When told the story recently of a non-profit in town that provides a warm meal, mentoring, tutoring, and a fun and friendly break from the lives that their participants are subject to the other 18 hours of the day, I fought back tears. This group opens its doors every day from 3pm-8pm for anyone between the ages of 4-18 who has nowhere else to go. And I mean nowhere. Not just figuratively. And just like that, due to laws, they have to turn them out into the darkness at 8pm. Alone, just as they were at 2:59pm. Where do they go? I'm not really sure I'm ready to know the answer just yet.
These kids have either been abandoned by their parents/parent, their parent is incarcerated, etc... To not know where your parent is boggles my mind. These kids wander in from the streets for the 5 hours of somewhat normalcy all by themselves. Thanks to the 3 staff members and over 85 volunteers, they're treated to laughter, hugs, and a hot meal. During my childhood, those things weren't "treats", they simply came with the territory, whether I deserved them or not.
Each child is also given the basic needs such as a toothbrush, hygiene products, and chapstick. I'm not sure why but the chapstick makes me cry every time I think about it or even type it out here. Apparently because these kiddos spend the majority of their time outside, braving our Illinois winters, their lips are severely dry, cracking and bleeding. And now my heart bleeds for their sweet, little innocent lips who don't deserve to be out there alone in the cold.
As I relayed this story to my hubby, I began to cry all over again. When I hear things like this, I NEED to do something. And I want YOU to need to do something. I want everyone to slap their hand down on a table somewhere and scream "enough" through their tears. I want us all to run out buy boxes full of chapstick and mittens and parents who actually care for their kids.
How do I make this stop? How do I take this from heart break to heart seek?
It's honestly becoming more and more simple and clear. I somehow do for one what I wish I could do for all. Over the last year or two, the hubby and I have talked about adopting. We know we want to and I'm confident that we will. I'm not sure what that looks like yet. I'm not sure on what territory our child will come from, whether it's our own or a foreign land. Or both. Time and the Lord will provide those answers.
But I do know that it's on our hearts and on our lips, like chapstick. Precious chapstick.
And when we talk about it while driving down the road or sitting in our cozy home, my heart flutters wondering what that little face will look like. Will one lead to two? Will a little face open the door for an older one as well? Will adoption lead to foster or vice versa?
I don't know yet. We're still seeking. But we've been blessed with more than we deserve. Every. Single. Day. And I don't believe it's for us to store up and tuck away. It's for us to give and bless and grow.
It's our calling.
It's our duty.
It's a need. Much like chapstick.