Our youngest son turned 4 yesterday. This little boy of ours came to us when he was 18 months old through Foster Care. When I think about it, he has spent more time living with us than he did with his own parents or other care providers. The thought of this saddens me. I look at my own biological children and can’t even for one moment comprehend them living anywhere else but with me.
I find it ironic, or maybe God’s perfect timing, the day before his birthday our Case Worker dropped off his entire file. When I got home my wife presented me with a 3 inch binder of information pertaining to his case. Sadly his biological mother in her adolescence became addicted to crack and heroine thanks to her own mom. She came from a home of drug addiction, theft and fraud, seeing this as a normal way to do life. In reading her history, it seems as though she was broken and chose to embrace this as a means of coping to get through life. Her attempts at getting clean, sober and changing her life have been minimal. His biological father came from a broken home as well, with a father that chose to leave and left this young man to give up on school and making something of himself. He chooses to engage in sexual immorality, fathering 2 other children and taking no responsibility for them. His other choices were physical abuse, drugs and theft as well. Both of our son’s biological parents have continued to make poor choices and neither one of them is even 25 yet.
Their own brokenness combined together was toxic; bringing a child into this world they were not prepared for and did not have the means to take care of. Our son was born drug addicted, it took him 3 months to detox, and even before he was a year old he witnessed domestic violence, drug addiction and a trip to the ER for blistering his hand on a crack pipe. Thankfully by God’s grace, DHS intervened and removed him from this environment.
In reading through this, it moved me to tears. It made me think of my own children and the environment we have chosen to raise them in. The moment I held each one of my children in my arms, I dreamt of all the things I would do to protect them, provide for them and do whatever it took to ensure they had a better quality of life than I ever had.
As someone involved in the system, I know there is always more to the story than what has happened. There’s a story behind all of it. The story of their lives is similar to my story in the sense that I have been broken; I have made choices that were less than noble. I have on to many occasions even as an adult chosen to take the easy way out rather than fight. I thought only of my selfish needs and desires. While their story is hard to read and take in, it’s also the story of a lot of us. We are all broken, we all have events that have shaped us in our lives and we’ve all chosen things we knew we shouldn’t.
The other part to this story is the story of redemption. The story of God at work through all of it. God rescuing us from ourselves. God loving us in spite of our brokenness, more than we could ever imagine. God welcoming us into his family, adopting us and making part of a family unlike none we’ve ever known. I have experienced this redemption, I have experienced this love, grace and family and it is only by God’s grace I haven’t gone down the same roads as my son’s parents.
I continue to pray for his parents, even though sometimes I don’t want to. I pray that God will make himself known to them in ways they never imagined. I hope they will see there is so much more to life than where they are headed.
3 years ago after we bough our house, my oldest son who at the time was 9 asked if we could find a brother his age, because having 4 sisters is a bit much. We prayed and asked God to bring another boy into our family. We weren’t expecting little Eli, he was still a little baby himself. 2 weeks into having him live with us, all of our hearts melted and he just fit. Many times it’s hard to think back and remember there was a life before Eli. I wonder if God thinks the same thing about us once we are born. I imagine he does.