A friend of mine spent some time in foster care as a child. He was placed in care when he was 10-years-old and reunited with his birth family some years later. There are those who would call that a foster care success story because it’s an example of the system working. They would say that his family couldn’t take care of him so he was in care for a little while until he could return to his birth family. And if you only view it as a systems function issue then I suppose it can be considered a success; an example of the system working.
But as I have come to know him better over time, he has invited me into more of his story. As I learn more about him, I have come to understand that his story can be considered a success because it was in foster care where he learned two things; he learned that he was lovable and as a result, he learned how to express his love for others.
I recently asked him if there was anything that happened to him in care that had a profoundly positive impact on his life. He smiled and said that his foster mother used to kiss him on the cheek every day. He said that he still thought about her most days and every time that he did he would smile. The small act of kissing him on the cheek had a profound impact on him.
He shared how his mother was not an affectionate woman and that she did not hug or kiss him. The first time that he received any physical affection was from his foster mother. That little kiss on the cheek was probably not a big deal to her, it was just they way she greeted her kids, but it had a huge impact on my friend’s life. He said that he is able to be an attentive husband and loving father because he was shown that he was worthy of love. That daily kiss on the cheek helped to change his belief system.
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church, he wrote that faith, hope, and love remain, but the greatest is love. Love can change someone’s story, it did for my friend. Remember, you may never know the impact of your smallest acts of kindness. You may never know how you can change a child’s story.
Lord, thank you for my kids. Please teach me to love them well. Help me remember that their unwanted behaviors do not define them, but are an indicator of their wounding. Help me remember that small acts of kindness can have a profound impact on their lives and their healing. In Jesus name, Amen
“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NLT)
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.