You respond to this request in CarePortal:
"This request is for a single mother of two kids who are in the foster care system. Mom has been working hard to regain custody of her children. One of the items she needs to reunify is a set of bunk beds so that her children will have a place to sleep. Mom is working full-time but the pay is minimal and she used the money she had saved up to put a security deposit down on the apartment. Providing a bunk bed will alleviate some of the financial and mental stress this mother feels as she continues to work hard to reunify with her children."
What are your initial thoughts after reading this request?
You call and make arrangements with Mom to bring the bunk beds to the home. You can hear the hesitance in her voice about having you come to the home, but she does not have a way to get the bunk beds otherwise. When you arrive at the home, you see a giant TV and a recliner in the living room.
What might your thoughts be based on what you see?
How could the temptation to judge a family’s TV cause harm in this situation?
What do you think the mom might feel when strangers walk into her apartment?
How could you affirm or what could you do to show honor and help dispel feelings of shame or judgment?
Now read the story of this situation from Mom’s perspective:
You’re a single mom of two kids. Life has been really hard for you, with a childhood of abuse and a painful relationship with your children’s father, and eventually you turned to narcotics to numb the pain and depression. You knew using drugs was wrong, but addiction soon had such a powerful hold on your mind and body that you lost custody of your kids and spent several months in jail. That’s where you hit rock bottom, and knew that when you got out you were going to do whatever it took to regain custody of your kids, the most important thing in your life.
When you were released, you began working with your caseworker and rehab counselor to rebuild your life. You now have regular visits with your children, and you end every visit with the promise that you are working as hard as you can so that they can come live with you soon. You think about your kids all the time and want nothing more than to have them with you again. You alienated most of your family members, who you had a toxic relationship with anyway, because of your drug use and incarceration, so you don’t have others to turn to. But you’re determined.
You get a steady but low-paying job at a fast food restaurant, the only place that will hire you. Soon you save up for a security deposit for your own apartment, a crucial step in regaining custody. Your apartment is bare and the complex is rundown, but you’re so proud to move into your own place, even if you’re sleeping on the floor. Your caseworker says she can help find the beds that you’ll need in order to have your kids live with you, through something called CarePortal. Meanwhile, your neighbor across the hall is moving out and offers to sell you a recliner, a big TV, and a table all for $200. You can sleep in the recliner, eat meals with your kids at the table, and you picture your kids watching their favorite shows on the TV -- so it’s an easy decision to scrape together $200 from your next couple of paychecks.
Soon you get a text from someone saying they have bunk beds to give you, and that they’re going to bring a few people and build the beds for you. Beds mean you’re one step closer to having your kids with you so you feel excited, but you also feel self-conscious about having people you don’t know in your apartment. You don’t trust strangers easily, but you’ll do what you need to do for your kids.
Does this story change any of your previous thoughts about Mom and her apartment?
What do you think God’s heart is for this mom?
In many families’ situations, we may never learn the whole story. How do you think God wants us to approach each situation?