There is a great need for people who are willing to open their hearts and homes to the children who come into the system needing a safe place to stay. If only it were that simple! But these children usually come with some baggage, sometimes their burdens are relatively small and they can bond with enough love, time and nurturing. Often times, it isn't that simple, neglect, abuse, poverty and trauma have left deeply ingrained marks on their hearts and brains. They come into our home's with walls built around their hearts because of the fear and pain they endured at the hands of those who were supposed to care for them. Those walls are thick and high and the cost of scaling those walls to reach the hurting little person on the other side, comes at a great cost to the foster parents. You love the child and want to help them, while they have determined in their hearts to hate you. They will not under any circumstances, allow you access to their hearts.
Then there are the children damaged by drugs and alcohol in utero. Children who cannot fully bond because of the damage done to their brains. How do you reach these children? Are you willing to parent a child who may never be able to make good choices, a child, who is now grown into adulthood, and loves you one minute and terrifies you the next?
Attachment disorders and the children affected by them can be very hard to understand and many are the caseworkers who are sucked in by the foster child's tale of woe. When it is the foster parents word against the child's, who is the caseworker most likely to believe?
This scenario or something similar plays out daily, leaving foster parents in fear for themselves and their families. Should we take the risk?
Then I remember that the pain and fear the child tosses at you comes from the things he or she experienced when they were too small or defenseless to help themselves. The pain they are heaping upon you, comes from a deep reservoir of hurt they carry within themselves. They didn't chose this life, they are the helpless innocents, victims, really.
Jesus says: Inasmuch as ye did it unto the least of these my brethren, ye did it unto me. Matthew 25:40
Did he mean we should only open the doors of our homes when we know the going will be easy?
I will admit I struggle with this. Is it right for us to say we have our hands full or should we open our hearts and home and trust God? RAD has me running scared, it terrifies me. While I know that the fear doesn't come from God, but from the enemy of my soul, it is still very real.
The other day I watched Depraved Indifference, and my heart ached for those little ones. Spending years helping my children work through trauma, gives me a glimpse of what these children, whom I am sure God considers to be among the, "least of these," experience, as they watch the days go by without anyone to love them.
Watch Depraved Indifference and ponder where God is calling you. Maybe he isn't calling you to take his little one's into your home but we are all called to pray for those on the front lines fighting for the lives of the "Helpless innocent."
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