One of the girls is dealing with depression at the orphanage, so I asked permission to bring her into the kitchen to help me prep the food. Making beautiful, delicious, and nutrient-dense food can be therapeutic. Today, we are making Strawberry Salad. The kids love strawberries so anticipation is growing!
However, this week one of the beautiful girls is worried. I comfort her heart without probing and questioning; only offering my gentle, encouraging words. But then she shares! “I don’t want my little brother and sister to go back to Mom. Mom will never leave that man! He will rape them just like he did me.”
Bam! Just like that is comes out. It’s a real concern that is hard to hear as it rolls off the tongue of a 15-year-old. It pierces my heart every single time. I want desperately to make it all better and the problem to go away, but it is complicated. Many people must get involved and validate that this is a problem in that home. Then there is merely the ability for the Mom to say he has moved out, and the system is designed to believe Mom. I’m never sure where imprisonment occurs and how incredibly short that seems to be for violations with children.
I want to live in a world where this is not an issue. It would be nice to have such goodness, but it is not the reality for many. To walk away from the kids just because the system doesn’t work perfectly, is an injustice to the kids. Therefore, I stay with the kids and provide a consistent, inspiring, “mom”-type for the time I have.
Falling into a volunteer role that chose me has been a hard mental transition. My world was pretty safe. We were fighting to recover some severe health issues within our family; but never did I realize the breadth and reach of so many homes dealing with heinous violations to children. Becoming a part of helping the orphans and foster kids in my community shatters so many of my naive perceptions. Number one: The home is supposed to be a safe place where kids can be kids and trust their parents to teach and protect them.
But this conversation is a sample of my weekly philanthropic efforts. I genuinely love these girls and boys. After our adoption of a child that was a “drug baby” and requires(d) a lot of work, we choose to transition our community involvement with an orphanage home for a greater reach than we can accommodate in our home. It has been genuinely eye-opening in many ways that I want to share but honestly struggle with the words sometimes. My nature is to see beauty. However, beauty has been re-defined for our family because of our involvement with foster kids and orphans.
The word-on-the-street is that foster homes, and foster parents are bad, but the truth is muddled. It seems more realistic to say that many “birth parents” are not equipped to handle life, they lose control and the State takes over their children and many “foster families” who sign up to help these children are not ready for the challenge these foster kids bring.
In my experience with hundreds of kids, it takes a lot to remove a child from their family and reunification is usually NOT the best answer. When a child is removed from their home, it is a huge indication of a violent home which is harmful to the child. There are exceptions, but they are “exceptions”. However, when you dig deep and look at the statistics, there is a lot of movement from house to group home to institutions which causes unstable environments and another layer of difficulty for these foster kids.
Right now, the issue with this girl concerned for her siblings isn’t my first experience; it’s my multitude; my usual over the past 10 years! It is disappointing that movies and media attention show the exceptions to the rule because it has propagated a false impression of the people involved in the Foster System. Most foster parents, social workers, and guardian ad litems are portrayed as under-handed, stupid, greedy, and self-seeking. Sure, bad apples are in every profession, but there are many foster families and folks employed in this system that are trying to help a real problem.
Everyone has a different opinion, and it gets nasty. This is not where I put my time and effort. These hands in this photo belong to a soul that doesn’t get to pick her home- it picks her. And right now she is safe. But her siblings are in danger. When situations fall entirely out of my jurisdiction, my most significant effort is my volunteer work feeding real food to help create a good gut environment, praying, and encouraging these precious souls. Somehow, in the midst of all the crazy, we are making a positive impact on these kids and this is what matters.
Improve Your Immune, Improve Orphans too!
If you would like to be a part of what I do, please help fund my efforts and buy my book directly. You can email realfoodrecovery@gmail ( .com), and use the PayPal link and we can mail the cookbook to you. This cookbook is how we have fed and improved immune systems of many children. You can also order through Amazon, but I make about $2/ book.
Multi-book orders are possible with wholesale clinic orders for your shoppers or clients. Each cookbook contains published studies on the benefits of specific foods for only $25. The bulk wholesale order per box of 24, wholesales for $400 which retails at $600.
I’ll receive funds to provide good food and more (gardens, educational gifts, etc…) for these kids while you receive a cookbook to improve your (or your clients’) immunity. 100% goes to these kids, and we are making a difference!
Thank you for your support and remember to love the souls you encounter! Every person has a story and a choice that shapes their situation. It’s not my jurisdiction to judge; it is my calling to love, give good food, and help orphans.