An episode of a hit network show masterfully tells the story of foster care.

I do not usually watch network TV.

But one evening as I was working on my computer, seated in the room where the TV is located, I found myself distracted by a drama I was informed was entitled “This is Us,” which my wife was watching.

It began, as these things can, with an occasional glance, moving into a slight interest and reached the point where I found myself excited over breakfast on Tuesday mornings anticipating the next installment later that night.

Whoever the writers were for this series knew how to manipulate one’s emotions. After this season’s finale, The Washington Post provided a summary of those moments in the show, episode by episode, when the box of tissues was required most acutely. Weeping moments!

Of course if you do not like having your emotions wrought asunder I would stay away from the show. Or if you hate being manipulated, likewise. But the story line is good and I will watch it again next season.

But, I would recommend that everyone watch one episode from the series: Season 2, Episode 17. “This Big, Amazing, Beautiful Life.”

If you ever wished you had a reference to share with family and friends about your work with youth who have had time in foster care, or ever needed a reminder of the experience of our youth at Braid, this does a pretty good job at approximating some of their experiences. Down to the ubiquitous black trash bag foster youth are given to transport their clothing and personal possessions.

This episode also references the notions of “Jane Crow,” that women of color are more likely to have their children removed from the house around issues of “neglect,” a somewhat ambiguous and often culturally determined designation.

It references the foster system being the design of white, upper middle class America.

The episode looks at the issue of abuse that so often occurs in foster placement homes.

The episode examines the struggles of being re-unified with a bio-parent…

…the experience of a group home

…even the experience of ending up with a decent middle class family.

If I were more thorough I would research the writer of the episode and examine how it is they were able to understand the experience so well. But, instead I will just encourage you to watch when you have the time.

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