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So, I just found this meta that I never published in my drafts.
The scene between Abbie and Jenny’s former foster parent is one of my favourites in The Lesser Key of Solomon for so many reasons. I’ve heard/read about how exploitative the foster care system can be, but usually when it’s portrayed as such in the media, I rarely see the kids most marginalised by that system (i.e. children of colour, black kids especially). So, I appreciate the fact that Abbie’s pain and Jenny’s pain is actually being explored on the show through their eyes.
These two were in and out of foster homes and according to Abbie, they finally landed in decent one right before the incident in the forest occurred. I think the audience can safely assume that they didn’t have the love, support and security they needed after their parents lives fell apart. I think we can also assume that they suffered some neglect and abuse in those homes.
The confrontation emphasised why she and Jenny could only rely on each other, clarified why she lied about what happened to them, and why she held onto those lies for so long in order to keep some semblance of normalcy in her life. Lying wasn’t just about her own self-preservation, but Jenny’s as well. She was right, who would believe this bizarre testimony from two fostered black teenaged girls who had been drinking underage in the forest? Where would they be shuffled to next? Abbie truly believed that she was doing the right thing, but once she lied and betrayed Jenny, things spiraled out of control and she couldn’t take it back. She continued to justify her decision, which is part of why it was so difficult for her to come to terms with the truth in For the Triumph of Evil, even to the point of risking her life for the lie.
I will say though, one thing that disappoints me a little is that I feel like the narrative places the entirety of the blame and pressure on Abbie; I don’t think we’ve seen anyone acknowledge that they understand the choices she made. Even Corbin seemed to focus on Abbie’s fear about what she saw in the forest as opposed to her convictions (e.g. you were young, you made a mistake and thought that what you did was the right thing to do). I do think that in this instance, the narrative subtly acknowledges why Abbie felt justified. You could just imagine her recalling a similar situation and her picturing Jenny in the place of that neglected young girl lying on a cot on the floor, especially when the woman says to her, “I put a roof over your sister’s head; no one else wanted her,” as if that’s all that’s needed to parent a child.
Seeing Abbie finally being able to speak out and finally being in a position where she has the power to get justice against people who abuse this system and the kids in that system was very validating.
/PRESSES FACE TO SCREEN
srsly tho as a RL transracially adopted foster care survivor (we haven’t seen all of Abbie & Jenny’s foster/surrogate parents but the ones we have seen are all WHITE, which again is in keeping with the actual realities of the system so again well done TV writers/casters), THANK YOU for this post.
Amazing how a show about biblical prophecies, witches, and f’ing time traveling aristocrats has come up with the most accurate, relevant portrayal of foster care than any other current “gritty” TV series with the requisite tragically orphaned(TM) protagonists.
Bolded the parts that hit closest to home. omg what other excellence is waiting in your wings X
[pro-tip for bio spawn: it’s common practice for adoptive/foster parents to assign us codenames so they can publicly broadcast our own personal (often traumatic) personal details and histories]
the fact that this even needs to be fucking said…
People talk a lot about wanting to save foster children and adoptees from lives of pain and torment, but then you have foster kids being aged out on to the streets when they come of age, RAD therapy consisting of just plain beating us up, and half the film and television plots out there either romanticizing us, sentimentalizing us, or using us as villains with Freudian excuses. So the general public view us as grandiose at best if we talk about our lives, or as pathetic or evil. Sometimes all three at once. That’s not even talking about the fuckery of how we wind up in the system, I’m just talking about what happens once we’re in. If you want to help us, think beyond taking us into your homes. Think about the laws that fuck up our lives and about the people that exploit us or make claims about us so they can freely abuse us.
Truth be told.
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