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?