When you enter foster care, you lose everything… parents, home, friends, and the feeling of attachment to community. Even one’s culture and identity seem to disappear. All too often, children in the child welfare system are also separated from their siblings. Sadly, some siblings are adopted into different families and many lose contact with each other. Everything becomes unfamiliar the moment a child is removed from their home. They experience a great deal of pain, anxiety, guilt, grief and loss of identity when they enter the foster care system. Research suggests that siblings placed together experience a lower risk of failed placements, companionship, and maintain many emotional benefits. Siblings placed together often feel more secure and are able to help each other adjust to their new family and community. Approximately two-thirds of children in foster care in the United States have a sibling in care and many of these children will be separated from their siblings. A common reason given for these separations is that workers aren’t able to find a permanent placement for all of the siblings together.
I’m happy to announce that GHH Redlands has siblings living in our foster home. They range from age 3 to12. It’s been an amazing two-year journey of chasing my calling to provide a family-like environment for foster children who deserve nothing less. What I’ve learned through this season is that motivation isn’t permanent. It is renewed each day. Vision isn’t indefinite. It is cast each morning. Discipline isn’t owned. It is fought for by the minute. And dreams are not free. They are realized by ruthless individuals who refuse to give up. In times of testing, it’s easy to lose sight of why you started. It’s easy to lose confidence in your ideas. During this journey, I realized that our fortitude is never for our benefit, but the benefit of others. Giving up isn’t about the change that would occur in our life, rather it’s the end of what our life was going to do, going to change, going to fix, or going to stop. And what I can say confidently after all that we’ve been through so far is that we aren’t going to give up; doors are opening and GHH is going to accomplish so much more for foster kids as we push forward. Watch what happens next as we continue to BUILD GENESIS.
Do you remember when you bought your first car all on your own? It was undoubtedly a mix of emotions. Maybe you saved up for a specific car that you saw for sale, or perhaps you knew that the right one would come along as soon as you had enough money for it. There’s the feelings of growing anticipation and excitement leading up to the moment you decide on a car, then the joy and the great sense of self-accomplishment after you accept your shiny new keys and officially become a car owner.
This week, one of our boys was able to accomplish two of his goals. First, he completed his internship at the Key Biscayne Police Department. Second, he purchased his first car. It wasn’t just an impulse buy, either. He worked really hard all summer and saved all of his money to buy this car. And before he started earning money for the car, he began preparing early on for his driver’s license. He had never had the opportunity to drive until moving to GHH. Here, he was able to practice regularly with his house mom and our board members until he had his driving skills down. He also utilized our partnership with Victory Lane Ministry to work on fixing our GHH truck and learn some car maintenance skills that will help him be able to change his oil and fix his own car in the future. Last school year, he sacrificed so much time taking a 3-hour bus ride to get to school everyday. This year, he will not only be able to drive to school much faster on his own, but will have pride and satisfaction knowing that his own hard work and dedication allowed him to change his life for the better. No matter how many times he gets kicked down, he has learned to stand right back up again, never giving up despite of the challenges. Our hope for all of our boys is that they learn this feeling of success and that we can help them use that to launch new beginnings in their lives.
Much can be done to better serve older children while they are in our care and to provide them with better opportunities as they transition out of the system. We offer programs that draw on community resources, promote a system of care, link youth to mentors, and teach them life skills that hold promise for improving their lives. With partners, we can do so much more! Please join us in helping our youth achieve successful new beginnings.