This morning I was at a dental office with my children. I was sitting in the waiting room when she walked in. She was beautiful. She may have been twelve or thirteen, but she carried herself like a much older woman. I was struck by her eyes. They looked sad, hurt, scared and determined all at once. I also thought that I saw a faint glimmer of hope. She was with an older woman and two younger children. I immediately recognized the blue binder in the woman’s arms. I’ve carried a few of those around.
The older girl instructed the younger children to sit quietly, and they obeyed. She sat with the woman who began asking her medical questions about the younger children. She had all the answers. One had been hospitalized, and the other had some allergies. She answered all of the questions just like a good mama would have. The other children started to get a little silly. She shushed them and they quieted down. Obviously this girl had been the caretaker of her siblings for quite a while.
I tried to catch her eye and I smiled at her a few times. She did not smile back. There were so many things that I wanted to say and do! I wanted to hug her and tell her not to be afraid. I wanted to tell her that it was going to be okay. I wanted to tell her that there is hope! I wanted to tell her that Jesus loved her and that He could heal the hurts that she had endured.
I looked at my little boy who was making her younger siblings giggle with his silly, crazy antics. He never ever meets a stranger! My other son was sitting beside me, quiet and reserved. I thought about the struggles that he has had, but also about the recent progress that he has made. My little girl came out looking quite sad and came over for a hug. I held her and kissed her, and I saw that girl looking at me with longing eyes. I wanted to cry for her. (Actually I did, but not there in front of her.)
It would not have been appropriate for me to interrupt the series of questions that she was being asked. All I really could do was smile at her and pray for her and her siblings. I also prayed for that foster mom who is going to have a tough time cracking that shell. I saw the hope. The girl was hoping that this would be a good situation, that her siblings would be safe and get what they need, and maybe, just maybe this foster mom would really love them. But I also saw the fear. She had been hurt. And the determination. She was going to do everything in her power to protect her siblings.
I am extremely thankful that my three youngest children were adopted as babies and that they do not have to suffer the way that this girl has suffered. But, it breaks my heart that there are kids out there that need families to love and care for them. I can’t get this picture of her eyes out of my mind. I hope that I never forget them, so that I never forget the need that is out there. I haven’t thought seriously about ever becoming a foster parent again, but her eyes made me think that maybe someday, when my children are older, I would like to open our home again.