When I say “They”, I really mean two separate groups of people. I’ll leave you to ponder who I mean in the mean time. However, in follow up to yesterday’s post, Why Not Us Memphis, I thought I would offer a practical case for action. I once had the opportunity to help a blood bank marketing guy put together a blood drive. Myself and the team with which I was working thought it to be a fairly simple task. The actual blood bank professional seemed a little more hesitant. So after 6 weeks of planning, our campaign was over. Drumroll! We had raised 4 units of blood. One of which was mine.
After the mediocre blood bonanza we had created for him, I could not help but wonder how he does it. I mean this guy is in the business of raising blood. It’s not a precious mineral that you must mine from the center of the earth, nor travel to a distant planet to get. No, it’s literally everywhere, all around him. And yet, its incredibly difficult to get.
Personally If I were him, knowing the solution is all around me, I might just lose my mind and start going all Dracula on people and take it against their will. Not an actual suggestion for any blood bank marketers reading my blog. However, this good man is pursing a great public service for which volunteers are often low and yet he has to get up, go out in public, and watch upright blood pumping people walk among him everyday knowing they have exactly what he needs. Fascinating.
Families here, Families there, Families Everywhere
So this brings us to the topic at hand, namely a call to Foster Care and Adoption. Much like with blood, the answer to the foster care and adoption need in America walks among us everyday. Specifically, just loving caring families. In my field of work, I have some pretty substantial insight into the needs of America’s foster children. I see their plight, see their tears, and see the outcome when no one steps up to the plate to be a family to these youth.
In addition, I see what works. Honestly, and truthfully, what works more than anything is just a family willing to be committed and stick it out. If we can start there, 90% of the battle is won. So like the blood bank marketing manager, every time I go to a restaurant and see a family eating dinner together, or I go to church and see a family praying together, I am literally looking at the solution dancing before my very eyes.
Its heartbreaking to some degree as I know the heartache of abandonment that many children are feeling this very moment as I watch this child smile when his Dad decides to buy him some ice cream. Simple things like that can bring restoration to a foster child’s soul. Its not that the child earned that Ice Cream, its just that this dad simply desired to give his kid unmerited and unwarranted joy. Why, because why not, that why. You all know families like this and If I challenged you to share this post on social media and tag a potential foster parent, it would only take you about 2 seconds to think of that name. Why, because they walk among us, the answer to a child in need.
You Probably Know One
The other group that walks among us, or maybe crawls among us, or perhaps just learning to sit up, are the children in need themselves. You probably know one, you just don’t realize it. Going to a High School Football game this Friday? Playing on the field, sitting in the stands, or just wishing they could go to the game, is a teenage foster child, I almost guarantee you. Look around this Friday and think about that.
Going to the hospital to visit your friend or family’s cute newborn? Laying in the infant room, or perhaps in the NICU, is a newborn about to be brought into state’s custody, I almost guarantee you. Perhaps born addicted to drugs or even diagnosed with a terminal illness, but if you have been to a hospital, you have seen a child to whom you could be their only family, I almost guarantee you. If your child goes to school, they go to school with a foster child. If your child is starting college, somewhere in that Freshman class is a kid branching out on their own. Literally, on their own, with no back up plan, because no one adopted them prior to turning 18. They “aged out.” Regardless of the scenario, you know or have seen a child without a family, for I guarantee you, they walk among us.
A Call to Action
The foster care and adoption need are intrinsically tied to one another. You can’t separate one from the other. But in every county, in every school, there they are, walking among us. I can’t help but envision a world where the child in need and the potential forever family pass each other on the street having no idea that they could have been meant for one another. For neither of them realized the other walked among us every day. The family assumes every child has a family, and the child unfortunately assumes they are just not meant to have a family. What a tragedy.
What a strange world it is where the solution and the needy intermingle so regularly without any idea of the unprecedented future they could offer one another. So I just want to make this call and plea for anyone reading whom have even considered foster care and adoption, just look around you. You might be sitting next to family. In fact, I am going to go ahead and challenge you to share this post with someone you think would make an excellent foster parent. Tag them in the post and engage them in the conversation. You can be subtle or obvious, but have no shame for considering children age out of foster care very day, the time for subtlety may well be over. After all, you might just walk by their future child today and not even know it.
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