Hurt people hurt people, and our precious kids are no different. Our houseparents and staff face this difficult truth day after day as they faithfully work to show unconditional love and value to the kids in our care.
An apt picture of foster care comes from Dr. Shirley Thomas, professor, pastor’s wife and foster/adoptive mom of more than 100 kids. She would tell this story regarding one of her foster daughters – “I had no trouble getting her to call me mother,” she’d say. “It was getting her to leave off that other word that was so hard.”
Bright. Beautiful. Chatty. Effervescent. Serena* is a force of nature. She feels big; shows her feelings big. Six months ago, when discussing her time here at Amarillo Children’s Home, she couldn’t express enough her belief that she was in the right place until she could be adopted, her confidence in what she had learned and how she had grown during her time here and her hope that every foster child could someday encounter the unconditional love she has experienced here… but then…
Events which were not caused by ACH, or even within our control, but which occured during her time here – events not limited to, but including, multiple failed hopes for adoption – soured her once enthusiastic viewpoint. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, and Serena was filled with a volcano of grief turned to fury that erupted over those who love her. It would not be quieted.
LOVE IS PATIENT… IT IS NOT EASILY ANGERED, IT KEEPS NO RECORD OF WRONGS… IT PERSEVERES.
Serena’s House Parents loved her through it all. The staff loved her through it all. Even so, there came a point in time when it was clear that she needed a change of scenery and people. She had closed her ears to us, and would no longer hear our voices when we tried to remind her who she is. She needed a fresh start.
Serena had dreamt of her quinceañera since we had known her, and her 15th birthday was approaching, but not soon enough. We wanted our last extravagant act of love before she left to be a fulfillment of that longing of her heart. We delayed her departure as long as we could to have sufficient time to prepare. Other plans were set aside, vacations were postponed, sacrifices were made as House Parents and staff toiled to honor Serena in a beautiful way.
We wanted to remind her once more of her worth. We saw the black-and-white of the matter – her behaviors did not earn a party; she did not do anything deserving of a celebration. But just as our lives do not merit God’s love, mercy or action on our behalf, her struggles would not keep us from celebrating her as a beautiful creation of God.
SHE IS A BEAUTIFUL CREATION OF GOD. SHE IS VALUABLE AND LOVEABLE.
SHE IS VALUED. SHE IS LOVED.
Special Note: At the 11th hour, an associate of ACH started the process for Serena to live in their home for potential adoption. We don’t know what the future holds, but we hope with her this will be her forever home. No matter what happens, we’ll be here for her. Once an ACH kid, always an ACH kid.