The heartbreaking, hopeful story behind a viral ramen noodle photo originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com
At first, it just looks like a photo of not-yet-cooked ramen noodles.
But the complex story behind it is what's making the seemingly simple photo go viral.
The Barren to Blessed Facebook page, run by Caroline Bailey, shared the photo and the moving story her cousin, Aubren Dudley an adoptive mother of five, had posted on her personal page. It spoke of how her son, adopted from foster care, made himself dinner -- an uncooked package of noodles.
The post read in part: "I wanted to eat something I used to eat a lot with my old family,” her son told Dudley. "So we sat down and I asked him to tell me about it. He said that they wouldn’t feed him due to being passed out (you can guess why) and he would have to make dinner for himself and his brothers (2 and 4 months when they came to us). He said that all the money they had would be spent on cigarettes and other fun things (😬) and so he would find change in their van and would buy Ramen packets at the store down the street (at 6!!!!). He said he didn’t know how to boil water, so he would eat it like this. And, he actually grew to like it. So, he would break it up for his sibling, and would try to make bottles for the baby (at 6!!!!!!)."
Bailey told "Good Morning America," "I reached out to my cousin about posting it because it really hits the nail on the head in terms of what daily life can look like for families who are raising kids from hard places."
Bailey and her husband also have three adopted children, two from foster care.
"It is less about the ramen noodles and more about the triggers of trauma. It is also about survival," she said. "So many children and youth in our country live life like the one described in the post, getting up each day, surviving and making sure younger siblings are surviving."
The post has been shared 150,000 times so far.
"I love that people on the post were reporting their own trauma histories, and complete strangers were showing them so much love," Dudley told "Good Morning America." "Child abuse and neglect, and trauma, is such a taboo topic. Nobody wants to listen to it. Nobody wants to talk about it. But when a story like my son's hits the public, they are shocked, they want justice. And I truly believe that once we start talking about it, and dealing with it, the world will be a better place."
She said the noodle story is far from the most painful thing her son has shared with her about his past. "If this little piece of his story can get that much attention, the rest would bring people to their knees," she said.
But both Bailey and Dudley are happy the post has sparked a conversation.
"We need to have more conversations surrounding childhood trauma and the lifelong impact it can have on one's life," Bailey said. "Both my cousin and I know that healing children, even if only one child at a time, can promote generational change."