May 31 is a number of things – Memorial Day, of course. The Feast of the Visitation, when we remember when a pregnant Mary visited a pregnant Elizabeth, miracles, both. And May 31 is also the last day of National Foster Care month. I’ve not been as obnoxious as I sometimes am about the month. In part, I think that’s because many of us have been waiting in anticipation for the Supreme Court to issue its decision in the Fulton case, which involves religious liberty and the very lives of children in Philadelphia. Children in foster care don’t have time for adults to come to peace with all our fundamental disagreements. We need more choices for children, not less. And yet, ideology so often gets in the way. Pluralism is often considered an enemy these days, but it’s the only way.
I wanted to highlight something that I saw on Facebook this morning, from someone who has written on this site about foster care and adoption. Lisa Wheeler is an adoptive parent from foster care.
I did a horrible job posting this month about foster care but May 31 always reminds me how foster care and The Feast of the Visitation will always be a part of our story.
National Foster Care Awareness month ends on the Feast of the Visitation. It always amazes me.
This simple encounter between Elizabeth and Mary that produced the great Magnificat, the Hail Mary and personally my favorite quote from the Bible, “Blessed is she who believed that God’s promises to her would be fulfilled.” There is so much wrapped up in today’s Encounter between these two women, not the least of which is the story of hospitality and stewardship to those “expecting” among us. The foster families within our churches and communities are in a constant state of expectation, and in that condition of waiting need desperately for those around them to “be in haste” as Mary was for Elizabeth so that the children in their care can receive the love and support they so desperately deserve. All month long those of us in foster care advocacy have worked to make our communities more aware of the needs of foster children and foster families and to help open more widely the doors of hospitality to those in our midst with time, talent and treasures to give and to journey with us towards solving the foster care crisis in America. There are no coincidences in time when God is the clock maker.
Earlier this month, I held in my arms the most precious little baby, who is the foster care of a lovely couple who love him beyond beyond, as they say. It’s the kind of love Christianity is all about. I know a Jewish couple who went through some agony in a non-foster adoption recently, and all of these people are true love in the world.
I see hearts everywhere lately – and then there’s the rainbows to come in June – but a healthy society knows what true love is and would care about the children without homes. They would care that these children, if they age out of the system, will get themselves arrested to have some basic security.
New York has been so dark over these past months in many ways. When I encounter a man screaming the f-word through the streets, or passed out in the middle of the day, or searching through the garbage, I can’t help but wonder who didn’t care about him when he was young and innocent and in need of true self-sacrificial love. It’s not always the case, but children need love, otherwise, what do you expect?
That’s not to make excuses for personal choices. But how can we prevent the kind of detrimental outcomes that lead to misery – and crime and addiction and all the rest? Making sure every child has a family sure couldn’t hurt.
A few things you might want to read with National Foster Care Month in mind, from this month and others:
Talking about Foster Care, Adoption, and The Ride
Why Are Children in Philadelphia Without Homes? How Can We Do Better?
Caring for the Orphan
Keeping Siblings Together: A Mother’s Love Story
Can a Divided Country Unite for Kids in Foster Care?
Is the Government Keeping Kids from Flourishing?
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