Just a bit at the end of my rope here. Not because of anything happening to Tim or me. But people I know and know of are just getting more than their fair share. And I’m not talkin’ about the good stuff, either.
I swing back and forth between frustration and trust. Between stamping my feet and dropping to my knees.
This pendulum started swinging even before I judged the 5th grade “What does it mean to be a hero?” speech contest. But it was there I was tipped over the brink.
The final speaker, a young man, stood tall and strong at the microphone, describing a lovely woman, his aunt, his hero. How she gave selflessly to her family and took him in when his family couldn’t provide. And then he knocked me down…
My aunt is always there for me when I go to visit my mom.
She helps me feel better when my mom doesn’t show up.
…doesn’t show up.
Doesn’t show up?
Good golly, Miss Molly. What is happening?
And then all the rest came crashing down…
Like hearing about the guardian ad litem appointed by the court to find solutions “in the best interest of the children”. A person who clearly has not one bit of concern for delicate hearts – only what an absent but disgruntled parent – and accompanying lawyer – claim is “unfair”.
Like the Facebook post by my fiercely generous friend, Chrissie…
“you’re 6 years old.
for some reason (not your fault) you are removed from your home/parent/siblings.
a stranger takes you to a cold fluorescent lit office.
then that stranger drives you to another stranger’s house and leaves you there.
my god. …
life is not fair.
be good to your kids. this sucks for them.”
Or another from Love What Matters (thank you, Jennifer) …
“Court today. I had to keep my hand on something because it was shaking. They all spoke like it was a legal procedure and nothing more. No compassion. ‘Does any…one want the child? Are you sure? Nobody? Ok, we will be back in a few weeks and finish paperwork.’
Meanwhile said “child” is a boy I care very much about. A boy sitting next to me hearing every word. A boy who is trying to wipe away the hot tear rolling down his cheek. We ask them to act like respectful members of society. But we drop them off at strangers homes with everything they own in trash bags and then have them sit through a court hearing that would shake any adult. They have to hear nobody wants them or the few people that might are not fit. Then we drop them off at school to handle these emotions. And shake our heads when they are expelled again. We tell them to stay out of trouble and label them as bad kids for outbursts of anger and frustration. Why are our juvenile jails full? Because our custody court rooms are empty.”
Whether I know them or not, whether they are naughty as the dickens or sweet as honey, children in “the system” are not numbers or case files.
Every. Single. One. is a precious child of the most High God.
And nothing else matters. Not one hoot or holler or dollar. The best interest of the child is completely unique and unencumbered. It stands alone. The best interest of the child must be our only concern.
The best interest of the child is not what may or may not affect parents. It’s not about well, now I’m ready and I promise to be there for her.
Or Oh, sorry … I won’t be ready for a while, but keep him “on hold”.
Or We need to consider the needs of the transient father who comes back with empty hands, claiming his rights.
No, no, NO. It is ONLY about the best interest of the little soul who had absolutely nothing – not a ding-dang thing to do with the current mess created by adults. Perhaps adults who are broken and empty. Perhaps adults who are in WAY over their heads – but still adults. Supposed grown-ups who made choices over which the children had no control.
I never know which way I’m tipping at any given moment.
But I know that I know that I know: Jesus is the answer. And my job at any given moment is to trust Him, lean on Him, call on Him. And when I am at my best, I can and do. I know that she and he and they are all in His hands. The loving hands of a Father whose love is inconceivable to the puny human mind.
And then, at times, I’ll stamp my feet or sob in frustration. I’ll shout in the shower at people who will never hear me – at people who are absolutely, positively, completely NOT thinking of her or him or them.
I’m no expert. I don’t have all the answers. But I know, and you know – and they know – that children are not commodities to be brokered or parcels to be passed about with garbage bags. They are not the whim of fickle and selfish parents who come and go with the wind.
They are not fixtures or temporary or optional. They are not disposable.
Every one is a precious child of the most High God.
So, my lovelies, I’m trying desperately to tip toward hope and trust. I’m clinging to the promise: He is with us – and with our littles.
But since I have been doing probably more than my share of stomping and sobbing lately, I think I need to do more, don’t you? So stay tuned for an event that I’m hoping we can put together to make one of the heartbreaking elements of foster care a little less so.
I may have to tie a knot at the end of my rope – and then help carry the burden of some who got way more than their share. Maybe it’s not the best I can do – but I gotta start somewhere.