As a former foster parent in the U.S., and a current adoption advocate in Nicaragua, caring for children in transition is extremely near and dear to my heart. In the past two years, I’ve encountered three particular stories that helped me understand the life of the child in need — and what they need in order to survive — better than ever before.
First, I read the true account of a child who not only survived foster care but is thriving as an adult. Joey’s Story provides a glimpse of the hope that sometimes seems impossible to find when knee-deep in the midst of what life throws at these kids. Although it’s a long book, and one that is sometimes difficult to stomach, I think it is one that any potential foster parent or anyone caring for kids in need should absolutely read. I was privileged to meet Joey — right here in Nicaragua, in fact — and am honored to now call her a friend. I encourage you to find an opportunity to read about the amazing journey her life took to bring her to where she is today.
Second, I read a book by Francine Rivers called Redeeming Love. It was recommended to me by several people, but I only just found the time to dive into it this week. Before I started, a friend warned me to clear my schedule because I wouldn’t be able to put it down. Was she ever right! I am so grateful I started it at 6am on a morning when I had little else to do. We were about two hours from home, in a remote part of Nicaragua, without power. Yup, it was the perfect day to start such a phenomenal book. And although I stayed up way past my normal bedtime, I finished it in a single day.
Wow. Pretty much everyone who has read this novel will tell you it is a beautiful love story. There’s no doubt about that. But, what I keep coming back to is how much of an inspiration this is to anyone walking alongside a child in transition, or an adult who lived as one. Angel, the main character, was sold into prostitution as an 8-year-old, after her mother died and her father abandoned her. She survived by keeping her hatred alive… hatred for pretty much everyone who might use, abuse, or even just leave her. But then she meets someone who decides to love her… no matter what. It is an extremely powerful story that left me astounded by the redeeming power of love.
Finally, I recently saw a short film meant to explain what kids feel when they are removed from their homes and placed in foster care. It’s easy to understand that any kid who found herself in such a situation might be angry, frustrated, depressed, and a whole slew of other emotions no child should ever have to wade through. But this film does an outstanding job of making the viewer feel those emotions right along side of the child. While the books I mentioned above will take hours to read (and are well worth it), the video below will take just minutes. Please educate yourself about kids in transition, so you can be part of the solution… instead of part of the problem.