I continue to be amazed how one photo has the power to bring such a flood of emotions. Just when I think my heart is ok, one picture of my sweet friend Marie-and I’m crying. See earlier blog post: Face to Face with Child Abuse: Personal Reflections of a Teacher
A sweet teacher friend recognized Marie in an online adoption video and shared the link. I had to watch it, of course. Hearing how the social worker described her-listening as Marie answered questions about her favorite things-all I could think was, “I know the answer!” Like an impatient student raising their hand, shouting, “Pick me! Pick me! Oh, and here’s some additional info you didn’t even ask for.”
I was struck by the social workers comment, “She deserves a family.” I completely agree. She’s not the only one. While looking at this link, I saw pages and pages of other children-all with a story-all without a family. And then my questions started all over again. How does this happen? Why does this happen so often? What do we do to help?
My initial reaction was to shout inside my head, “I don’t have any answers!” But when I took a step back and calmed my emotions, the following things came into focus:
- Amazing people who have chosen to be foster parents.
- Others who have adopted or are considering adoption.
- People like myself-looking for ways to be an advocate and friend.
No, these positives won’t wipe away all the heartache. They are however, small steps in the right direction. When a child who has been neglected, abused, and deserted is able to experience love, acceptance, and security-the healing process begins. I continue to witness this in my sweet friend.
There is still so much to do. I don’t want to become complacent in searching for ways to advocate for my friend. It’s also important for me to recognize the children right in front of me everyday who are facing the same kind of sadness and heartache. Yes, it feels like an impossible, daunting task. Today I was reminded of my role and responsibility-and for that reminder I’m thankful.
I was also reminded of the impact this one child has had on my heart. No amount of my tears can cover the suffering she has endured, but seeing her smile gives me hope.
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9