Parenting is MORE, so much more than just producing a child and then giving birth. Oh sure, that makes you a “mother” or a “father” by definition, but it doesn’t make you a mom or a dad.
Parenting is hard.
2016 was a big, big year.
As if raising a dozen kids wasn’t enough, we took the necessary steps to start a non-profit foundation this year to help protect children and restore families and bring awareness to the growing epidemic and the desperate need for foster families. We also started the foundation so that your gifts could be tax deductible and so we could continue providing for these kids financially.
In doing so, we received the most amazing outpouring of love and support both financially and spiritually from people who believe in our mission, know our hearts, and want to help as many children as possible. The encouragement has been so unexpected and we treasure it!
We also, however, opened up the door for people to criticize us and offer their unsolicited advice and make outrageous accusations based solely on assumptions.
We truly love, appreciate, and VALUE advice from trusted friends, people who have experience and knowledge to offer us, and those that have walked this journey and know from their own experience what we are living out. We are exceptionally open to ideas, concepts, and knowledge that will help us help kids and do a better job at what we are doing. Absolutely. What we are NOT open to are people who do not have our best interests at heart and purposely try to be damaging in word or deed. We know we are doing something good, something needed, and something life changing. We are now aware that this will bring criticism from those who aren’t.
The number one appalling accusation that really, truly gets under my skin, is when people insinuate that we foster children because we are financially motivated. That we are scamming the system and we take in children so we can live a luxurious lifestyle. (I can hardly even maintain my composure while I type that statement because it’s so ludicrous and laughable. I’m sure that every one of you who know us are laughing too.)
For those who aren’t aware, let us give you some facts so you no longer have to speculate. We do not receive ANY federal or state funds for raising these kids. NONE. Zero. Zip. Nada. Not even food stamps! We will be applying for grants in the future, but currently we receive nothing.
We provide a loving home and everything these kids need as “non relative caregivers” which allows their parent or grandparent to maintain their benefits. People think we are nuts for not going after what little money there is, but for us it is not about the money. It’s about maintaining a healthy relationship with their caregiver and NOT traumatizing them even more than they have been by losing their kids.
This is how we operate: from our perspective, they have already lost their children and perceive us as the bad guys, they survive on a poverty level income barely making ends meet, and we aren’t going to add to their problems or in any way make it seem like we care more about money than we care about them. We just aren’t. This is something that we are highly criticized for and, again, we find it objectionable that people who have no firsthand experience with this are wagging fingers at us. If they are upset that we aren’t taking their benefits they would probably also be upset that we often help them make ends meet. We make sure they have birthday and Christmas gifts, we make sure they have delicious holiday meals, we have paid their utility bills, furnished their homes, paid down payments for them, phone bills, cable, you name it. And do you know why we do it? It’s for the kids. 100% for the kids. Because the kids love their parents!
So, let’s talk about money. That painful subject, that taboo subject, that root of all evil that turns people against each other.
How much money would it actually take for someone to be financially motivated to be a foster parent to this many kids? Let’s figure it out, shall we?
Wikipedia says it costs an average of $9,500 to raise one child annually and that’s just for the basics. I can guarantee you it costs more than that when they have asthma, are involved in sports, driving a car, need glasses or braces, or grow 4 inches in one year and need new shoes and clothes. But let’s say that, on average, we need to be spending $100,000 annually on just the kids we are raising right now, which is a conservative figure. That doesn’t include the cost of Bruce and myself, the kids’ extended families, or the mom’s in jail that we support.
So, for us to be financially motivated to foster children, we would have to receive well above the $100k that pays for just the kids, right? I mean, how can we afford our luxury cars, our boat, our mansion, and our lavish vacations otherwise?
Indeed, I jest.
We would love to have donations over and above $100k annually, and someday we hope to!
But currently, that figure is not even in the ball park. Not even in the parking lot near the ball park. Not even in the town the ballpark is in.
So it is apparent that we are not growing wealthy as foster parents.
As a matter of fact, we are sacrificing a lot of things that most of you probably take for granted.
Things that no amount of money can compensate for.
These are a few things we have chosen to give up to have our very large family:
A Job: With them being in several different schools with several different schedules, it is a 24 hour a day, 365 day a year job with limited time off (none) and you are always, ALWAYS “on call” and always doing laundry. My job as the chief taxi driver, bottle washer, butt wiper, and referee is the toughest, most rewarding job I’ve ever done that I don’t get paid for.
Vacations: No more vacations to exotic places or vacations that require air travel because it is cost prohibitive to take 15 people an an airplane.
