September 20, 2015
We are just finishing up the busy morning of errands, loading the back of the car with all of the items we had purchased. “Why don’t you take the cart back to the store entrance,” I suggest, “while I get the little ones buckled in.”
A few minutes later I pull the car around to the front of the store where she stands waiting, and as she settles into the seat beside me, she pretends to be getting into a taxi. “If you would be so kind,” she says in a fake British accent, “please take me to the corner of 5th and High Street.”
I laugh at her sense of humor, and then ask, “Have you been to London?” I cringe inwardly for being so insensitive. What a stupid question to ask! Of course she has never been to London! What foster child has ever been to London?
“No,” she responds with a sigh, her shoulders drooping slightly. “I haven’t been anywhere. I’ve never even been on an airplane.” I am humbled, reminded yet again of her painful childhood, a childhood that was spent, not traveling the world, but just trying to survive.
In an effort to lighten her spirit, I ask, “So if you could travel, where would you want to go?”
“Paris”, she answered instantly, the light in her eyes returning. “I’ve always wanted to go to Paris!”
“Paris is beautiful,” I agree. “I do hope you get to go there some day. If they offer French classes at your school, you should take them.”
“No, I probably won’t,” she mumbles. “I probably won’t ever get to travel anyway. I probably won’t do anything.”
Alarmed at this attitude of defeat from someone so young, I ask, “What do you mean? You have your whole life before you. You can do anything you want. You can be anything you want!”
She stares at me as if I am speaking a foreign language. As if she has never heard such nonsense before. “Not really,” she says. “I’ll probably just end up like my mother.”
My heart breaks for her. Where are the people who were supposed to encourage her to follow her dreams? Why hasn’t she been told that the world is full of opportunities and possibilities for young ladies like her?
September 11, 2015
Would you be willing to care for a teenager for a little while?
If someone had asked me that question a few months ago, I would have said, No way! The sweet, little innocent babies? Of course! The medically fragile ones or the ones with special needs? I will consider it, depending on the season of our life and what is happening in our family. The older ones? Sorry, I’m just not comfortable with having a troubled teen in my home.
That would have been my response a few months ago. This, however, is today. You just never know when an ordinary day and a simple prayer can open your heart. When a chance encounter will form an unlikely bond. When God will give you the opportunity, and then the courage, to say yes.
September 7, 2015
I am just sitting down to feed the baby, her eyes getting heavier with each sway of the rocking chair, when the phone interrupts my peaceful moment with it’s shrill ring. A phone call in our home usually means something important is about to happen . . . a new placement, an update on our children’s case, a new or rescheduled appointment, someone who needs something from me. Whoever it is will just have to wait, I think to myself. That’s why we have voice mail. I’ll listen to the message in a few minutes, after this sweet thing is asleep.
I must admit that this is one of my favorite times of the day, a brief respite of quiet and calm, when loving her is the only thing on my mind. Oh, how precious she is to me! She has this habit of looking at me with her deep brown eyes, as if she is looking into my heart, begging me to love her. Everything about her is miraculous and beautiful and breathtaking. She frequently touches my mouth, as if to say, I don’t just want to hear your words; I want to feel them. She snuggles up to my neck in that sweet place that children know how to find, and there is nothing else I would rather be doing. Nowhere else I would rather be. I feel like the luckiest person in the world; every day I get to experience the joy, the sheer pleasure, of loving her.