If you know anything about me, you know that I’m very involved with Agape International Mission, a non-profit that works to end child sex trafficking in Cambodia. I fundraise for them and raise awareness, but I’ve never been to Cambodia and can’t do anything hands on to help girls who are caught in the sex trade. My involvement with Agape and the birth of my own two kids has given me an interest in child welfare in general, from sex trafficking to neglect to kids caught in the foster care system. Now that I have my own kids, the thought of kids suffering anywhere, from anything just tears me up.
I’ve been trying to find some way to help kids in my own community and I’ve been doing a lot of reading on the foster care system in the U.S. Some of the stories are great; kids stay in loving foster homes and are later adopted into loving permanent homes. Other stories are horrifying; children sexually abused by foster parents or treated like animals while the foster parents collect monthly checks from the state. Of all the awful things I’ve read, one story has stayed with me. It’s not especially graphic or brutal, but it’s heartbreaking nonetheless. It’s about an eight year old boy whose foster mom flat out didn’t like him and didn’t care whether he was fed, bathed or cared for in any way. On Christmas Day, she locked him in his room while her grandkids came over and opened presents and ate Christmas dinner. She told him that she didn’t want him “ruining their holiday.” Can you imagine? The poor kid can hear everyone else having fun, opening presents and sharing the joy that is Christmas while he sits alone in his room. That should never, ever happen to any kid, anywhere. Every kid should be loved. Period. Especially on Christmas!
I, in my never-ending zeal for taking on new challenges, would love to foster a child. But my very sensible husband has informed me that he is not up for that. In all fairness, he is probably right. Technically right, anyway. We have a two year old, a four year old, three dogs, two full-time jobs and a horse. We’re not stressed out, but we do have a full life. In the meantime, while I try to convince my husband to consider fostering, I would like to volunteer my time doing something to help kids nearer to me than Cambodia.
I’ve submitted an application to volunteer with Advocates for Children , a group that runs a children’s shelter just up the road from me. They do several different things, and there are many opportunities to help. I’m going to attend their next volunteer orientation and see if I can find my niche.