It’s cost prohibitive to take 15 people anywhere! Two years ago we took all of them on a trip of a lifetime to Busch Gardens. We drove two cars stuffed with people, bought lunchmeat and bread, blow up mattresses and got 3 hotel rooms. We ate breakfast out once and bought pizza one night. This little venture that lasted 4 days costs almost $5,000.00 which was basically $333 per person. Unless we hit the lottery or have a gofundme fundraiser, vacations are out of the picture.
Movies: We only get to go to the movies when it’s free for a screening. (Thank you Crystal Gross!) Who can afford an evening out that’s going to cost $100? Certainly not us. Popcorn and treats for 2 people at the movies is about $15, imagine what it costs to buy treats for a dozen kids! We buy our DVD’s at WalMart and make our own popcorn but it’s not the same as going to the theater, I’m not gonna lie.
Shopping: We gave up shopping at the mall or even going to the mall because they will see and want things that will never, ever be in the budget like $150 shoes that their friends are wearing or a top that costs $35. The average price we pay for an article of clothing is $9.00 and most of what they wear has been donated.
Drive-Thrus: Forget about zipping through a drive through when you’re hungry unless you plan on buying everyone in your car something to eat. You either wait until you get home or your $5 meal just turned into $35 because they all want something too. We do drive-thru’s on a limited basis and everyone has to share. I carry a jar of nuts in my car and usually bring fruit along.
Luxury Car: Gone are the days when I sped around town in a red convertible. Gone are the days when our cars were neat and you didn’t have to step over shoes, jackets, bags, wrappers, and toys. Now I drive a 16 year old Suburban with 290k miles that smells like a mildewy rolling locker room and is being held together with clear duct tape.
Privacy: Everything we do, everything we have, and how we live our lives is on display for complete strangers who show up to have family visitation time with the kids every week. We have to drop what we are doing to “supervise” this time or we have to meet them at a public place. Is it convenient? Nope. It’s intrusive and uncomfortable and awkward. But we do it because we love the kids and it’s important to them. We also have lovely social workers visiting on a regular basis doing routine paperwork each month and sometimes we get the lovely unannounced visit for an inspection because a disgruntled parent or family member reports us for some made up violation and waste the taxpayers dollars by making false reports.
Quietness: We rarely ever have an evening when nobody is home where we have the house to ourselves. If this happens it is because someone has been grievously injured and is in the hospital, they have been kidnapped, or the rapture has occurred. They are so loud that everyone in the neighborhood knows when we are eating dinner because of the epic noise level that occurs when they are all in the same room at the same time. We often wear earplugs. We suggest earplugs for our dinner guests as well.
Order: The rooms in our house will never, ever be clean and neat all at the same time and we have to pick up and vacuum on a daily basis or our house will look like an episode of hoarders simply because all these people come with “stuff” and there is barely room for all the “stuff” to be contained. We, literally, have multiple clothing dressers in our dining room and the baby sleeps in a pop up crib in our master bedroom closet and you can’t walk through the garage.
Spontaneousness: For those rare occasions when you have the energy for “time with your spouse”, those moments have to be planned, scheduled, manipulated, and carried out with the stealth precision of a moon landing in 7 minutes or less (give or take), before someone notices that you aren’t in the room and they need a band aid or are shouting for you throughout the house because they just stepped in poop. What would it take for you to have to walk over mounds of laundry, toys, shoes, dirty socks, papers, backpacks, and wet towels every single day and turn down last minute invitations with your friends for a fun evening out because you are so tired that the thought of putting on makeup and a bra doesn’t seem worth it?
Feelings: This is the toughest one. You have to put aside your feelings. That just comes with the territory. You get used to it after awhile but in the beginning it was tough. Having these precious little children that you have raised for years and years- wiped their tears, wiped their butts, up at night with them, at every special event, baking them cupcakes, taught them everything they know, taking them to school every day, planning every birthday party they’ve ever had, bathing them, feeding them, your entire life lived for them… and every handcrafted little handprinted take home gift they make at school is for their “other” mom. Big let down. Then there are the times when they are angry they will remind you that you aren’t their “real mom” and they don’t have to listen to you. The worst is when they accuse us of being the reason why they aren’t with their other mom when we had nothing to do with it.
