I met a lady this week whose daughters had been starved. In Manchester. About 30mins from my home. So when they came to her, after being in different foster care homes, when they finally had a mummy- they would always need to be able to see food. They can’t have cupboards empty or hear someone say they are hungry, or be unsure when they’ll eat. Meal times have to be at the same time each day so that they know they will be fed.
I also heard from a Mum who is trying to work with the school because her son came to him at five years old, so he has to be in school full time. Yet while school are trying to educate him, he didn’t speak. He only spoke at home because he felt safe there and didn’t at school.
I met one Dad who told his daughter that they were going on holiday, so she can choose a couple toys to take for the suitcase. He went to get a drink, came back to his daughter’s room, and she had taken every toy, every item of clothing, every photo, every poster off the walls- even unplugged her night light. In order to take everything with her as she wasn’t sure if this meant she’d never come home again.
I was there to learn from a educational physiologist about transition periods, and it was fascinating. Yet I spent most of the time trying not to cry. She spoke about how resilient children can be and also what great pressures, trials and stresses can be on them. She asked a simple question:
‘If you had to start a new job tomorrow, in a new area, with new colleagues. How would you feel, what worries would you have?’
That sets anxiety running in most adults, simple things become huge…
‘Where would I park? What if I got lost? Where are the toilets? Will people like me? Will I know enough to do well?’
My son is in nursery and in September he will start school. I hadn’t properly imagined the emotions and questions he will have about such a new experience and the fear that could come for him. Not only that but the physiologist spoke about statistics, about young people’s struggle with identity, the rise of social media and about external and internal influences.. I could feel my anxiety rising.
The responsibility to raise a child suddenly weighed so heavy on me. Guilt at seeing things I have already done wrong and he is only four! Things I would change if I could do it again, things I’ll start doing now and can’t believe I haven’t earlier. The ‘hierarchy of needs’ that Maslow has so kindly shared, can freak you out! If some of the foundations are out of place, the whole pyramid could no longer stand. The panic was rising in me at this point and my eyes were ready to burst, so I sat, trying not to cry…
Then I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned around to see who had placed it there. Nobody. Yet the feeling of the hand was very real, very firm, very reassuring. I have felt this hand before, many years ago when working in prison.
Years ago when I knew that I would have to stand up and speak to a room full of prisoners, to wrap up a service and encourage these women to know God (I blogged about it but I’ve looked and there’s so many blogposts I can’t find it!). Anxiety built up strongly within me and I felt this same hand.
“If you truly knew I was right here, would you worry?”
The same feeling tonight.
“Stop there. Let’s not let fear in. Identity, needs met, future and decisions- we’ll do it together. If you truly knew I was right here, would you worry?”
This is the hope that I have. That Loz and I do not parent alone. Our decisions are not what ultimately will define our children. I believe in this Jesus who held my shoulder, who says He is there. He is the one who knows all things, who sets eternity in men’s hearts, who has plans and purpose for my boy far greater than any I could plan. He will guide us and strengthen us and give us the grace and the wisdom at the right time. He is where my Lions identity will be held.
Last week’s meeting meant that I met some incredible people. I heard some awfully sad stories of what happened to these children. It could make some people blame God, be angry at Him for why He allows this to happen. Yet I heard Him say clearly many years ago:
“When you foster or adopt you are literally saving lives. Will you look after my children?”
He claims them, hurts when they hurt, is doing far more than we know- and He is asking us to partner with Him to rescue. To save lives. Yes it’s messy and hard and might be uncomfortable- yet it looks to me to be the closest thing to God’s heart that I can possibly see here on earth.
Those girls now have a mummy who feeds them and works all plans around their needs. That boy has a mummy who fought to have her son with her at home more so she would help him talk and now he’s never quiet! That little girl had a wonderful holiday and saw that she could come home and be safe, that she might go away but will always now come home to a Daddy who adores her.
Lives changed. Hope restored. Futures transformed. I am into Adoption, I always have been, I wrote about it in a previous blogpost called ‘I 💛 Adoption‘ as God showed me Adoption through Moses, David. Esther, Daniel, even Jesus by Joseph. It’s weaved through the Bible and it’s the plan God has for each of us, that we are adopted in- fully sons and heirs and therefore all authority, love, power and glory is ours. When we know and love Adoption we know and love God more.
So, I ask you to just give it a thought. Check in again, could God be asking you to look after one of HIS children and them be YOURS. We’ve just had Poppy and I know now is not a time for us, yet I will always check in and ask, because there are children wanting a mummy & daddy and a God who is in the business of redemption, beauty from ashes, hope and a future. Just as He did for Joseph, they will also say:
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50.20
(Photo is not mine. Also, I didn’t know what title to give this post! The details of each story of others have been tweaked to protect them)
Thank you for sharing this Hannah. Such a good reminder that we have a perfect parent to help us guide our own wee ones. It can be so overwhelming as there’s so much research and so many books telling us what’s right and what’s wrong… and most of it conflicting… parenting is hard. So glad we’ve got that hand on our shoulders.