The Starfish Thrower

When I was a sophomore in high school I can remember writing an essay that won me a trip to Washington,DC along with 49 other students from our country to meet our president, President Clinton. I cannot remember now the essay topic or what exactly I wrote, but I do remember the story I used that inspired my writing. Last night, Chris and I were out together on a date night and I saw the story of the starfish painted on the wall! I took a picture and am attaching it here, using it as the best way to explain our newest adventure in this crazy life!
For as long as I can remember I have always felt a tug at my heart for children without homes or families to love them. I can remember very vividly going to the Ames department store in East Providence and each year seeing a tree, an “angel tree” it was called, with names of children at Christmas time who did not have anyone to buy them presents. We found out that some did indeed have parents but those parents were going through hard times and could not afford anything extra at Christmas, like toys and clothes, but others on the tree had no parents at all, they were part of “the state system.” I remember being only 9 or 10 years old and seeing all those names on the tree with no one to buy for or possibly even love them, and my heart was broken. I had my mom and dad go back many times and each time we would take another name off of the tree. I remember thinking “just one more, we can help another one and it won’t take away all the names but it will help one more child be happy with a toy!” Oh how innocent my little heart was then, so naive and wanting to save the world, but like that starfish story I wrote about years later and have carried in my heart, I am not helping all of them and never could, but I made a difference for that one.
As a teacher at Tolman High School and then a Guidance Counselor at Chariho, I saw a lot of students who needed love. I could never help all of them and the thought was almost overwhelming, but I remember telling Chris that I would like to do foster care or adoption one day to help a child, as there are so many that just need love. As he always does Chris just smiled and supported me and said “ok!” After watching “The Blind Side” and sobbing like a baby I remember feeling that same desire all over again and Chris laughing and again saying “OK!” The timing was not right back then, and then we had children of our own, and then cancer came in. The timing was still not right, but after much prayer and discussion, we decided last year to take the classes and get certified in foster care and adoption. The timing-will it ever be right? Do you ever have enough time in this crazy life for one more thing? No! But we realized what we do have is love to share and give and have been given so much ourselves. Jesus calls us to love one another, and to take care of widows and orphans, and I think he literally means to do that. There are so many children who are aching to be loved, and that is something we can share.
Our girls have been praying each night with us for I would say over a year now to help us find a child we can share love with. To be honest, they are more excited about this venture than either Chris or I are! They, too, have such innocent hearts and when they found out that there are children in this world who do not have homes to live in or beds to sleep in they immediately said “they could stay here!” So when the call came to see if we could take an emergency placement-a little 2 /2 year old boy who has no home, was born addicted to cocaine and is non-verbal and also autistic, could we take him? Not forever but just for a little while… I was not prepared for this, we don’t know anything about special needs at all, but I saw my girls jumping and screaming holding hands in the background, singing “we’re going to help a child! we’re going to help a child!” and called Chris and we said “how can we say no?” So that is how our first little foster child came to our home, and though he came scared, sad, up all night,- he left happy, fed, played with and loved. We did not do anything different than we did with our children, and God showed us all how to love him. We could not keep him- we knew that; we knew he needed much more time and attention and energy than I could give him especially with my treatments still, but we loved him, and made a difference for him in his time of need. I am not saying any of this for praise or accalades of any sort, in fact we did nothing extraordinary at all. We simply followed God’s call to love. But the reason I am sharing all of this and this new journey we have decided to take is because there are SO MANY CHILDREN WHO NEED OUR LOVE. Our social worker actually asked me if there were any other families we knew that might be interested in getting licensed and doing foster care because the need is so great and there are so many kids in the foster care system who need love and homes. I told her I would share and pray and see what we could do. We cannot save the world; the journey is certainly not easy; there is time and effort and pain that will go into it. But would you be willing to open your hearts and home perhaps if the prompting on your heart is “yes” to this? Please message me if you have any interest at all, I will get you started with the basic steps. And remember, just one starfish at a time can make a difference to one, and change a life forever. Love and Blessings to all of you.