You hear it all the time.
“Oh I feel so blessed.” “God has really blessed me.” “Let’s ask for God’s blessings.”
I call bullshit. Not on the whole God thing. I believe in God, but don’t feel the need to justify whether I do or don’t in this space.
My problem is how people say it. As if God is up there (up where, really?) looking down and randomly choosing people saying, “Yes…let me bless that real housewife of Beverly Hills with zillions of dollars and a new car and fame and Botox…” All the while, turning his back on the people in the world that really need a blessing.
People like Davion Navar Henry Only.
He is 15 and has never had a real family or a real home. Now I have to give a shoutout to the folks who have been providing him with a foster home. Fostering a child is a very noble act and one that requires a great deal of commitment. (Yes there are people who abuse the foster care system, but I’m not going there).
But think of it. Here is this young man who normally our society wouldn’t give a snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding. He’s a black male born to an imprisoned woman with a drug problem. Odds are that he would be dealing drugs, raping women, murdering innocent people or – God forbid – dead already.
But he isn’t.
Instead, he stands up in church and asks for a family. No, he pleads for a family. I cannot imagine having to plead for a family. Having to plead for someone to love you not because they’re paid by the state, but because they genuinely care about you. He wants to feel connected to someone. Anyone. And when it comes right down to it, don’t we all?
He wants to play football. He wants to use the restroom without having to ask that it be unlocked.
These are simple things that shouldn’t be denied to our kids. And yet, they have been denied to Davion.
My heart sank this morning when I read this story. How does this happen? There are about 400,000 kids in the US Foster Care system. My question is – why are there so many kids in need of permanent homes when there are so many people unable to have biological children who are yearning for the chance to parent a child?
Is it because there aren’t enough families interested in fostering or adopting older children or those with troubled backgrounds?
Is it a lack of money?
Not enough awareness?
Are these kids not pretty enough? Young enough? White enough?
Have you read Nia Vardalos’ book “Instant Mom” ? I have and to say I devoured it would be an understatement. Long story short, she and her husband were unable to conceive a child through all of the normal and medical routes. With a heavy (but open) heart, she explored alternatives. Blowing away all Hollywood stereotypes, she and her husband adopted an American child from the Foster Care system. Her story was real and compelling and I couldn’t put the book down. Now, she’s an adoption advocate who works aggressively to get the word out about the growing number of children who are aging in a failing foster care system.
Many of you know I placed my son in an open adoption 25 years ago. I’ve shared my story in a number of places. Adoption isn’t for everyone, but it was the right choice for me and my son at the time. I feel extremely fortunate to have a close and loving relationship with him and his family to this day.
Yeah, I hate the word “blessed.” I believe in a very loving God. One who looks out for all children. Not just the uncomplicated ones.
When I think of my two young daughters that I parent with my husband – and my son who was raised by a phenomenal family and is making his way in the world as an independent young man – I don’t feel blessed.
I feel enormous gratitude.
I feel like we’re the lucky ones.