Opinions: You have to zip your lip, bite you tongue, and choke down the urge to say what you really feel to the people who have failed them, who keep making the wrong choices over and over and over and over again… and you do it because you love the kids. You smile and nod while listening to the advice of the sincere church friend or relative who tells us that we should just stop helping and give up, or questions our ability to handle these kids and all their emotional needs and points out our flaws and shortcomings. You want to say “okay you choose which child I should give back”, and then watch them stammer but you don’t. You want to point out to them that our worst job of parenting is exponentially 100% better than what they had, but you stay silent. Most of the time.
So let’s ask ourselves realistically- What’s the price tag on giving up your lives so someone else can have it better?
Are we simply motivated by our “get rich quick scheme” to scam the system that we aren’t scamming and just faking our investment of time, love, energy, and all of our resources?
There is no amount of money that can make this appealing unless your heart is completely motivated by love.
There is nothing we love more than loving and providing for them. They bring us so much joy, they are the light of our lives. They are worth it every day, in every way.
So, to all you haters out there, you’ll be happy to know that we are barely making ends meet and we wonder each month about how we will get by and keep the bills paid and healthy food on the table.
You should also know that we don’t worry about it and that we have complete and utter faith in God to provide for our family and protect us from naysayers who don’t know what they are talking about.
We do, however, want to invite you over to spend the day with us so you can experience what money can’t buy.
I have cleaned, refurbished, repainted, rearranged, pressure washed, deloused, fixed, hired, rewired, scrubbed and mopped many houses for people. I love doing it, and I loved working along with some of you who jumped in to help!
I had expectations that this gift to them would inspire them to be more involved, a better parent, keep a clean house for their kids, I don’t know… whatever.
Sadly, most of these houses returned to the state they were in before we came to help. Filthy, downtrodden, infested, ruined, or abandoned. Several times we have provided this service for the same family with the same expectations. Bought beautiful furniture for them, cleaned, painted, gardened, made every home and apartment they went to into a showplace!
We were always disappointed when things were ruined, sold, soiled and stained. It’s like they didn’t care at all.
To some it would appear our efforts were in vain, why would we bother with people like this?
The fact of the matter is that I was the one who was wrong.
I was the one who was serving with expectations. Transparent strings attached. Hopeful that they would do it my way from now on.
I was the one who was disappointed when it seemed like they didn’t “appreciate it enough to keep it up”.
Shame on me.
Most of us have no idea what limitations other people have. Some are limited by physical issues, some financial, some time and energy, some just can’t organize their thoughts enough to tackle things. Everything overwhelms them. Sometimes it’s a 75 year old Grandma who is raising her grandkids and just can’t keep up with them AND work her job at a fast food restaurant.
If we can bring cleanliness, joy, brightness, dishes, decorations, clean sheets, curtains, food, organization, and order to someones home, even if it is just temporary, then that’s what we try to do.
We are not to judge.
We are to lift the fallen, help the broken, and serve without expectations. Always.
We are to pick up a broom.
“There should be less talk; a preaching point is not a meeting point.
What do you do then? Take a broom and clean someone’s house.
That says enough.”
― Mother Teresa
“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.
We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.”
― Mother Teresa
“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”
― Mother Teresa
“Love to be real, it must cost—it must hurt—it must empty us of self.”
― Mother Teresa
I am ashamed to admit it, but I had a major meltdown last week.
Do you want to know why?
It’s because I caved into jealousy.
Jealousy that led to pity and sorrow.
I sure did.
I jumped on the pity party bus and went for a long ride around “they don’t appreciate me” park, and stopped for awhile at the “I could have nice things if I didn’t have so many mouths to feed” cafe, and then sped down the “nobody appreciates me” parkway while I cried the ugly cry with fat, stupid tears like a baby. While I was on my little journey I took note of my friends on Facebook traveling to romantic destinations while I went nowhere, enjoying lunches and manicures with their besties while I layered on the 19th coat of gunked up nail polish on my cracked and chipped toes and my feet look like hooves, and I saw them dressing up in sparkly frocks and sinner shoes as they enjoyed a Friday night with live music while I listened for the 39th time to “Wheels on the Bus”.
I see them at cross fit working out and I see the interior of their spotless homes with their matching furniture and their designer pieces as they sit around chatting with friends over a nice dinner. A nice, quiet, adult dinner where I don’t have to stuff paper towels in my ears to dull the noise.
I also noticed women my age driving around in new luxury cars with designer purses sipping Starbucks that cost $4 and the interior of their cars were spotless! It has been 18 years since my car was spotless. Currently, my left headlight is being held into place with clear duct tape and my right rear window doesn’t work and the interior door panel is falling off. You have to open the door from the outside. And there is no working air conditioning.
