April 20th, 2015 § Leave a Comment
The thing I’ve heard about poverty is that it removes the steps between what is by all appearances a normal existence to a life of utter destitution. In other words, the steps between a poor person and the streets are fewer and in many cases non-existent compared to those of a middle class person. Most of you – maybe all of you reading this would have to have multiple things go off the rail before wandering the streets, not knowing where you were going to lay your head for the night. The chances of you not knowing where your next meal will come are so remote that words like “impossibility” would best describe the unfolding of such a scenario. For the poor, not only is it possible, that world lies just on the other side of the door.
Ever since we’ve had our foster child, we’ve spent six to eight hours a week with his parents. As you might imagine, they are not without their flaws. One thing they cannot be accused of is lacking interest in their son. Despite the many challenges, their determination to try to regain custody of their child is undeniable. In a significant way, we believe he is an anchor that keeps them resistant to the forces that would shove them out the door. It is their love for him that stirs in them a certain, healthy love for themselves, and a love for life itself.
Early in our pondering about foster parenting, a good friend helped us look beyond the child to the plight of parents. She put us in the shoes of parents whose child was removed. And by so doing, stirred in us an empathy for those who deal with the unthinkable: Losing a child.
Like countless others in their situation, our foster child’s parents are a jump, skip and a hop from a destitute existence. Their unlikely savior is the baby they hold in their arms for eight hours a week. And the love they have for him is the thing that keeps them standing on their tenuous foothold on life.
April 8th, 2015 § Leave a Comment
It was one of those times. Somehow, I just knew that what I was hearing needed to be stored away for safe keeping.
Two older men, both in their sixties were talking. One was asking … well, really more complaining to the other about a child who had long since stopped listening to him. The child in question was a daughter who had moved away – clear across country. While there, she fell in love with a man. Naturally, the man was not one who met her father’s approval. They got engaged anyway, and were planning their wedding when the subject of an open bar came up. And that was it. On this, he wasn’t budging. It was the proverbial straw buckling the camel’s back.
As the father went on and on, the other older gentleman carefully listened. Finally, he got an invitation: “What do you think?” I don’t remember his exact wording, but in essence what he said was that no matter what it took, as much as it was in his power to do so, a father needed to stay connected with his child. As long as the child didn’t bolt the door shut, he was going to be a part of the child’s life. Then he recounted a trip he took, across country to visit his daughter who likewise had years before left them. She had moved in with a man he didn’t even know. They took a road trip together, just him and her. No demands. No efforts to redirect. Just spent time with her. Let her know, no matter what, he was going to be around. She was always going to be his daughter. She was always going to be loved.
Then he asked, “Do you really want to close the door over an open bar?”
There’s a certain indignity in going to a child who’s out there because they decided they weren’t going to listen to you. It’s something to suffer speaking to a child in and about the place that is their rebellion. To pay for an open bar of a wedding you never approved. I think the man’s point was that a father committed to love his child at all costs had little use for dignity.
I’m pretty sure he was right.
April 4th, 2015 § 4 Comments
For all interested in fantasy football stuff, I started writing a weekly fantasy post on a start-up website. Please head over and give it a read. Gracías.
Here’s the link to last week’s post: