A Story, a Cycle & an Invitation

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There once was a young girl whose father was absent. Whether it was addiction, apathy or another woman, he was nowhere to be found. Her mother was unable to care for her because of her own brokenness so, after years of witnessing violence and experiencing physical and emotional abuse, she and her siblings went into foster care.

A nice-enough woman showed up one day along with a couple police officers. The young girl was placed in the backseat of a police car and watched through tears as her house got smaller and smaller and smaller… until finally she couldn’t see it anymore.

She entered “the system”. Scared. Heartbroken. Bruised.

A home able and willing to care for her and her all of siblings could not be found so they were separated. The young girl carried a garbage bag filled with her belongings up the steps of a house she had never before seen, and walked numbly into the living room of complete strangers.

Alone. Scared. Heartbroken. Bruised.

She stayed in that home for a little while but, for reasons her young heart couldn’t understand, they “couldn’t keep her.” So, she packed up her garbage bag and moved to another stranger’s home. And then another. And another. And another.

Alone. Scared. Heartbroken. Sometimes, still bruised.

All of the sudden, she’s a teenager and labeled as “too much”, among other things. She found herself in a “Residential Treatment Facility” with other teenage girls. Dozens of them with similar stories. Stories of abuse and abandonment and loneliness and broken families.

She got better. Went to therapy. Took her medication. And went back into a stranger’s home.

Then she got pregnant. And became a statistic.

{Teen girls in foster care are more than twice as likely
as their peers not in foster care to become pregnant by age 19.}

Soon she dropped out of high school. And became another statistic. 

{Roughly 50 percent of the nation’s 500,000 foster kids won’t graduate from high school.}

Then she “aged out.” Left the foster care system. Alone. Scared. Heartbroken. No support system. No one to help her find an apartment. Or a job. Or a car.

Her baby was born and though she loved her, she had no idea how to care for her. How to nurture her. How to show her love. Because she had never experienced it herself. In nearly two-dozen foster homes, she had never experienced healthy family. So she couldn’t create it.

And because she had no one to help her navigate the real world, she became homeless. Another statistic.

{Nearly a quarter of foster youth are homeless within a year of leaving care.}

She surfed couches as long as she could. Stretched her food stamps as far as they would go. Made some bad decisions. Made some mistakes.

And then, another pregnancy. Another baby she loved as much as she could, in the ways she knew how. But it wasn’t enough.

One day, an all-too-familiar social worker showed up at the homeless shelter. Says they got a call. Says she’s not keeping her kids safe. Says there’ll be a court date soon.

There she sits. Alone. Scared. Heartbroken. Bruised.

Her kids entered “the system”. Alone. Scared. Heartbroken. Bruised. And the cycle repeats itself. Again. And again. And again…

I wish I could say this story is fictional, but it’s not. I have witnessed similar versions play out over and over and over again in the foster care system.

Friends, THIS is the reason we are moving to Miami. We simply CANNOT stand by while this cycle, this epidemic, repeats itself.

More than 20 million children live in a home without the physical presence of a father.  Millions more have dads who are physically present, but emotionally absent.  If it were classified as a disease, fatherlessness would be an epidemic worthy of attention as a national emergency. – National Center for Fathering

We MUST come alongside at-risk families as friends and a support system. We MUST model healthy, biblical family for those who have never seen it. We MUST work for healing broken families. We MUST give them the skills and tools and resources to stay together. 

How do you break a cycle? One Father at a time. One Mother at a time. One Family at a time. One conversation at a time. One prayer at a time. One day at a time.

One Partner at a time.

Would you join us in this urgent and important work of breaking the cycle of broken families? Would you to commit to giving $10 a month for the sake of advancing Gods Kingdom in Miami? 

$10 may not feel like much. Or maybe it feels like a lot.

But here’s what we’re learning about Kingdom Economics: God takes all of our small things together and makes them BIG.

For more information and to join us check out our current #smalltogetheristhenewbig campaign.

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The effects of broken families and fatherlessness are immense, but together we CAN make a difference.

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1 Comment

  1. Katie Shannon June 26, 2015

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for shining a light on teens in care. I never knew I would watch a teen mama age out, but that’s what we did. It was beautiful & so hard.

    Reply

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