Our time with E is coming to a close. A little over 5 weeks together and he will be going to live with his dad's auntie. I wanted to share some of what I have learned through this experience:
- Safe Families is amazing! My family has experienced great joy having E living with us. My children absolutely love him and we have been thrilled to watch E get chubby. E fit right into our "groove" and Joe and I learned that going from 5 to 6 kids was nothing.
- I learned that it is OK for E to call me "ma" and to call Joe, "Da". I was worried about this and wondered what would happen when we saw his mom. What I have experienced on our weekly visits is that E knows who his momma is...and I am just another "ma" who loves and nurtures him. When we are with E's momma, he runs to her and is attached to her. That made me and E's momma feel so happy about this ministry. She doesn't feel threatened by me, and E still knows who his momma is.
- I have see the ups and the downs of being a teen mom. E's momma plays with E like a child - like they are playmates. She is very different than me in that, as I am now an almost 40 year old momma who enjoys watching -ha! But, I have also seen the selfishness and the moodiness of a teen mom. If she doesn't like something, we ALL know about it...the pouting is unbelievable. Like her social worker said, "She is 18 going on 13 most times."
- I have learned how hurting our cities are. E and his momma are growing up in a culture that does not support loving, intact families in any way. Dad's don't stay around. Girls turn to sex to fill a hole in their hearts. Making the best decision is not often done.
- I have learned that the poor inner-city people don't trust the while, suburban people. Why should they? What have we done to earn trust? We have deserted them...left them to their poverty and their pain....saying things like "They made their bed...now they can lie in it." It is going to take a lot of time before walls are broken down and trust develops.
- I have learned that even Christians are full of talk and not much follow through. As far as I am concerned, if every Christian family did SOMETHING....we would not see the amount of crime, poverty, helplessness, depression, mental illness that we see now in our cities. Sometimes I am so ashamed of the American church who think they are blessed which means they can go purchase a bigger house, a nicer car, the newest fashions....while people, real life human beings who have so much potential are IGNORED.
- I have learned that the greatest part of Safe Families is that we are sowing seeds. I have learned that there will not be very many "happy endings", but I have learned that these children are GOD'S children and HE will love them and care for them. Our job is to sow seeds and then trust that God will do the rest.