Let’s walk a mile in somebody else’s shoes this morning:
You’re 7 years old. Mom and dad are fighting like usual. It’s the norm, but you’re still scared and confused. Obviously, you must be the problem because you’re stupid and worthless — at least that’s what your parents tell you.
You hide under your bed with a dirty stuffed animal named Fluffy who is missing an eye and lost a patch of fur the time you got a piece of gum stuck to it. Geez, mom sure was mad that day… “I’m such a stupid little kid who can’t take care of their stuff. I guess I deserved to be put in a dryer to learn my lesson,” you think to yourself.
You hear a sound outside, crawl out from under the bed and look out the window. You see a car pull up as well as a police car. “Oh man, I’m going to jail because I’ve been so bad…” In a panic, you hide in the closet but forget to grab Fluffy. You’re sitting there scared and alone with nothing to comfort you. You hear men yelling, scuffling and your mom screaming “STOP IT!”
It’s been 5 minutes but seems like an eternity. You muster up the courage to exit the closet and peek through the door to see your dad being hauled away in cuffs. You just made eye contact with the lady standing there with a clipboard and she starts to walk towards you. Your heart is pounding and about to explode out of your chest in fear. You don’t exactly know what “it” is but “this is it!” This is all your fault and if you had been a better kid, this never would have happened.
The woman and your mom approach you and speak but you don’t hear or understand the words. It all sounds like you’re underwater. They grab a trash bag and pack up two dirty shirts and one pair of pants that are too small. This time you hear them clearly. “You’ve got to come with us, sweetie.” You can’t speak, your throat feels like fire and your mouth is sewn shut. Why isn’t mommy stopping this? Why is she just standing there? You run over to hide behind her for protection but she shuffles away from you.
Your mouth finally works and you start to scream and cry the most sincere cry you could ever muster: “I’m sorry mommy, I will be better, I won’t be stupid and do bad things anymore. I’ll be a good kid mommy, please don’t let them take me away. I’m sorry mommy, I really am!”
Your mommy isn’t listening and walks out of the room. The lady kneels down and tries to explain that she has to take you to a safe place for a time while mommy and daddy get better. You don’t know what to think or do. You realize you have no control in this situation, so you comply.
You’re taken to the car with the trash bag of all of your belongings and they drive off. You’ll never forget that night, and the video of pulling away from the house and watching it fade away in the distance will be forever etched into your mind. You ride for what seems like hours; the lady tried to talk to you, but you can’t say anything more than yes or no. You silently cry to yourself, scared and alone in a stranger’s back seat hours away from home.
The lady tells you that you’re almost there and then she pulls up to a house minutes later. There are two strangers standing at the door way smiling and waving. You get out of the car, grab your trash bag and the lady escorts you to the two strangers. They introduce themselves but you say nothing. They ask you if you want to see your room and you nod your head up and down.
The strangers take you to a bedroom that is very clean, has a fresh made bed, dressers, toy box and closet full of clothes. “Wow, these people must be billionaires!” you think you yourself. The strangers and the lady talk and sign paperwork; she tells you goodbye and leaves. It’s been a long day and you’re ready to get out Fluffy and go to bed. You empty your trash bag on the floor. You see your clothes but no Fluffy…
You’re now in an unknown place, you have no control, you have no comfort, no Fluffy, you’re scared and alone and as far as you know it’s all your fault…
Friends, this is one of many traumatic experiences children in foster care have encountered on a daily basis. There are many hurting children in our hometown that are in need of a safe and loving home. No neighborhood, town or city is immune to this experience.
Change The Face of Fostering is a community focused group dedicated to providing support and resources to current and prospective Foster and Adoptive families in the North Texas Area. If you or anybody you know are interested in becoming a foster parent, supporter or just interested in learning about fostering you can reach us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by following us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/ctfof