This weekend we went to the grand opening of the Michigan Heart Gallery. As we listened to the welcome, the speaker asked for any kids in the audience, waiting for a family, to raise their hand. LJ's shot up in the air. I tickled his tummy and said, "LJ! Put your hand down - you have a family!"
He pointed and said, "But, mom, I want to go up there - "
The kids were lining up to tell their stories.
God is going to use our little man in big ways. LJ loves people.
I cried through the entire event.
Tristan got up and shared his story. 16 years old. 8 homes in 3 years. He graduates next year and holds out hope for a family. He talked about how he wasn't on stage to advocate for himself...but for all of his friends in the system. I nearly sobbed when he finished with, "I want to make a change in my legacy. I'm going to be a good dad. I want my kids to know...I will never give up on them."
Rachel read a poem she wrote. 17 years old. Beautiful girl. I stood to my feet when she fought her experience with these powerful words, "You can't bring me down - You can't control my destiny."
One by one, each child shared his dream. I want to be an astronaut. I want to go to Disney World. I want to go to college. I want to be hugged every night before I go to bed.
Seriously. I could barely move from my seat, I was so racked with emotion. I have to do more. We walked through the gallery as a family and took our picture next to our picture - LJ is a story of success...he found his family. Ben was mesmerized with a picture of three boys. I couldn't stop staring at a teenage girl with hair like mine.
I knew they were real. I knew their stories existed...but seeing their sweet faces and listening to their dreams, in person, lit a fire in my heart. I have to do something.
We, of course, will adopt as many kids as we can (first we have to move out of our teeny condo), but I need to do more. Start a support group? Volunteer for MARE? Advocate with Dave Thomas? I don't know what the answer is, yet, but I trust God will bring it.
At the conclusion of the presentation, the president of the Judson Center, Cameron Hosner, said, "You each have someone who is irrationally crazy about you. Help us help these kids."
"These children are not someone else's responsibility. They are our responsibility." - DAVE THOMAS