March 26, 2013

Invisible Warrior

Soldiers are universally recognized as heroes.  They bravely step onto the battlefield to fight for the cause they believe in, courageously facing their adversaries with resolve and determination.  Their amazing victories are applauded and awarded with ribbons and medals, speeches and ceremonies.

But there is a warrior of another kind, the one who daily enters the battlefield in a place where no one can see, where no one applauds, where no medals are awarded.  Despite the fears and doubts and insecurities and loneliness, she fights resolutely, knowing that her cause is indeed a worthy one.  She is an invisible warrior.  She is a foster mother.

March 20, 2013

A Broken Vessel

He was a precious, perfectly formed baby, entering the world with a full head of dark hair and deep brown eyes that seemed to display a sort of maturity and wisdom.  His sweet innocence didn’t remain long, however.  As he observed and listened and experienced what was happening around him, he soon understood that the world in which he lived was a dangerous, unreliable place.

Because his home was chaotic, and he never knew for sure what would happen next, he learned that life is unpredictable, and he shouldn’t get his hopes up.  It’s best to never, ever have any expectations. 

When he was sad or hurt, it wasn’t sympathy or comfort he received; the adults in his life became impatient and angry with his display of tears.  He learned to never, ever cry. 

At nighttime, he knew that his father did terrifying, unmentionable things to his sister in the room next door.  His mother did nothing to stop it from happening; she was unable or unwilling to protect her daughter.  The boy learned to never, ever trust adults.  Somehow, even in his young mind, he realized that it was up to him to be strong and in control if he hoped to survive.

March 9, 2013

Family Tree

She is a young, single mother who is unable to care for her children.  One social worker is busy buckling her children into the vehicle outside, preparing to drive them to various foster homes around the county.  A police officer stands in the doorway, a show of strength in case this emotional situation escalates and gets out of hand.  Another social worker is attempting to ask her questions for a form that she is filling out, questions that, despite their basic nature, she is suddenly incapable of comprehending.  It’s a parent’s worst nightmare.

One of the questions the social worker asks takes her momentarily by surprise: “Do you have any family members that we can contact, people who might be able and willing to care for your children?”  After thinking for a second, she shakes her head.  Regrettably, she can not think of anyone who might be able to help. 

What?  Not a single family member?  Why?  What about the children’s grandparents or aunts and uncles?  Where are the extended family members whose role it should be to support each other through difficult circumstances?  Does she really have no one?

March 1, 2013

This Life That We Share

The sun, how it shined! We couldn’t have planned it that way
As we spoke our vows on that perfect June day.

I stood there with him, we stood there, we two.
And our friends and family heard us say, “I do.”

What’s next, we wondered, in this new life we shared.
Whatever it was, we knew we’d prepared.

We wanted to have children, to hear little footsteps down the hall,
But . . . none were forthcoming, no, none at all.

We set up the doctors appointments and tests,
Then went home to pray, just hoping for the best.

We heard the bad news in doc’s office where we sit,
And we did not like it, not one little bit.