I convinced myself that these ungrateful, loud, messy children didn’t care about my sacrifices and my dedication to them and could care less that I haven’t had a facial in 14 years. I have to repeat myself 27 times to get them to do anything around here and they never, ever turn off lights or unplug anything. I mean, why should I spend $400 on an electric bill when I could spend $400 getting much needed BOTOX! These kids are giving me wrinkles. Or God forbid we could go on an actual date without trying to move heaven and earth and refinance our entire food budget!
We haven’t been out to eat or seen a movie in over a year.
Carrabba’s MISSES me.
Oh I was mad. I was working myself up into a good woe is me.
I dejectedly announced that I was not going to make them delicious smoothies, I was not going to be picking up after any of them any more, that I would not be reminding them to do their chores, and that in one day this house would look like an episode of Hoarders and they would all be grounded. It was time they think for themselves that I was not Julie the cruise director.
I took away their X Box games and hid them in my room.
That’ll teach them.
And then I cried. I cried and felt sorry for myself.
This lasted for a few hours. I know, right? So not like me.
I was beginning to wonder what was happening to me, and then I realized it.
It was a spiritual thing.
What a hypocrite I was! Teaching my kids that money can’t buy happiness, that God supplies all our needs, that a fancy car and the trappings of our society aren’t what life is all about… and then I get sucked into it!
I did what I should have done in the first place when I felt that twinge of envy, and I prayed.
I prayed, and I asked God to forgive me.
Forgive me for being weak and selfish.
Forgive me for being shortsighted and stupid.
I have more blessings and love and laughter than anyone I know.
I am blessed with a husband who loves me who loves these kids, loves to cook, loves to dance, and loves God. How rare is that??
I am blessed with a car, a roof over my head, a pool my kids can swim in, and food to feed them all. Just being able to feed all of them is a miracle!
I am an American, I am safe, I have opportunity, and that is something that half the world covets.
I have no business whatsoever complaining or feeling sorry for myself. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others, and that comes at a cost.
I chose this life. I chose to love and shelter children, to reach out to neighbors and hurting women, and I chose to sacrifice so they could have a better life. Nobody forced me, I chose it.
And, even in those rare moments where I envy someone else’s glamorous lifestyle, I wouldn’t trade what I have for any of it.
What I have can’t be bought.
It’s messy, it’s hard work, it’s inconvenience, and it’s expensive. It’s exhausting.
It’s also amazing, fulfilling, exhilarating, and priceless.
A glamorous life is great, I used to live one back in the day, but it doesn’t compare to the life I have now.
I want to leave this world exhausted and broke knowing I spent everything I had and every ounce of energy trying to make a difference in the lives of others.
Besides, you can’t fit a zillion kids into a Lexus no matter how hard you try and they would just mess it up anyway.
He is almost 21 years old and doesn’t have a dream.
He doesn’t have a drivers license or a car.
He never graduated school because nobody cared enough to make sure he did.
This poor young man on the cusp of adulthood has no clue how to “adult”.
He has no idea who he is, what he likes, how to do much of anything, and he dreams of nothing.
He has never gone to a football game with friends, gone to a school dance, gone on a field trip, seen an art gallery, gone on a vacation, gone to a theme park, gone rock climbing, hiking, skiing, built anything with Legos, gone fishing, played on a team, gone to camp, built anything, assembled a toy, had an electric scooter, or been to a museum.
He has never dined at a fine restaurant or worn a suit.
He doesn’t have a best friend.
He doesn’t know how to balance a checkbook, get a library card, or prepare even the simplest meal.
He doesn’t know because nobody ever showed him, nobody was around to teach him, and the only role models he has had have been pitiful to say the least.
He has gone nowhere and is going nowhere.
He has lived in many, many houses and gone to many different schools, connecting with nobody and growing roots nowhere.
This young man has no tangible memories of childhood whatsoever.
No baby book with pictures, no baby teeth saved in a porcelain box, no videotapes of him laughing or playing in the bathtub.
No elementary school pictures on the fridge or on the wall, nothing.
There is nothing that was saved from his entire childhood.
It’s as if it was a vapor.
As they walk from room to room in my house they always look at the baby pictures I have on the wall.
I see in these kids an emptiness, a jealousy. They want to be important enough to have a place on the wall. Important enough that memories and keepsakes would be treasured and not pawned, lost, or stolen.
They harbor a deep sorrow, they mourn their missing childhood. He has existed for so many years on cigarettes, monster drinks, and video games.
Drugs that he was accustomed to because he watched the people around him.
