the box

slice buttonI became very, very sad last week.  My small group took a detour from our study, went to Panera and then to a short film called the Baby Box. It was the story of a South Korean man and his wife who created this box structure on the front side of their house.  Women could bring their unwanted newborn infants, place them in this box, ring the bell and the man and his family would take in the unwanted child.  It was a story of pain and passion as this family embraced these children with multiple disabilities.

Isn’t it hard to imagine someone wrapping up their infant, putting them in this box that looked like a giant mailbox, in the hopes that the child would have a better life without them?

It was agonizing to watch.

But,  amazing to watch the angels of mercy, in less than, good conditions, devote their lives in this way.  ,

……………………………………………………….

In a few short months, our foster daughter will be getting married.  We did not raise her.  She was in a group home, and two foster homes before she came to live in our home her senior year of high school.  Many of you are thinking maybe, well she just lived with you a short time and then hopefully went away for college and still keeps in touch.  Easy, no it wasn’t, and it really still isn’t.  She was lucky, smart and beautiful and did finish college and does well enough to live on her own.  She is the exception to the rule, and is a living example of person growing up in the system, ‘healthy’.   Most children moving from the system to our society are emancipated at the age of 18.  The majority have no supports in place.

Kelly had us.

Many couch surf.

Most do not have transportation.

Most do not have a high school diploma and very few make it through two years of college.

Many drift back into very, very difficult former family situations.

Substance abuse is common and so and many are homeless or involved in prostitution.

Our jails house many former foster youth.  Many of these youth, unless some intervention takes place, are lost forever.

I think we as a country need a giant ‘baby box’ and many need to stand up and support these young people at ‘risk’.

Dave and I came into our situation with our daughter very green, no experience, no one to talk with us about how we needed to proceed.  Nothing was expected of us, there was no history given, there was no monetary support or counseling.  I expected that she would be off to college and that would be that.  Eleven years later, we still are having late night conversations and pow-wows to solve problems.  We have been to therapy and back.  This journey is not for the faint of heart.  On many days I do not have the strength.

But this is exactly what really needs to happen.  Children are still children at 18 years old.  Those of you with 18 year olds know this.  And I’ve said this a million times, their frontal lobe is not full developed until age 25.  They need us!

They need you…be open to mentoring a foster youth.  Your life will never be the same, if you swing open the door of your heart.

PS  I know that this sounds grim, why would you want to sign up for something like this… because of joy…joy comes with justice…and seeing the person whom you’ve invested in dream big, wide and deep

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12 thoughts on “the box

  1. What you have written is so true and real. We do need to support these children. You and your husband are a gift to your daughter. I come from a family that took in many foster children over years. It definitely isn’t easy. It’s hard hard work. Thank you.

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  2. A lovely post – with a lovely message. And I disagree, although the statistics you share are grim, your message is hopeful and necessary. Your statement, “I think we as a country need a giant ‘baby box’ and many need to stand up and support these young people at ‘risk’,” is a powerful one and needs to be said. So I say, shout your message from the rooftops. You are making the world a better place.

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  3. Nanc, your heart is so large and giving. This is a message that needs to be front and center in our society. Too many children are cast aside and they have no model for their life to be able to change this cycle.

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  4. Reading your first paragraph, my mouth dropped open. Your post reminded me of an article I just read yesterday about the book Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert Putnam. This issue needs to become a part of our conversation.

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  5. I will never lose that image of the baby box. I can’t imagine.

    It seems like our system is broken. It feels like we’re failing these kids so often, doesn’t it? Bless you and your husband for opening your doors and your hearts. Again, I can’t imagine the path you’ver traveled, continue to travel. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

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  6. I completely understand your sentiments. I took in a sixteen year old about two and a half years ago. He had been one of my students when he was in 7th and 8th grades. He had mentioned that his aunt was considering putting him in foster care, and I told him to get in touch if that ever became reality. I promised I wouldn’t let him go to strangers. Two years later he contacted me, and a week after that he came to live with me. It’s been so interesting – mostly great, sometimes difficult – to have taken him on. Like you, I had no support of any kind. I think it was good that I had no idea how involving it would be. I somehow thought of him as a roommate, but what he needed was a family. I became his mom and my grown children his older siblings. Now he’s anxious to move out and live on his own. I’ll still be there in the background, though. Just in case he needs his mom. Thanks for an important post.

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  7. Your daughter is truly amazing. Some even with the supports in place live a life that is hard to manage because the damage has been done. My husband and I adopted 4 foster kids. We are praying that they will live a life that fulfills their dreams. It has been nothing but easy. I understand.

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  8. This piece says so much about you and your husband and the generous hearts you both have. It is not easy, There is no Foster Care for Dummies book to tell you what needs to be done. God bless you for your caring heart.

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  9. I love the wise generosity of this post – and your stirring call to action. I used to work in Covenant House in New York City – I saw these kids every day, and it was so hopeless and heartbreaking.

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  10. I wish more people felt the same as you! The idea of a baby box is heartbreaking but to think that those children who were given up had a better life because of it eases my mind a tad. I am thankful that there are people who take in children. Every child deserves a home where he/she is cared for and loved. Maybe someday it will be my turn!

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  11. I will never forget the Baby Box as you have described it. You have taken an excruciating image and wrapped it in your own personal experience to show so many things: needs, ministry, compassion, perseverance, and love. Beautiful.

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  12. A powerful slice, Nanc, about a difficult and very prominent (but swept under the carpet) problem in our society. Thanks to God that He gave you and your husband the ability and desire to help your daughter.

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