Archive for August, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010 (11:31pm)

Every summer, I spend a week with 100 plus amazing kids. They are almost all in the foster care system. They’ve been abused or neglected. Many of them have moved from one foster home to another with no sense of normalcy. Some of them live in group homes. Many of them are on medication to help them cope. Some have seen horrors most people can’t even imagine.

But for that week, we all meet together at camp. There they can just be kids and not the odd kid out. Over 100 adults take time off from work and away from their families to be there too. In a world where Christians normally only make the news if they blow up an abortion clinic, drown their children, or shoot their douche bag cheating minister husbands, a church quite a drive away from the camp raises thousands of dollars every year to pay all the kids way for free. I live right by the camp, and every year they let me come too join them. I’m sort of like the friendly, local camp mascot. I help them with the music and other things that need to be done.

Every year I love it. For a week my soul lets down and breathes easier too. It is wonderful to see the kids, and horrible at the same time, knowing all too well what their lives are like… remembering being that age too and living through similar horrors without anyone to rescue me or make it better…. thankful that I survived to know what it means to be loved truly and deeply. I see those beautiful faces and wonder that they don’t have a home and a family that loves them. So many of them come year after year. I keep hoping that each year will be the one where they have a family to call their own and I won’t see them there.

Because they are foster children, no photographs of the children are allowed to leave the camp except for the ones the kids bring home with them… but their faces are burned into my memory… and their stories and their names.

Statistics say that many more of them will not graduate high school and will end up homeless. But statistics don’t take into account something those kids end up with at the end of the week. They have hope… and most of them have a follow up mentor who will be a stable person as their life changes around them.

Near the main meeting place there is a large wall with the words I Was Here written on it. The campers write messages to each other and about their cabins. It’s always touching to read their scribbled messages. They were there… and they are here still very much in my heart. I’ll be praying for them and caring for them, and hoping that this will be the year that they find a mother and a father to love them truly and deeply. Every year they hear the truth about a God who also loves them and can walk with them through all the pain in their lives. It’s my prayer that they let Him be the one who holds their hearts in the same way He holds mine.

I am so thankful to be a part of their lives.

So I was with them … I Was Here…