“You saved my life, now maybe it’s my turn to save yours but I can never repay you, what you did for me is way more but I ain’t givin’ up faith and you ain’t givin’ up on me…”
I found myself in a local grocery store buying the blue Similac formula. Now for anyone who has had the pleasure of buying formula you know that the large Costco type containers give you the most for your money. Well I walked in with a government issued coupon for the much smaller (and therefore more expensive) cans, seven in all. This was all that I was buying so once I gathered my seven round containers I took them to a register.
I chose this particular store because it has less foot traffic and it takes about three times as long to check out with one coupon (which I had two – so about six times as long). No one was in line and there were at least two other checkers open. As I approached, the checker said to one of her co-workers something like oh goodness and indicated at least a mild bit of distain for the government coupons. She began scanning the blue, round containers, continuing to talk to her co-worker about how most people with those coupons come in late at night. Finally, her co-worker had a customer which forced the checker to talk to me. A few sentences and in her mind things did not add up asking me to explain further.
Once she heard me explain that I was a foster parent her stance changed from judging to gratitude. Rather interesting to me because this was not the first time I had seen a switch like that from similar workers. Also, strange to me because I was still using the government issued payment. She thanked me at least ten times in five minutes for opening my home to the kiddos.
“Hope, I just need a ray of that, cause no one sees my vision … All I know is you came to me when I was at my lowest you picked me up, breathed new life in me, I owe my life to you”
Sometimes we see the kiddos at the highest and sometimes we see them at their lowest. Lots of the interactions that we have seen that have caused friction or hassle have been with the things and people surrounding the kiddos and not themselves. Two overly caring CPS workers are on our cases right now. One in charge of the siblings and the other in charge of the “middle” child. They have judges yelling at them for not giving six hours of visits each week; parents showing and leaving early, parents no showing, parents asking for things that they do not get and all the while cannot give more than they have.
Cheryl and I have promised each other that we would keep each other a focus, next the kiddos and finally everything else. The largest problem I see is so much of the demand that is placed on the workers is for the well-being of the parent unit. I am sure that in a round-about way the thought is if it is good for the parents then it is good for the children. As foster parents we have to remember that we are brought onto the scene just for the kiddos, to make their lives livable during that time in their lives. We owe our times to them, we owe our lives to them.
“Let me turn on the lights and brighten me and enlighten you; I don’t think you realize what you mean to me, not the slightest clue”
Growing up I had a family who cared for others and was a part of the community. I Learned lots of lesson about the importance of community. I know my parents gave those to me. We go on and we learn. As a young college student I met many inspiring people and I know that if It had not been for at least five people in my life I would not have made it through college; not on the course that I did. On one occasion I was finishing up some activity and a mentor and fellow choir person pulled me aside and handed me an envelope. I opened it to find a check. The amount was not important; the enlightening message was. It was not payment for some service, it was community helping community. Her one request of me was to remember what had been given and when I saw others in need to give what I can.
The enlightening message was something I had heard from my up-bringing, but in practice it sank in with this single action. I have a number of people who mean more to me than what I can say with words. Life lesson, choices, actions… they all mean something.
“…sometimes you just feel tired, feel weak, and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up. But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength; and just pull that it out of you and get that motivation to not give up; and not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face…”
This last week I have been reminded a lot of where we have come from and where we are. Reading some of the stories and seeing the shift in where the Baby Puzzle was and where it is now is inspiring. Cheryl and I continue to be a part of our community and give what we can. Sometimes we encounter situations where we think it will go one way, but when we are shown the full picture the direction is changed. Sometimes we see others struggling alongside of us and we have to remember to keep our focus on what we can help with. We want to be so much more, but over the past 11 and a half months when we over extended ourselves that is when we feel the most overwhelmed. Sometimes we just need that little extra that might be a lot or nothing at all to someone else. They may not know that far reaching effects it will have on our lives just as we do not know the far reaching effects our efforts will have on the kiddos’ lives.
Thanks for reading… sometimes motivating words come from places we did not know they existed.