Think you are a terrible parent? Read this.
Think you are a terrible parent?
We constantly look at our time limitations, budget constraints, lack of patience to care for our children and we tend to think “I’m a terrible parent”, “I would love to do this”, or I wish I could pay for that”. And we forget the main task the Lord gave us as parents.
There’s a parenthood style that believes children can becomestars, so parents need to enroll them in all sort of things and work endless hours to pay for everything, look great and never get tired. Another style calls for the opposite. Family should be balanced, children must be treated as individuals and developpeacefully into adulthood. There are tons of leading magazines, blogs and media discussing what is the best in terms ofparenthood style.
While we are discussing this, there are children lost in the middle of the crowd. They are children of the system, the so called modern orphans. They were relinquished or taken awayfrom their biological family and now they depend on the system to get what they need. But what is the system? A system means a lot of things and at the same time means no one. No one is the ultimate responsible person or caregiver for that child.
Children of the system become more vulnerable than any other child. They don’t have anyone discussing their “parenting style”; they don’t have anyone working endless hours to pay for their school; they don’t have anyone taking pictures and posting them as the best drawing in the world; nor anyone concerned because he/she is not doing well in school. They don’t have anyone to run to when they get hurt. This list could go on and on mentioning what foster children don’t have, just because they don’t have a parent figure in their lives. This means they simply don’t have one person that cares deeply as a parent would do; they don’t have anyone crying for them. A lot of professionalsdo each one a little part of a complex structure.
Little details demonstrate how the system is a terrible caregiver. The story of Noel Anaya published by NPR News is an example. This happened the day he “divorced the system” meaning the day he had his last court hearing at 21 years old, to close his case and release him from the US Foster Care System. The judge taking care of his case mispronounced his name and he responded “you guys have been saying it wrong for 21 years.”
While we are discussing how bad parents we are, there are children with no parent at all. I had one of the most shocking experiences of my ministry when a young man, Alex, (fictitiousname, true story) who I knew since he was 8, was released from the foster care system at age 16 to live with his older siblings. Everybody knew he had to go on doctor’s visits every month and he was on medication. However, no one knew exactly what his condition was. We knew he had lost multiple jobs for being late and was viewed by many people as lazy. Me and my husband decided to go with him to the doctor to better understand his condition and possibly assist him. For our surprise, he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and the dose of medicine was so strong he could not wake up in the mornings. The worst surprise: no one knew. Not him, not his siblings, not the system, not the caseworker, not the court, not the group home where he lived. At least no one noticed or no one cared. Everybody chose to treat him as lazy to simplify it.Being a part of a complex system makes many important information fall through the cracks. Be seen by multiple agencies, multiple doctors, multiple everything, ends up being almost invisible.
Unfortunately Noel’s and Alex’ story repeats every day in every country in the world where a well-intentioned system tries to take the place of one single person: a parent. A true parent is invaluable. Not getting into the merit if it is biological, adoptive, or if it is a parental figure whose name is not even written on the birth certificate. A parent is the person that puts together the puzzle in raising a child. A parent cares and protects.
Psalms 68:6 says God places the lonely in families – in families, not in orphanages, not in group homes, not in shelters. In families. Why do we as God’s people could want something different than a family for modern day orphans? The statistics are terrible for children of the system but you and I can change it. There are many ways to provide a family for every child and to alleviate the pain of the ones that are still in the system. No one was made to be alone.
Please join me, giving some of your time, energy and resources to change the life of other Noel and Alex. Please join me in providing a family for every kid.
– You and I for a child www.3uni.org