Monday, April 11, 2011

My Dream

Tonight, God decided to push me back toward my dream and give me no choice but to fight to see it come to fruition. This post is not about Zambia. This post is me expressing my big dreams, and knowing that if I put it out here, then someone will ask me about it and if I am making progress on it. Because I didn't want to be held accountable to it, I haven't really put it out there, but after the knot in my stomach tonight, I just have to! After reading this you may have a better understanding as to why posting about Zambia is so stinkin hard for me though! Ok, I know its kinda lengthy so if you chose to read it all...happy reading :)

I was reminded that I am not living in an easy place. I am not saying at all that Binghamton is a more "missional" place to live than anywhere else, but tonight I was reminded that it is not an easy place. I was chillin in my room, just winding down about to pop out the contacts when I heard a little commotion outside. Now, this isn't unusual, and "domestic disturbances" are unfortunately not a rarity around the neighborhood, so it honestly didn't shock me. I heard Brian move around upstairs and thought he was just heading down to make sure there wasn't something he needed to intervene in. But then I distinctly heard a cry for help. And that froze me. I didn't know what to do or if I should do anything at all. I could hear Brian running down the steps, probably skipping some, and the front door was thrown open. Still, I was frozen in my room. Frozen because that scream was so heartbreaking, because I didn't know the situation, because I didn't want to be in the way, but mostly because I was terrified. I wasn't scared for my own safety, but scared to find out what was actually going on. I don't know why, but actually becoming involved in whatever capacity I would if I walked out of my room glued my feet in place. After a quick prayer for strength, courage, and compassion, I walked out of my room to find the most adorable little boy standing in the Crenshaw's living room with tears in his big brown eyes. The details of his story are not mine to give, but in the few minutes I spent with him, he stole my heart. His sweet voice, smile, and laugh melted me down to my core. In a simple conversation about his favorite superhero, Batman, he had me in the palm of his hand. Kids have always been able to wrap me around their fingers in a heartbeat, this little boy was no exception. This sweet child had done nothing wrong, but his family was broken. He was living in a hard place. He was being robbed of an innocent childhood everyday by the choices his parents made, and he was being set up for failure.

For the past few years, as I have become more involved with orphans internationally and foster children here in the states, I have come back again and again to the realization that these children are being deprived daily of a real childhood. It has been stolen from them by nothing they did, no choice they made, no relationship they had.These sweet kiddos may never know what it feels like to sit on their Daddy's lap while he tickles them even when they say no and their sides hurt from laughing, they may never know the sweet smell of their Mom in that much needed hug after a long day at school, and they may never know that they are loved by a Heavenly Father who is not broken. Now, I am fully aware that we can't just make the orphan and broken family problem go away. I know this is part of a broken world and that its not going anywhere. But, every time I look deep into the wounded eyes of a child who is in these situations, I sure wish it would just all go away.

This should be the face of childhood...
not sadness, tears, and cries for help
Well, protection for that child in America usually looks like the foster care system. That system that can be helpful if an unfit parent needs a little while to get things together and then hopes to regain custody of his children. It can also be great for kids who just haven't been adopted. But I actually think its TERRIBLE. Yes it seems like a necessary evil to allow kids a better chance, but I have this BIG dream that there is a better way. I have no idea what it is, and it may just be a revamped foster care system, but this is the dream God has given me. I do not at all claim to know that there is any other way or that the work of the foster care system is horrible. But my encounters have not been good. On a home visit I went on with SOS back in November, we went to a house that was being used for foster care. In this house, there was not really enough room for the original family much less two foster children. And obviously, if SOS was checking the house out, it wasn't in great shape. The woman who was the foster mother was living with her drug dealer boyfriend and her oldest son was in and out of jail for possession...I mean this just doesn't sound like a great environment to place a child in who has already been through more than anyone should be put through. (This was not my only bad run-in with the system. I know that there are great foster parents out there who love their kids like their own, but they seem so few and far between.) This illustrates my main problem with the system--it robs these children. They have already been taken away from their parents, whether by state mandate or parental choice, and now they will be bounced around from home to home, with no guarantee they will ever be placed in a loving home with supportive parents. In Isaiah 1:17, we are called to defend the oppressed and take up the cause of the fatherless. These children are oppressed and fatherless, and they need a defender. I don't know how, but I will create change. That's my big dream.--that children should have broken toys, not hearts. Because seeing a child in pain hits me so hard, it has been extremely difficult for me to put into words what I saw in Zambia. But, as I continue to pray through those experiences, and share my dreams and thoughts with others, it becomes easier, and I get closer to where God wants me to best use me. Please pray for this neighborhood, specifically for the kids. Broken families are the norm, and these kids see too much for their young years.