They both get the point across that a lot of times we talk about things that matter to us, but we don't act, follow through and make it happen!
So what am I talking about? If you follow many of my posts, you probably know the issue at hand is the critical need for adoptive parents.
It has been almost six months since a months-long courting relationship with the Department of Children & Family Services (and pleading my case to my bosses) resulted in a regular segment on KPLC-TV featuring local children who are ready to be adopted today.
I introduced you to Ke'vontre in May:
Next it was Tyrene:
Then Danielle in June:
Darrell in July:
Deniro in August:
Tyrese in September:
And D'Janae in October:
Guess what?! After every segment, case workers at the DCFS office in Lake Charles have told me that the phones ring...a lot!
I could also track the number of views on www.kplctv.com for each story - and they were in the thousands!
I know that people's hearts are being pricked about this topic. I have talked to friends and people in the community who have shared their new burden about parentless children with tears running down their cheeks.
These kids are real. Their emotion is raw. Their need is right in front of us...and we're still not doing enough.
Why the blunt statement? Because these kids and the 60 others in Southwest Louisiana legally ready to be adopted today are still living life in limbo.
There is the immediate surge of attention...and hope...when the phones ring, but adopting a child requires much more than a phone call.
First: recognize that you might not get called back in a timely fashion. DCFS workers are overloaded. Don't get discouraged if you have to pick up the phone a couple of times to get through. Don't consider it a sign from God if your call is not returned. The office is busy. They will get back with you. Call. Call again. Heck, by my third attempt in trying to talk to a home development specialist, my hands weren't sweaty anymore! My voice was no longer shaky! I was ready to get down to business and when we finally connected, everything started falling into place.
Second: you have to go through orientation to adopt through foster care. I asked so many questions on the phone that it counted as orientation! You could try that method:) If you have to go to a one night meeting, don't look at it as an inconvenience. Think about the other people in the exact same boat as you: all taking one of the scariest, bravest, most selfless steps in life.
Third: MAPP classes are a must. What are these courses? They are required by every person wanting to get certified to be a foster/adoptive parent. It is a dual certification that also includes three home visits, background checks and references. You will become a certified foster home and you will be certified to adopt. The classes might seem like a long commitment (seven evenings of three hour courses or four Saturday courses of six hour courses), but they are critical in understanding why kids end up in care. Plus, you'll meet some fabulous people and DCFS staffers in the process.
When Matt and I took part in the MAPP classes this summer, I was thrilled to learn that the classes had record attendance. I met several people who were there because The New Family Tree features on KPLC opened a conversation in their home that led them to act. There were also people there hoping to adopt one of the specific children featured.
But, not everyone followed through. There was a lot of talk, but even more action was needed.
I'll tell you what my biggest fear is in doing the interview segments featuring children ready to be adopted. That their hopes are dashed. That they choke back tears in their interview in order to seem brave to a potential mom or dad, but they have to endure another letdown.
If you are teetering on the idea of pursuing adoption, please consider what's at stake. A child - bouncing between foster homes and never having a true sense of family. A pre-teen - lacking a mom or dad to guide them into adulthood. A teenager - scared about being on his or her own entirely at age 18 without a family base during the holidays and life events.
I am going to once again share the verses at the heart of this issue and pray for more people to follow through and act.
Luke 10:2: The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.
James 1:27: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.