Drugs to dull the painful hopelessness.
Drugs to have something, anything, to look forward to.
Drugs so that he can have something in common with someone and “hang out” together.
Drugs that his mother shared with him at a very young age and, after he became addicted, had to buy for him.
Our job now is to lift him up, steady his steps, and bring him back to the nest because he is not ready to fly.
Our job is to stay with him until he figures out who he is and can make it on his own.
Our job is to help him find the sparkle that may have existed in his eyes at some point.
A sparkle to replace the empty dull haze.
He has hurdles to overcome, major hurdles.
He has limited, awkward social skills because he wasn’t socialized.
Nobody ever taught him the things that he needs to navigate being a young adult.
“Adulting” is hard. It’s even harder when you had no adult to lead the way.
He doesn’t feel confident, he is fidgety and nervous.
Most of the adults in his life have taken advantage of him or let him down in every way.
He isn’t sure who he can trust.
We have known him and his siblings since they were very young, and regret that we didn’t do something extreme to intervene so that they could have come to us earlier.
We believed in the parent, until time unveiled the reality of the lies.
We can’t change what happened in the past, but we can certainly do everything we can to make it up to him now and in the future.
Thanks to all of you who are making is possible.
by Karen Scott
We are responsible for children who put chocolate fingers everywhere, who like to be tickled, who stomp in puddles and ruin their new pants, who sneak popsicles before supper, who can never find their shoes.
And we are responsible for children who can’t bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers, who are born in places we wouldn’t be caught dead, who never go to the circus, who live in an x-rated world.
We are responsible for children who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions, who sleep with the dog and bury goldfish, who cover themselves with Band-aids and sing off key, who squeeze toothpaste all over the sink, who slurp their soup.
And we are responsible for children who never get dessert, who have no blanket to drag behind them, who watch their parents watch them die, who can’t find any bread to steal, who don’t have any rooms to clean up, whose pictures aren’t on anybody’s dresser, whose monsters are real.
We are responsible for children who spend all their allowance before Tuesday, who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food, who like ghost stories, who shove dirty clothes under the bed and never rinse out the tub, who get no visits from the tooth fairy, who don’t like to be kissed in front of the carpool, whose tears we sometimes laugh at, and whose smiles can make us cry.
We are responsible for children whose nightmares come in the daytime, who will eat anything, who have never seen a dentist, who aren’t spoiled by anybody, who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep, who live and move, but have no being.
We are responsible for children who want to be carried and for those who must, for those we never give up on and for those who don’t get a second chance, for those we smother, . . . and for those who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it.
The first night is the hardest.
That is when they realize they are in a completely new home and that it isn’t a dream.
They are somewhere with strangers. They have nothing but the clothes they were wearing when it happened. No comforts of home. That first night is the hardest.
And sometimes they get placed with friends, but it’s still feeling alone. They wonder if it will be forever, if they will be with their family again.
They wonder about everything… what is going to happen to their stuff, are they going to get new clothes or will someone bring them their other clothes, who else lives here and will they like me and, especially, they wonder about what their parent is thinking/doing/feeling.
No matter how awful their parents are, or how badly they were mistreated, their one true desire is for that parent to love them and want them. It’s how we are all wired.
They start to feel guilty that they may have done something wrong or it’s their fault. They cry. Sometimes they hide it, sometimes they can’t.
They are a dichotomy of emotions.
They look around as they lay in a home they are unfamiliar with, laying in a different bed with different blankets and different sounds and smells. They don’t even know where the light switch is or how to get a drink of water. They are timid to ask where the bathroom is.
They might not remember your first name when they finally muster up the courage to tell you they are thirsty or hungry.
It is a helpless feeling they have, a combination of fear and calm wondering about the old and not knowing what to expect with the new. They know that there will be no more yelling or violence, no more drugs or random people coming around, but they will also miss that familiarity.
There is a familiarity, a queer comfort in the midst of the chaos that they called home. Away from the drama it is so quiet they can hear their thoughts and their thoughts are sad.
It’s hard to imagine these circumstances and feelings as an adult, let alone as a child. A child that has seen too much, been exposed to things no child should see or experience, shuffled around like extra baggage.
I hate it for them. I truly do. It makes me sick to think that parents can’t prioritize their children over everything else.
That’s why we celebrate every kid that comes through our doors, we embrace and we engage, we comfort and we counsel.
We want them to feel remarkably welcome and loved. They are dear to us.
We want them to know that, no matter what, we are reliable.
