(Photo credits: http://lookslikegooddesign.com/crying-children-jill-greenberg/)
Today started out as a normal day. Devotional at work, lunch with a couple of friends, quick nap, and then off to start my shift. There was nothing alarming about the circumstances when I came in the door, and I didn’t feel the heaviness that ensued later on in the evening. For those of you who have read my posts on facebook and or on this blog, you already know my heart condition when it comes to my work. I am highly grieved for these children,and it causes me to press onward for their benefit daily. Today, was to be an interesting day that made me flex my nurturing muscles in a way that I wasn’t sure they would bend.
Children have scheduled visits with their biological families, which can include parents, siblings, and extended family. Today, was a normal visit for a child that was in our facility. About 20 minutes into the visit, I heard screaming. Staff from the other side asked if a particular volunteer was working because the child connected with this person, and it was very apparent that there was a close bond. The volunteer was no longer in the building so I was asked to calm the child. This distraught four year old was upset that neither grandma nor dad could come to the rescue. The child didn’t want to be at Safe Place or anywhere else that wasn’t with mom, grandma, or dad. He was making his little body sick with his screams and thrashing about the visitation room. He could be heard through both sides of the building. Everyone was frantic to see what was wrong!
I can’t say I felt like I had much that I could really contribute. I had no answers. He didn’t want to come with me back to our area, but he had no choice. We went into a room where he threw his toy, cried on the bed, screamed, and yelled. What broke my heart the most was that he kept reaching his arms up to the sky crying ” Momma, momma, I wanna go with momma, daddy, gramma!” I couldn’t appease him or give into his desires. As he did this, I was praying while sitting at the door for whatever spirit that was afflicting him to leave, and pleading that God would hear his cries and give him some peace because he was truly suffering.
After about 10 minutes of letting him cry, I pulled him close to me and said ” I am sorry baby, but you can’t go with them right now. Everyone is trying hard to make sure all the things you need are taken care of, but for now you are going to a nice home that will love you and care for you!” I put him on my lap and rocked him in the rocking chair while he continued to scream, but it was OK. I didn’t mind the ear-piercing yells for help that no one could really answer. Eventually he did settle down and I asked him if he was mad and sad. He nodded his head as to answer “yes.” I told him that these feelings were OK, and now that he expressed them it was time to start feeling better. I told him that it is always OK to have emotions and they are very real. I told him that this was scary and it was confusing and we all knew that, but someone else bigger than us knew it too – God. I reassured this little lamb that he was loved more than he could ever imagine and that God made him uniquely – there is no one else in the world just like him! I told him that he can grow up to be anything he wanted and God would help him. He gave me another hug and I cried over this little boy who was trying to be strong, but just couldn’t do it anymore. It’s not his fault that he is now in foster care, and there is nothing he can do other than to try and be a “big boy.”
He was OK… the crying stopped. I asked him if he knew any songs and he kind of stammered. I asked if I could teach him one. He obliged and he learned Jesus Loves Me tonight. He sang the chorus with me before we went to the kitchen to eat some chicken nuggets.
Right after he finished, it was time for him to be taken to his foster home (a 4KIDS home!). He was sitting at the table with another young lady, who was also very sweet and touching, when he said ” She’s my friend (referring to me) I like her a lot.”
That made me smile….
Later, I met a teen girl who ended up at Safe Place with her siblings. She was the eldest. She told me about how she cares for her siblings and how she feels responsible for them being in care because she ran away from home (obviously found now). Later on this evening she came to me and said she isn’t comfortable here and wanted to run away. She knew a place where she could go. I was really scared for her. This is a voluntary shelter, we can’t force children to stay here. Despite that, we have to encourage them to stay because the street is no place for a young lady.
She was crying and puffy-faced. I asked if we could pray together and she let me pray over her. I told her that she has been through a lot today, and it was important that she rest. If she still felt this way in the morning then she could speak with a placement specialist. I don’t want her to run. This young lady has a bright future. She has a past that is weighing her down and makes her feel devalued, but that simply is a lie. I checked back on her 10 minutes after our chat and she had fallen asleep, thank God! Lord, you are before all things and in you all things are held together. Redeem the time for these little ones, Lord. loose the ties of generational sin from their lives. Help them to be free from the chains of oppression that are so tightly strapped to their lives. Free them Lord! Hear their cries. The burden they shouldn’t bear is still upon them. Lord I trust that there is a plan and I will remain faithful to serve along side my brothers and sisters as your Will is done in their lives. Amen.