Send anyone this way to read along, but for permission to reprint, please contact Gail.
© Gail Underwood Parker

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Caring Heart: A shoebox and a paper bag

This is the last Sunday of Foster Care Awareness Month so I share this meditation from the first time I welcomed a foster child into my home so many years ago.

A Shoebox and a Paper Bag

The worker brought her things today.  A shoe box and a small paper bag. That's it. How can a child have so little to represent her life so far?  So little to show for six and a half years of days and events?  Does she realize how pathetically small her pile of things is? Thank goodness she has no idea how yet this will follow her through life. No photos of her as a newborn, or in a playpen, toddling toward a camera, grinning over a birthday cake, first day of school.  No baby book marking developmental milestones.  Did she walk early? Talk late? Was she premature or overdue?  Did she thrive or struggle? Sleep well or up nights with croup or colic?  Healthy? Recurring colds or ear infections?  No health records of labor and delivery, childhood chickenpox, measles, or even immunizations.  She is still in emotional survival mode and has no idea how large this hole in her life gapes.  Help me recreate as much of her past as I can.  Help me find what records there are.  Guide me to create a narrative that will fill in the blanks as much as is possible for her.  Help me fill her heart and her life with memories and markers, but most of all, Lord, help me to fill this small, broken heart with love. Love so abundant that it can sometime overflow and fill in all those empty spaces. Your love and my love.

Excerpted from "The Caring Heart Speaks: Meditations for foster, kinship, and adoptive parents" by Gail Underwood Parker   Artwork by Anna Parker David from the book cover.

1 comment:

  1. I've started a project called Suitcase of Love to equip each foster child with a suitcase for their meager belongings. I mentioned it at church and within a month I had enough bags for my three counties and plenty to move into the next counties. I never want a child to show up with paper sacks.