Hands can hurt
and hands can heal.
Hands can be raised in prayer,
raised in agreement
or raised in anger.
A hand can pat you on the back with encouragement,
or it can grip your shoulders and throw you against the wall.
Hands can reach out to you to take something that you can never get back.
But hands can also be instruments of love, comfort and healing.
Hands are being raised across the world in preparation for National Child Protection Week. These hands will be part of an international flag of commitment, pledging to do our part to make the world a friendlier place for children. The flag will fly in Cairns Australia during the week of September 2 - 8, proudly waving handprints from all over the globe.
My hand is raised to pledge my commitment to supporting the needs of people in and from foster care. It represents my vow to advocate for their voice to be heard, and to stand alongside of them, creating a collective voice.
My hand is raised in hope that what has been broken can be rebuilt, and what has been hurt can heal. Sometimes it takes years – but children from fractured families can eventually find a family of their own.
I found my first family in my friends in college and built my second when I married my husband and became a stepmother to his two children. Now, I have a third family in terms of my “siblings,” other alumni of foster care.
Finally, my hand is raised in a plea for balance in making decisions about the futures of young people in foster care. We cannot allow finances to determine child placement. We cannot worship theories, and use one method in every situation – because, with child protection, there is no “one-size-fits-all approach.”
There is no magical formula for families that break down. Sometimes biological parents are willing and able to change. Other times, children who are forced to stay with abusive parents die or are forever scarred -- physically or emotionally -- by their parents' actions. The bottom line is whether or not the child and their siblings are safe.
"Having a place to go – is a home.
Having someone to love – is a family." - Donna Hedges
"A house is a home when it shelters the body and comforts the soul." - Phillip Moffitt