If I asked you today, what would be your response if you found out one of your children was being abused, treated unfairly, or neglected by someone else?
I'm pretty sure I know your answer.
You'd fight with everything in you to make sure that you protected them and guarded them from injustice.
It's what any loving parent would do.
That fierce instinct is born in us the minute we meet the little ones we call our own.
But what about the kids that aren't ours? What about the kids that, in fact, don't belong to anyone?
There are millions of children, internationally and in our very own cities, who don't have anyone fighting for them.
They are being abused, neglected, and ignored.
And they need an advocate.
Advocate: A person who pleads for or in behalf
or another; intercessor.
You don't need money to advocate.
You don't need a degree in social work.
You don't need to have all the answers.
You just need to use your voice to fight for the lives of children hurting around you.
Let me share a few of my everyday heroes who have been advocating for the children around them.
*My foster mom friend, "S" who has been fostering a six month old baby girl since she was born. They LOVE this baby girl, but have known that she would not stay with them forever. Two families have petitioned for custody of the baby and "S" did not have a great feeling about one of the families. She spoke at length to the social worker about her concerns and the baby was placed in the other family!
"S" was advocating for the baby's best interest- she had no claim on her, the baby was leaving her house whether she wanted her to or not- so she was going to make sure that the child had a fighting chance at life in her next placement. THIS is why we need more loving, involved foster parents!
*My blog-world friend Lindsy- her family has been caring for two little ones that have been in and out of their home the last few months. They are in an unhealthy situation with their birthmom, and Lindsy and her husband have been fighting to provide stability for them. When they went MIA with their birthmom a week ago, Lindsy did everything in her power to locate them and connect social services with them.
Their story is still unfolding, but Lindsy and her husband will continue to fight for them until they are in a safe place, whether it is their home or somewhere else.
*My friend Andrea- this summer, her family of six hosted an 16 year old girl, Tetiana from the Ukraine in their home for five weeks. She has spent most of her life in the orphanage and would "age out" of the orphanage while spending the summer in the US. (When a child ages out of an Eastern European orphanage, the statistics are high that they will end up homeless, in prostitution or on drugs. )
At the start of the summer, Tatiana was adamant she did NOT want to be adopted... however, by the end of the five weeks, she had changed her mind, and time was running out. Though she would not be a good fit in Andrea's family of four little kids under age 8, Andrea put Tetiana's story out on her blog and facebook, hoping that a family would have all their paperwork together and be able to adopt her at the last minute.
Unbelievably, through a CRAZY string of events- there was a family who were able to adopt her! They went to court yesterday! If you have time, please read this story- it's amazing.
NONE of these families were advocating for their own children or children they were going to adopt- but their voices have and are making a HUGE impact in the lives of children who don't get to make their own decisions about their future.
Friends- YOU have voices.
In fact, I know some of you personally- and you've got really loud mouths. :)
Please, please, please use your voices to advocate for the children around you.
No matter where you live, there are hurting, abused, and neglected children that are close by.
Please be their voice.