Coming of Age…

I met a young man at our shelter that I can’t quite have peace about. He will be considered an adult in seven months. He doesn’t work and was removed from an environment where he was responsible for himself for long periods of the day without food or money for food, which resorted in him doing whatever it took to appease the hunger pains. Now he has a paper trail with requirements and constraints that will follow him.

Tonight I was wondering why his story broke my heart more than the young girl that came in the other day because her mom punched her in the face several times. It was vexing, but I finally figured it out. The young girl is cute and compliant. She can still play dress up, be cute, and girls are typically more desirable. He is an older teen who had a speckled history. She had a resiliency that he doesn’t have right now. First off she was placed while he remains with us. He has to do some serious catching up to do in order be prepared or there are some pretty negative consequences and it’s not his fault that he is so late in the game.

In less than a year, the state will dust off their hands and say “go out and make it.” Looking at his history, it doesn’t seem like he has been taught many adult life skills outside of what you would learn in a classroom it’s on the streets. My heart hurts because he is a good kid. He is funny, and offers to help do dishes our other chores. He is compliant, and he is respectful.

On paper he is undesirable. In person I can’t understand why he hasn’t been loved like every child deserves.

I think what hurts most is that I know the rejection that is occurring right now as the placement department makes their calls to find a home. The fear that this may be a rogue kid based on what’s been documented permeates every “no” from the providers that are contacted. I understand. I’ve been in their predicament to have to make a decision with only the second hand facts and no personal eyewitness information. You do it praying that you have made the right choice for the child, foster parents, and your agency. It’s hard to make decisions sight-unseen, but it’s the nature of the beast.

My concern is what is going to happen on his birthday? Will he get a cake? Will he be looking forward to furthering his education? Will he be talking about some summer plans with friends to celebrate new found freedom. While deep down I know the answer is probably not, I am going to pray and have faith that in his case God is going to provide a mentor and home for this young man. I can’t say enough that he.is.a.good.kid! God please come through for him! Please also give me enough peace to sleep tonight because right now I can’t get the injustice out of my mind and I’m no longer tired, but angry and sad.

Today in our weekly devotional Pastor Doug talked about co-laboring and the fact that we have others with us. God is with us always, and we need to remember this fact when times get tough. I was personally touched by the message today because over the past few weeks I have wanted to give up on this. I wanted to say “see you later I’m going back to the corporate world so I can make twice as much money and go on fabulous vacations. I’m overwhelmed and weary, and I don’t think you need me to make a difference.” Today it was mentioned that if we do things because of their cause then we still be overtaken by the need. We have to realign our motives to act because of the love of Christ, which has the power to do anything. I am overwhelmed, but God has broken my heart so I have no choice but to stay the course in this season. God loves each of us so much. I love God, and part of the command for love includes loving our neighbors as we love ourselves.

Pastor Doug said, “The closer you are to God the more sensitive you are to the needs of the least of these (poor, orphan, widows,etc).” Is that why I drive home snot-nosed and blurry-eyed at least once a week? Lately I have felt silence from God when it comes to receiving direction for decisions to be made, and maybe it has been so I can mourn with him right now so that I will be stirred to love like he does.

Romans 12:15 says “Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.” I know God weeps for these babies….I weep for them too. We all do.

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3 thoughts on “Coming of Age…

  1. My name is Trish Zenczak, and I’m certified Life Coach/Graduation Coach. I worked with adults and teens to help them find direction, discover potential and create a plan of action for finding success, and recently, God has laid it on my heart to focus on those aging out of the foster care system.

    I’m willing to offer my assistance and I’d love to talk more privately through email. If you’ll email me at Trish@GraduationCoach.com, I’ll be happy to explain more fully.

    Respectfully,
    Trish

    I do have a part-time job although it’s seasonal (based on the school year) and I am entering the slow period of the year and would like to take advantage of the extra time over the summer to work with teens/young adults in the system.

    I am hoping to use the life coaching, teaching and speaking portion of my skills and volunteer this summer. I’d love to help with any opportunity where I may speak with groups of students (or professionals that work with these young adults) or do some individual or group life coaching.

    Although the information is pretty basic since the business is technically on “hiatus”, you may check out my website at http://www.graduationcoach.com for a better understanding of my work.

    I believe my background is perfect and could greatly help.

    First, my husband and I are previous foster parents, so I have experience working with the system.

    Second, I’ve had a childhood similar to many of our foster children and lived for a good part of my life in Christian children’s homes. I was a high school dropout and moved out away from home at age 16. While living on my own at the age of 17, I returned to high school and graduated in the top 5% of my class. I paid my own way through college while working numerous jobs without parental support. I’d love to share my story as appropriate and when motivational with others.

    Third, my educational background and professional experience qualifies me to work with these young adults. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Communication (with a certification in high school English) from Florida Atlantic University, and after college I became a high school teacher in the Palm Beach County public school system (taught English and competitive speech and debate for 15 years). Later, I received my Master’s in Educational Leadership from Lynn University. I became a professional certified Life Coach in 2007

    As you can see, my personal experience, my educational background, my experience as a teacher and as a foster parent, as well as my personal story have all afforded me personal and professional qualifications to work with the “unmotivated and wounded” child.

    I know I’ve been given this “dream” (to encourage, motivate and inspire) for a reason. I love working with students to help them become driven, self-advocating and responsible for their own success. I hope you find a connection in my story and willing heart. If you see an area where I may assist with any of your programs in the coming months, please feel free to call me at 561-714-8789 so we may discuss those opportunities.

    I look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Respectfully,
    Trish Zenczak Graduation Coach

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