When We Know Their Names, They're Harder To Ignore.
I guess I always knew foster care existed. Even as a kid. I mean, I watched TV. Punky Brewster was cute. Gary Coleman was cute. Leo Dicaprio was cute.
I knew that, in theory, there were foster children in the world. But it ended there. Never once did I consider that it had anything to do with me.
It's National Foster Care Month. A time when we have conversations about foster care. A time when we pause and pay attention to these children and their needs. A time when we consider what it all has to do with us.
There are 400,000+ kids in foster care. 100,000+ waiting to be adopted. But chances are, we read those numbers and move on with our happy, little lives.
Facts don’t creep into our thoughts, numbers don’t motivate our prayers, statistics don’t break our hearts. People do. We need to zero in through the thousands to the ones. Look past the "system" to the people it represents. Because behind every number there's a name, a story, a child.
NyAsia is 17. She's worked hard to get good grades and is headed to college to study culinary arts.
Christian is 10. His siblings are also in foster care, but in different homes. He loves to play sports and wants to be a police officer when he grows up.
Samira is 5. She wants to be an artist and loves to draw.
These three, they're children, just like yours and mine. They're the same, in their feelings and hopes and fears and wishes.
NyAsia needs a laptop for college in the fall. Christian wants a soccer ball so he can play outside with his siblings when he’s able to see them. Samira wants to go to Disneyland, because, well, what kid doesn't?
Too often, being a foster child means losing more than just home and parents and siblings. Too often, it means losing the simple joys of childhood, the sweetness of wishes granted. These children have names, stories, wishes.
NyAsia. Christian. Samira. And 400,000 other names.