Trevor* was three-years-old when the relatives who planned to adopt him changed their minds and abandoned him in the emergency room of a local hospital. Three years later, Trevor's adoptive parents sent pictures of a little boy grinning from ear to ear and getting onto a school bus for his first day of kindergarten.
Rhonda* was a drug-addicted mother on the verge of permanently losing custody of her seven-year-old daughter, Mikki*. Ronda got sober and went on to become an addictions counselor. Mikki, formerly in foster care, on medication for depression, and failing first grade was reunited with her mom. Today she is eleven-years-old, on the honor roll, and sings in the church choir.
Eighteen-month-old Josh* was in the backseat of his mother's car when she drove drunk and crashed into a concrete barrier. He was grossly neglected and physically delayed to the point his pediatrician suggested he may never walk. Josh, now four, went sled riding last week, giggling all the way down a hill and climbing back up with his foster brothers and sisters. His foster parents, along with physical therapists and others, have lavished devotion, professional skill, and ton of love onto this little boy. It shows in his wide grin, eyes that sparkle, and his healthy body that can do everything other preschoolers can do.
CASAs, foster parents, social workers, therapists, and countless others build the bridges between horror and hope for hurting children. They give the gift of new life every single day, despite how difficult and devastating it can be. They know the cost of standing in the gap for children who need safety and protection is a small price to pay for the reward of a job well done and a child saved.
Only two small words can begin to suffice when I think about what these people offer to children and to our world: thank you.
If you want to learn more about how you can help a foster child, visit www.invisiblekidsthebook.com for ideas on getting educated or getting involved.
*Names have been changed to protect identity.