I was talking to someone recently at the Farmers Market about Be The Hope and the dire circumstances for many children in Haiti. We had a nice conversation and I felt like he was really listening to what I had to say. Toward the end, he made a comment about the fact that there are children in the United States that need help too. I don’t think he was trying to be mean; just making a point. And it was a valid point. However, I found that I had the perfect response. I told him that I have been a licensed foster parent for 3 years, so I am well aware of the need.
As a foster parent I am on the frontlines every day. I have heard horror stories in training about abuses that children have suffered that are unimaginable and inconceivable. I attend all of the court hearings, Foster Care Review Board meetings, and in some cases, the trials of the biological parents when the state is seeking to terminate parental rights. I have had a child in my home that suffered the worst of all abuses: sexual abuse. Nothing can prepare you for a 5 year old telling you what Mom’s boyfriend did to her. I have spent weeks in the hospital with two of my kiddos, been to cardiologists, ENT’s, counseling appointments, and spent an afternoon at Childhelp. I know the need.
I have opened my home to 6 beautiful little girls since I became licensed in 2010. Some have stayed for as little as 2 days (until a relative was identified that could take her in) to 16+ months and counting. While this has been a rewarding, frustrating, overwhelming, joyful, agonizing, amazing, heart wrenching and challenging experience, I still feel drawn to do more. That is why I decided to start Be The Hope.
I consider myself a champion of children. If I can give hope to just one child, whether that child is in the United States or Haiti, then it’s a good day.