Last November “Grandma K” got in touch with me regarding my “Best Books for Foster and Adoptive Families” at “Mommy Monsters.” She had a book she thought my readers might enjoy, called Paper Sack Kids. It tells the stories of some of the kids who have come through the home of her sister Diane, who with her husband Rex have touched the lives of foster children for more than thirty years.
In one fell swoop, the gray-haired woman opened her door, the passenger door behind her, and the trunk lid. There were no “hellos,” “sure is warm out, isn’t it?” nor any mention of how cute the new batch of puppies, scrambling at her feet, were. She was a burned-out bustle, ready to unlead the car of cargo and her commission, tired as the gray that permeated the windy afternoon.
Three children and one sraggly blanket huddled close to each other in the back seat. The woamn was already lifting the top half of her body out of the car’s trunk. “C’mon, kids,” was the first indication that the lady had a voice. She carried three worn paper sacks from the trunk to the front porch.
Diane bent down to receive her new kids. “Let’s see, I think you must be …” (her mind scanned again the note on her kitchen cabinet). “You must be Corinne,” she welcomed the eldest, who had dark brown eyes and flawless skin. Instead of the excitement and interest of childhood, there was a dull responsible look in Corinne’s umber eyes.
“And you must be Zack.” Diane saw the face of an emotionally exhausted little boy. His four-year-old fingers exhibited the sum total of all his faith as he tightened his grip on Corinne’s five-year-old hand. The social worker reached into the car to bring out a frightened two-year-old Shelly, who was clutching her well-worn blanket. In a glance, Diane thought she could tell that the tattered little comforter had once been pink. Long ago, perhaps, before Shelly’s mom had stuffed it in the wash with some of her boyfriend’s Levis. The little cover was the baby’s last tiny bit of tightly knit security and so she held it tight. Everything else in Shelly’s innocent and tender life had become ugly and unraveled….
Diane turned to the huddled, wide-eyed children and gave a silent prayer. It helped her survive the ache she felt at times like this. The prayer was also an acknowledgment that all of us are literally foster children. We each need a spiritual hug to still our hown heavenly homesickness once in a while. “Father, please bless our home to be able to bless these children.” Some days, life gets pretty hard to understand, even for social workers and foster parents.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a foster parent? What do you say when they come … and if they go? How do you handle it all? I invite you to go over to Brenda’s website, and get a copy of this lovely book. You’ll be glad you did. (To order your own copy of “Paper Sack Kids,” contact Brenda at firstname.lastname@example.org).