Every year, 27,000 teenagers will “age out” of foster care. For most, that means being tossed into the world without the skills or support necessary to lead successful lives.
This statistic is frightening, but it is also rather sterile. I can’t wrap my mind around 27 thousand people. I can’t humanize a statistic like this one. I can read articles like this one (For Teens in Foster Care, Adoption is a Lifeline) and I intellectually understand the need. But I don’t emotionally connect.
These beautiful girls deserve more than what they have. They deserve a mom who loves them. Late night talks about boys and make-up and the future should be a regular part of their lives. Someone ought to drive them to college orientation and help them decorate their new dorm rooms. When they don’t remember how to do their laundry, they should be able to text their mama. When Thanksgiving break comes at school, they should be HOME, baking and laughing with their family. When their hearts are broken, someone should cry with them. When they celebrate, someone should cheer with them. When a sweet boy proposes to one of these girls, there should be giddy phone calls and visits to bridal shops. When she tries on her first wedding gown, there should be a woman she calls “Mom”, silently crying in the corner, overwhelmed by the beauty of her sweet girl. When that first pregnancy test has two lines, there should be joy, not fear and sadness. As the contractions worsen, a mama should be holding the hand of these young women, welcoming grandchildren into the world.
If someone doesn’t see these things when they view the pictures of these girls, the future isn’t a beautiful journey. It is a dark and scary place. There will be no one to call as they learn to be adults. There will be no one to share the joyful times and no one to cry with through the pain of growing up. Adulthood without a mom is a bleak place.
Let’s stop seeing these beautiful teenagers as damaged and intimidating. Let’s remember what it was to be a teenager and ask ourselves what we would have done without our supports, without guidance.
The Lord has been so gracious to me. He has loved me when I was difficult to love. He has shown me what it is to be a daughter of the King. When I didn’t have a mama, He gave me lots of mamas. But, my heart aches because I didn’t have one mama. My very own go-to lady who loved me and could guide me. I can no longer look at the spare bedroom and empty seats around my table, and justify the reasons why these ladies will enter the world without a MOM.
Who is the Lord laying on your heart? What are your fears? What keeps you from saying YES?