The answer is pretty simple, really. I'm advocating for healing and understanding; for kids whose lives are crumbling beneath them to find love in Jesus and his followers.
Recently I decided to tackle the task of bringing an organization from Illinois to little old South Carolina so that these broken hearted kids in our own backyard could be shown a Savior who loves them deeply. The Forgotten Initiative is a group of regular people who knew God was telling them that feeling sorry for these children wasn't enough.
As the South Carolina Advocate for TFI, I've already gotten to see how a helping hand and a little love can bring the life back into the lives of some of our overwhelmed social workers. Just knowing that there are people who care about them and are praying for the work they are doing can mean the world to someone. I was devastated when a social worker told me that she was glad that not everyone thought they were terrible people and simply out to break up families.
I wasn't sure whether to celebrate or cry on the day that three young teenagers walked into an emergency shelter after school and were literally ecstatic to show me the new shoes they were given to wear to school the next day.
I was in shock when I heard that case workers have to bring children into the agency and bathe them because they are covered in filth. Then to make matters worse, they have to put them back in their dirty clothes because they don't have any clean clothes to give them.
I saw how priveledged my life has always been when I heard that many teenagers in foster care have to drop out of school during their senior years in high school because they have turned 18 and are suddenly on their own with no idea how to make a resume, set up a budget, buy a car, get a bank account, fill out the FAFSA or apply for college.
Is this America? Does this happen in our neighborhoods? Does this happen to our childrens' friends whose parents were killed in a car accident or were caught up in some shooting? Are there people out there that let their boyfriends stick pushpins in their babies and claim they didn't know? Are their kids who are born to parents that are just kids themselves?
We can't sit idly by and let children suffer for the sins of their fathers. We can't punish a little girl whose father was abusive to her. We can't expect an 18 year old boy with no place to live and no food on his table to wake up every morning to go to high school. We have to show them love. They need a Savior and a God who is bigger than their circumstances, but they need us to show them that God. Healing can come for these little ones, but we have to be willing to let God use our hands and feet to bring it to them.