The memories we associate with food are strong and can follow us for as long as we live. Tasting something that we ate during a certain period of our lives can bring back what we were feeling then, whether those memories are fond, or painful. A mom’s post about one of these darker memories that her son, who she adopted through foster care, shared with her, has gone viral as an example of how surviving neglect affects children and as a reminder for foster parents to listen and make space for their kids’ experiences.

Aubren Dudley, an adoptive mother of 5 siblings, wrote in a Facebook post that she noticed the 9-year-old about to eat something that appeared strange and unappetizing to her: a block of dry ramen noodles straight out of the packet. She was about to stop him, but he explained that he wanted to eat it that way since he had developed a taste for it in his old home. When she opened up and listened to his explanation, it made her more conscious of what her kids had been through before they came to her.

Aubren Dudley posted her son’s story along with a picture of the meal

Image credits: aubren00

In the United States, nearly a third of children in foster care, most of them 5 years old or younger, were removed from their parents because of neglect related to parental drug use. That figure has increased due to the opioid and methamphetamine epidemics, and an overall increase in the amount of children entering foster care in the last decade could possibly be related as well.

In Dudley’s post, she highlights the importance of not trying to erase this experience of neglect or minimize its relevance, but letting her kids share it at their own pace and appreciating their resilience that got them to where they are now.

Other people who have adopted children, or were adopted themselves, thanked her for sharing the story and for her call to be empathetic when kids open up about traumatic experiences.

People commended both Dudley and her son for the story