Excluded

Im a server/bartender by trade. I love it, most of the time, as I guess most people do with their employment, but it does offer me a close view of society on all levels.
A good portion of the time I can tell when people come in if they happen to be foster parents. Believe me it’s not for a good reason. The foster child or children are almost always excluded from the family group.
To the extent I had a woman come in with a preteen boy, obviously not hers, and a young girl who was either the pet or her own child. The boy got water, a bare bones kids meal and barely acknowledged throughout the meal. The girl got everything she wanted, including a milkshake, right across the table from this boy. He ate in silence, barely looking up.  He was already broken by the system, the numbness was written all over his face.
Today I served what might have appeared to be a large mixed race family. It wasn’t. The two mixed race children were obvious outsiders and treated as such. I had to watch the light leave their eyes and watch them shut down as the other kids got desserts and treats and acknowledged and spoken to throughout the meal while they were left together in the corner of the booth to share a kids meal.
I have to serve these people with a smile. Pretend I dont know what is going on.
It breaks my heart and enrages me.
How dare these adults show such callous disregard for their charges. I remember the hurt I felt when I got left behind on family trips. I wasnt part of the family. That was always, without a doubt, made very clear. I remember standing at the counter alone to eat while the rest of the family ate at the kitchen table in the same room I stood alone in.
What message is that instilling in children and what damage is that causing to their self esteem to be treated like an unwanted and superfluous burden? How can we, as a society, allow children to be churned out like this in the thousands?
Is there not a better way?

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