All the kids have worked hard trying to adjust to the school routine. It’s up at 5am for five of them, then 7am for the rest of them. We are only into the first week and already the elementary kids have homework. (I hate homework. I hated it when I had it, I hate when they have it because I have to help them with it. Homework is awful.)
Summer months meant nobody getting up at 5am and late night popcorn and movies. Summer meant no homework. Summer was kids in the pool, eating dinner whenever, video games, and the beach. I loved summer!
The end of summer brings a new schedule, and a lot more work for everybody, but at least I will no longer hear my name called four thousand two hundred and seventeen times a day, and I will not have to make someone something to eat around the clock and I won’t have non stop bickering about whose turn it is to use the remote remote.
(That is not a typo. A remote remote is wireless and, apparently, coveted by anyone under the age of 15.) I will also not have to go room to room turning off every light in the house continually through the day and picking up random articles of clothing off the floor and off the chairs and behind the furniture giving them the sniff test to see if they are dirty or not. I will turn off all the lights in the morning that they left on, and they will stay off until they get home. Yay for saving electricity!!!
I have now become the homework monitor, the chauffeur, the lunch lady, and the shoe finder. Actually, I take that back, I am “the finder of all things”.
Literally, somehow, somewhere, it was genetically determined in each of these children that instead of looking for an item themselves, it is absolutely mandatory that they loudly call my name 24 times and stand there in desperation (doing absolutely nothing and not looking for anything) while I tear the house apart because they waited until the very last second to let me know it was missing and now I don’t have time for the “you should have put it where it belongs” lecture or we will ALL be late.
I will then drive rapidly to our destinations while I tell the other children to remind me to punish “so and so” after school so I don’t forget.
(In the same notebook where I write down the funny things they say and the things that come out of my mouth, I now have a naughty page where I write down who I need to remember to punish. Sadly, I never remember to visit the naughty page until three days later and by then the moment has passed.)
They all have new backpacks loaded with supplies thanks to all of you, their own water bottles with their names on them in permanent marker, and lots of “new to them” clothes and shoes that were donated! WE THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!
Now that we are moving into fall there will be new adventures, new exciting things for them to experience, and we will keep you all posted along the way!
Welcome to our very first KKIDS, Inc. post!
I must say, this is exciting and terrifying at the same time. I am thrilled about the endless possibilities of where God will lead us. Our mission is simple(ish) – we just want kids to be safe.
Many of the kids under our roof have lived through incredibly dangerous situations including face to face exposure to drugs (as in ‘within arms reach’ of heroin needles and baggies of crack), violence (as in ‘people I don’t know are fist fighting in my living room and there is blood all over’ or ‘I am disciplined with the buckle end of a belt across my back’ kind of thing), unsafe living conditions (like ridiculous fire hazards such as passed out adults leaving cigarettes on the sofa and setting curtains ablaze, nearby gunfire, and horrific bug infestations that cause all the furniture to have to be thrown out), and weapons of all kinds. Right where they are at. Within arms reach of kids under 10 years of age.
Our mission is to remove them IMMEDIATELY from that environment as fast as we can drive there. We want to be, or have someone be, one phone call and minutes away. We swoop them up and take them to our house where they are safe, clean, fed, clothed, and surrounded with love and support.
Our more extensive mission is to help them THRIVE!
Whether they remain with us for one night, one year, or one lifetime, it doesn’t matter to us! We will always look out for them and they will be in our hearts. We want to bridge the gap, to help be their protective ‘nest’ until they are ready to spread their wings and fly on their own.
And even then, we will do what our parents did (and still do) for us. Be there. Be there with a shoulder to cry on, help with a car or an apartment, advice, a homemade meal, whatever. These kids don’t have the luxuries of two parent households, or parents with any means to help them get started in life. Their caregivers are doing their best just to keep their heads above water and the kids are destined to repeat the cycle unless someone intervenes. We want to intervene and we ARE!
The truth is, we are stepping out in faith trusting that our meager efforts will be like the fishes and loaves… multiplied one hundred fold! And it would be terrifying if I thought I was doing it on my own.
I mean, who am I to think that I could possibly do something to impact our community and the lives of children and parents? Lord knows I’m not rich, and I don’t have any special qualifications. What I do have is a vast and unwavering love for kids, and I can’t bear to see them repeat the cycle of poverty, drugs, and violence. We have to break the cycle and if God can use me in some way, then I am willing.
I cherish each of you who are standing with us financially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
Every aspect of that is needed in order for us to succeed in changing the lives of children and bringing the light into the darkness.
I have to try.