On yesterday evening, I paused action on my “productivity” list and decided to attend a graduation program that celebrates youth in foster care.  I was completely unsure that I would see anyone there that I knew (and sure enough, I knew NONE of the graduates) and I had no significant emotional ties to any of the staff and guests.  I only knew that I wanted to be a part of the celebration that honored these young people.  Here are some of the things I observed and appreciated:

  1. Not only were graduates honored, but so were their caregivers (foster parents, program supervisors, social workers, counselors, etc).
  2. A spoken word artist’s encouragement to embrace and share your story, no matter what it is.
  3. A reminder that all things (good and bad) work together to our ultimate good, to our ultimate shaping.
  4. That attitude is important…the attitude we choose to adopt and daily live by affects us. To my current memory, Stephen Covey referred to it as “our own internal weather.”

My fellow readers, some of these young people have faced horrors from which a lot of us were spared, but they chose to become focused and finish school.  Among them were scholarship recipients to well-known colleges, husbands and wives who’d already started families, teen business owners, singers, artists, and those who are still trying to figure out the next step.  The point:  they made it to this point, they achieved that goal and by God, they will continue to soar and achieve more.  I did not know any of them personally but I’m incredibly proud of each of them and was honored to have been in their presence.  In the words of Dr. John C. Maxwell, remember that “Change is inevitable.  Growth is optional.”  Choose growth.  Hats off to all graduates and the next step in this journey called life.

#fostercare   #ittakesavillage   #youth    #focus   #graduates   #Johncmaxwell

Foster Care – “The Wave”

During this season of catching up with family and friends and simply enjoying life, while we are taking a moment to breathe, let us also take a moment to remember the children who have been separated from loving parents who made a mistake and is trying to “right” that mistake.  Such a journey can sometimes be long and arduous.  Pray for strength for both the child(ren) and parent(s) to carry on and stay focused until they are reunited with loved ones.  Meanwhile, below is a poem from this Guardian Ad Litem that captures a moment between a mother whose child is in foster care.

“The Wave”

My child has suffered.

Is suffering.

I want to help but I can only do so much.

She is not with me, not full time.

She is with someone else full time.

She is with me part-time, an hour per week…when I can make it.

A supervised hour per week and perhaps

A supervised phone call per week.

I want to do better. I am trying to do better. I will do better.

She is mine and I must have her back.

I must protect her.  Embrace her.  Empower and strengthen her.

But until then….I will cherish my visits.

I will smile as she gets in the car with the social worker and drives away.

I will watch the car until I can see it no more.

Little fingers waving out of the car window.  My little fingers.  She has my fingers.

Waving.  Waving.  Waving.

I clutch my heart with one hand and wipe streaming tears with the other.

Dr. Connie R. Shipman – 2015