Make a real difference – become a foster parentPublished 6:42pm Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Humphrey had been removed from his home.
He’d been beaten severely, and was taken from the hospital to a foster care group home. His clothing had been torn and bloodied in the beating, and all he had to wear was paper clothes from the hospital.
“I felt humiliated,” he told me. “I hated going to a place where I knew nobody.”
He went to a group home where other children had been put when they, too, had been taken from their homes. He sat quietly and didn’t talk to anybody.
“One by one, kids came up to me and each one gave me something to wear,” he said. “One boy gave me a T-shirt. Another one gave me pants. I got socks and even underwear. Then a kid brought me a big pair of red shoes. Now, those shoes did not fit me – but remember, I had no shoes at all to wear. I cherished those shoes.”
The other kids brought him what he needed most from their own scant supplies.
“What gets to me most is that those kids had nothing to give, but they gave anyway,” he said. “The kid who gave me the pants, he gave me the only pants he had besides what he was wearing. Sometimes kids get mean and hard, but I learned that day that a lot of kids also try to help each other.”
Humphrey never got placed with a foster family or adopted by anyone. He grew up in foster care group homes.
“There’s two types of people who work at those homes,” he said. “You’ve got your crunchy, earthy people, and when they are on duty, it’s dangerous, because then the mean kids can push everybody around. Then you’ve got your hard people. When they get in charge, it’s safer. They usually pick on one or two kids and those kids have a real bad day, but nobody else gets hurt that day because they’re kept in line.”
Humphrey aged out of foster care. Someday, he hopes to start a family of his own, but he has no role models for family life.
On Jan. 14 and Jan. 16, the Polk County Department of Social Services will offer information on becoming a foster or adoptive parent, with advance registration by calling Jennifer Pittman at 828-894-2100. Kids Count said 13,951 children were in foster care in North Carolina in 2010. They have an average age of 10, and 90 percent of them have suffered abuse.
Research indicates that having a trustworthy, non-offending adult who cares can mitigate the deleterious effects of even numerous beatings and betrayals.
If you have a heart for children, consider becoming a foster parent. Humphrey needed a home, but he never found one. A child in our community needs you. Someone hurt can heal with your time, love and prayer.
- Kiesa Kay, Tryon Daily Bulletin