Recently, a young boy said to me, “I think I’ve decided that I like it here.” That may not seem like an odd comment for a child to make. Most children settle in after a week or two. They begin to smile and make a few friends. What is unusual is that it took him being at Miracle Hill Children’s Home for over six months before he could decide to “like it”. I have told this child repeatedly that “I love him”. It wasn’t until a few days ago, that he gave me a hug and said, “I love you too”. He now runs up to me when he sees me and greets me with a smile. Thankfully, he finally feels safe!
Another little boy cried himself to sleep last week. His grief was so strong that we were wondering when we see him smile. Then, it happened. He not only smiled, but laughed while playing with other children. Another older child, who loves being a big brother to the younger children, told two little girls that they did not have to worry. “They will take good care of you here.” He had only been at Miracle Hill for a week at the time he said this.
Feeling safe happens at different stages of the foster care process. For some it will be immediate and others make take a while. We can’t take away the fear of our children. We don’t know the secrets they hide or the memories they hold. We only know what we can do. We can love them like Jesus. We can be the stability they want and need. We can kiss their boo boos and hold them when they are sad. Sometimes we cry with them when they cry.
Some hold the belief that group home care is horrible and children need a family to feel safe and loved. I hear repeatedly how children’s behaviors will change when they can get into a good, loving home. I don’t pretend that group home care is better than a foster home. A foster home would be the ideal for a child in care. With this being said, children that live at Miracle Hill Children’s Home do get lots of love and individual attention. They are in a good, loving home. We do see changes in the behavior of our children. These become “our” children! Our staff pray for wisdom in the care they give, as most parents do. We want to honor the Lord while loving on the boys and girls with whom he has blessed us. Children may not feel safe at first, but when they hear his or her house parents praying for them, helping with homework, or giving gentle words of encouragement, they know they are loved! When they feel loved, they will feel safe. .