Fun fact: I used to love receiving the JCPenny catalog at our house when I was a child. I knew when it would arrive and I eagerly anticipated its arrival. Like most content children, I would go through it and circle the items I wanted. You know, just incase my mom needed to know while she was looking at the catalog. My favorite part of having the catalog was what I could do with it after a few months of it being in the house. Once the newness had worn off, I was allowed to cut the magazine.
I cut babies out of the magazine. I would put my paper babies in paper houses I would make for them. I’d meticulously design the paper house so it would be fit for a King (or baby). More than once after designing my baby houses, I would stay up late at night praying that God would turn those babies into real babies. Because God can do anything, right? After one night of hysterically crying to my Mom about the fact that my paper babies were still paper, I accepted that I couldn’t coerce God into performing my little miracle. I also later learned about the biology of humans, so I am no longer confused about that. 😜
Why am I telling you a story about the best, most imaginative child ever? Because this: my conversations the last few days have been overwhelmingly about foster care and “the system.” (Quite the leap, huh?) Don’t worry, we’ll circle back.
I personally have had experience with Child Protective Services, adoption agencies, adoption counselors, social workers, and I’m probably still missing a few. I have several friends who have or are fostering. Through that and being in the schools, I have seen/heard many unpleasant situations. With that being said, this is not a blog to bash “the system.” I have heard of several social workers declaring that the system is broken, while I would conclude that is probably true in some aspects, we are not without hope!
My little firecracker, Baby K, was the 4th child to be birthed to her first Mom and not live in her home. Most of you know that we had a relationship with her first Mom through the pregnancy and birth of her 5th child. First Mom wanted us to have the child, then changed her mind not once, but twice after baby girl was born. Can I tell you guys a secret? I still love Baby K’s first mom. Gasp! “How can you love her? She screwed you over? That baby would have been so much better off!” While some of those feelings may be true, I learned from getting to know first Mom, that she has many lifelong issues that were never dealt with throughout her life. You CANNOT expect people to give something they have never received! Do I hope and pray that baby girl doesn’t struggle throughout life? That she knows she is always loved? ABSOLUTELY!
So, how does all this relate? There are children going into the system every day, at an alarming rate. How about instead of all the focus being on our solutions we start discussing PREVENTION. We, as a society, are very good at worrying about ourselves. It’s easy! I know me. I know what I like. I know what makes me happy. I don’t have to think about it or put much time into figuring out what I need to do for me. BUT how about we stop for a minute and look around us. What can we do to help children in unfavorable living conditions? Can we show love to someone who has never experienced that before? Can we offer a meal to a family who is financially struggling? Can we offer a listening ear or word of advice? Parenting is NOT for the faint hearted. Many do not have the support they need.
If you proclaim the title “Christian” this paragraph is for you. You have a DUTY to help the downhearted and broken. Am I telling you to go adopt all the babies? Absolutely not! You do not have a DUTY because God expects payment from you. No, your DUTY comes from the simple fact that you have been Saved yourself BY GRACE. Not because you did anything good enough to earn God’s favor. Do we have to agree with everything someone does or the way they live to help them out? No and please stop acting like that is truth.
I am not going to get into the worker staff, education, pay, or anything of that nature in relation to “the system” in this post. That’s an entirely different conversation.
To bring it back around to my awesome baby house story, we can’t “make” something happen by sitting around and complaining about something. If your concern is the children then DO something. Love someone. Go out of your comfort zone.