster kids can suffer from PTSD at almost two times the rate of returning veterans.

And PTSD can mimic a lot of other mental illnesses, and it can manifest as nightmares, flashbacks, fight-or-flee responses, anger outbursts, and hyper-vigilance (being on "red alert" at all times), among other symptoms.

Image via Nathaniel Matanick.


3. The average age of a foster child is 9 years old.

They're just on that edge of childhood, and chances are, it's been a pretty messed up childhood at that. Trauma does that.

4. About half of all foster kids are in non-relative foster homes.

8% are in institutions, 6% are in group homes, and only 4% are in pre-adoptive homes. Read that again — only 4% are in pre-adoptive homes.

5. Some of foster children experience multiple placements. In some cases, eight or more.

That's eight homes that they move into — and out of. And just consider ... that means they lose not just adults and other kids with whom they are establishing a bond, but friends, schoolmates, pets.

Clip via Nathaniel Matanick


6. The average foster child remains in the system for almost two years before being reunited with their biological parents, adopted, aging out, or other outcomes.

8% of them remain in foster care for over five years. Of the 238,000 foster kids who left the system in 2013, about half were reunited with parents or primary caregivers, 21% were adopted, 15% went to live with a relative or other guardian, and 10% were emancipated (aged out).

7. In 2013, more than 23,000 young people aged out of foster care with no permanent family to end up with.

And if you add that up, year after year, hundreds of thousands of foster youth will have aged out of the system. What does that look like? "You're 18. You've got no place to live and no family. Good luck — buh-bye now!" One-quarter of former foster kids experience homelessness within four years of exiting the system.

8. Foster "alumni" (those who have been in foster homes and either adopted, returned to parents, or aged out) are likely to suffer serious mental health consequences.

They are four-five times more likely to be hospitalized for attempting suicide and five-eight times more likely to be hospitalized for serious psychiatric disorders in their teens.

Based on that set of statistics alone, it's in the public's interest (ignoring, for a second, the interests of those kids) to help them through their lot in life and spend resources making it all work much better for everybody before it gets to that point. Right?

So there's a lot to be angry about in this whole messed up situation. But this next thing? My blood boils.

What's one of the biggest risk factors in families whose children are placed in foster care?

Your guess?

Cruelty?

Drugs?

Sexual abuse?

Neglect?

The answer is ...

9. Poverty

Together with homelessness and unemployment, it's a main contributing factor. It happens all the time. The fact that it's far easier for a parent to be accused and investigated for neglect or abuse because of simple things like lack of access to a vehicle, or a working refrigerator, or the ability to get a kid to a doctor's appointment — that has a lot to do with this. Tie that to the link between drug abuse and poverty and between poverty and child abuse ... well, you can see where this is going.

And in a country where one-third of children are living in poverty (hint: the good ol' U.S. of A.), imagine how that affects the number of kids being removed and placed into foster care.

I'll end this with a bit of hope through my story.

My kids went through something a lot like the kids in the clip above before they came to live with us. We've been through the ringer in ways that we're going to have to talk about one day because it's not just that the kids have been challenging — they have — it's that the system itself has been more challenging.

The entire system — from agencies to government entities to social workers to even the schools — seems like it's designed to fail these kids and the families who are attempting to help. It's almost designed not to work. There, I said it.

But that doesn't mean we won't fight to make it better for everybody. We most definitely will.

Image from a photo by my wife, Robin.

As for us, we're just a few weeks away from becoming the legal parents to these kids, and we're extremely happy to be right here, making it happen. And they seem quite happy to be our kids. Along the way, we fell in love with them, and we can't imagine life without them.

But to be totally honest ... if we'd have known how hard it was going to be when we started this journey, and if we could somehow turn back the clock and NOT do it ... well, would we have actually gone forward with the process?

I take that back. I won't be totally honest here. I will simply let you decide.

Here are some places to help, if you're so inclined.

        • AdoptUsKids.org is a place to start if you're considering fostering or adopting.
        • My Stuff Bags is a really cool and inexpensive way to help foster kids by gifting them actual luggage, duffel bags, and more, so that they don't travel from home to home with garbage bags for their belongings — or nothing at all.
        • CASA for Children offers legal help and advocates for foster kids through a network of volunteers.

        This story was written by Brandon Weber and originally appeared on 07.17.15