Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Brian and I watched The Blind Side this past weekend.  We had seen it in the movie theater when it first came out a few years ago and loved it. This time, I watched it through different eyes.  Eyes that are now open to the chaos of so many of lives of children who have been through the foster care system. 

There were pieces in the movie that absolutely hit me in a way that never affected me the first time. 

One is the cultural vernacular used to explain where someone lives.  Michael used it to explain about his brother he hadn't seen in years.  He explained, I don't know where "he stays."  

It's a term we've heard as we've spent more and more time with inner city teenagers.  It breaks my heart, and here is why- because there is no permanency.  No refuge for them.  So many of the inner city kids involved in our ministry have moved and moved frequently.   Often, they aren't moving as a family unit.  Their home has been broken, so they have to find somewhere "to stay." 

Some of the kids we've worked with have moved five times in the past two years.  With their mom, over to their dad, then to an aunt, a girlfriend's uncle, a friend from school....  

No permanency. No refuge. 

In the movie, Michael runs into his brother at a restaurant. After a long, long embrace, he joins the Tuohy family back in their car.  They ask him who he was hugging, and he tells them it was his brother. LeAnn Tuohy asks when was the last time he saw him... and Michael shared that he hadn't seen him since they were little kids. 

It was at that point I burst into ugly, ugly sobs.  Brian looked at me in disbelief wondering why I had just spontaneously combusted. 

My thoughts went to our little man.  Through no choice of his own, he's already on the path that Michael had been.  He has siblings. Never met any of them.  

I want him to KNOW them.  I don't want him to grow up and never meet the siblings that share his bloodline and live in the same town.  

Today, at the visitation, he got to meet two of his brothers for the first time.   I am thrilled that his brothers got to see him.  That meeting meant nothing to them at this point, as they are all so little, but it gave me hope that maybe they will have a future together. 

I know I'm a broken record when it comes to foster care.  But I truly believe that this is a system that can be CHANGED-- when families decide to get a little uncomfortable, take a risk, and open their homes to children who need a safe refuge. 

We like to talk a lot about those poor, helpless children in the system. We'll click our tongues, an say "Bless their sweet hearts." Then move on to the next topic.  

That was me.  For a long time.  I wanted someone else to solve the problems because bringing foster kids into my home was going to be too inconvenient.  I felt that there were plenty of other people who would be great foster parents. Not me. 

I think the Christian community is especially guilty of this.  We want someone else to solve the problem. We want women to not have abortions, but then we aren't willing to take care of their children if they birth them into a world of chaos. 

We've been blind-sided to think that this isn't our problem.  

I disagree.  It's a messy, broken, and uncomfortable problem.  But we can't ignore it anymore. 

"The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed.  A place of refuge in times of trouble."  Psalm 9:9. 

If we are to be the hands and feet of Christ, doesn't that mean we should be a place of refuge too? 


  1. This was painful for me to read. I'm 65. Live in "subsidized housing". Never was an inner city kid;
    but was the child of a restless father. My memories are of us always moving somewhere. We even stayed put in one town in N.Dak. but in the 4 years we lived in this small town, moved to 5 different houses. I've always had trouble making friends. Never have been a joiner. Resist authority. Couldn't suceed at a career, although well educated.
    Feel like a failure. Not close to my family members that haven't died off. Happy to live in my subsidized housing on social security disability. I appreciate each day I feel good with
    the heart problems I inherited...cardiomyopathy and atrial fibrillation. mm, vancouver, wa.

  2. This is so good Leslie!!! My heart longs to foster one day! I truly wish it was today...can't wait for this!!!!!

  3. So well written Leslie. I especially like the point about us as Christians needing to be willing to care for the children that we are advocating life for...very thought-provoking. Praying for you guys both in this adventure and the Congo adventure to come!

  4. Excellent post. I was always one who said I could "never" foster. Wasn't willing to even entertain the thought, but lately I believe God is starting to soften my heart to this very thing. Now praying God would soften my husband's heart as well.

  5. This is such a great post! I follow lots of blogs of families pursuing international adoption (obviously yours included) and love hearing their stories. We want to adopt internationally too. But US foster kids have always captured my heart, since I studied human services in college. My favorite job EVER (except mommying of course) was working in a residential facility for kids in foster care. They had a lot of special emotional needs, but they were wonderful. There was one kid in particular I wish I could have taken home with me. Someday I pray we'll foster...I think it'll happen! Husband needs to be 100% on board, so it may be a few years.

    Blind Side was a great film too. So emotional for me and eye-opening to lots of people. Come on, body of Christ- let's give these kids a home!