Yesterday, I had the honor of attending a bus tour hosted by CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children). This event took community leaders on a ‘tour’ through the life of the foster system. We saw first-hand the experiences a child sees as they are removed from their home for their own protection.
While the news media bickers and reflects on the negatives between Hilary and Trump; I want to switch your focus on to something else for a hot second . . .
Listen to me:
The meeting was scheduled from 8am-12pm. Ummm?! Like most of you, I have a busy life and I am currently on a deadline for my latest novel, I don’t have time for another event this week, but something told me to go.
My gut? My mama’s instinct? My obligation to the voters? No, it was something bigger. As a believer, I knew that something was Jesus and I needed to listen and BOY DID HE SPEAK all day.
After the initial introductions of community leaders, school personnel, and volunteers, we loaded two school buses. We were given a card with the face of a child and their fictional story and one black trash bag to hold our belongings, and nothing else.
I read my car; I was a sixteen year old girl placed into the system for my own protection. Taken away from familiar faces and driven to DFACS.
I did close my eyes for a moment, as instructed, and placed myself in her shoes. I could not keep my eyes closed long; I did not want to be in her shoes. A fear swept over me as I am the parent of teenagers. Fear of being separated from my own children for even a moment terrified me. My heart broken for this fictional child who represents hundreds of real children.
I was quickly reminded by our CASA leader, not all parents share my values, instincts, and morals and it often becomes necessary to remove children from their home in order to keep them safe.
We toured the DFACS facility in Coweta County. I took mental notes of the old furniture, the decaying playground, the overwhelmed workers and said a prayer as I walked down the hallways of where so many sad and frightened children come daily.
We stopped by the hospital where an emergency room doctor explained to us the trauma he has seen while doing his job. He told us how difficult it is to decide if the child/infant suffers from abuse. There are many scientific ways to tell (I will not disclose that information).
My eyes watered as he described infants with head trauma. His own eyes pooled with tears as he told us the difficult decisions he has made to remove abused children. What a God moment. He told us of a 4 month old baby who suffered with brain bleeds from the hands of his ‘loving’ parents. Jesus was still talking and using these brilliant doctors to protect children.
The next stop on our tour was the court house. Family, juvenile court. Judge Wyant shared a heart-felt moment as folks believe he and his staff grow ‘immune’ to the daily grind of working with the juvenile court system and the grind of deciding parental/legal rights. He says you can never grow calloused to this profession. He and his staff have a heart for children; it reflected from his entire being. (I am a great judge of character).
He told us parents do have rights, but children must be protected. My heart reached out to this man who is in the position of making these very difficult decisions for children every day. I will add him to my daily prayer list. He and his precious dog; the one he uses in his courtroom to ‘ease’ the crying child whose fear can often be calmed by the dog’s presence. Truly a man after God’s own heart.
Our tour ended back at Werz Office with a video. The video is linked below for you to watch. Please watch it.
“REMOVED” is powerful! As we,community and church leaders, sat together to watch this video, I wept. I wept for the children who suffer, the parents who are too drug addicted or immature to care for them, and for the authorities who must intervene no matter how overwhelmed and under-paid they are; these social workers step up! And for the spiritual warfare attacking these innocent children daily. (We need a county wide WAR ROOM)
To the foster family’s the doctors, the nurses, the teachers, the CASA’s, the social workers, there are no words of wisdom from me . . . ONLY, you are called and God is using you all in a powerful way.THANK YOU.
I will do my part. I will do my part. I will do my part.
“Let the little children come unto me . . . ”
I salute our teachers who work in the lives of these children daily and offer a familiar face and love to these abused little ones.
My eyes have been opened. I will do my part.
Reach out to your local school counselors. Ask what you can do. Ask DFACS. Buy groceries or diapers for a foster family near you. Take a meal to a foster family near you. DO YOUR PART.You are called. We are called to take care of the little children.