Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Peace, Love and Bi-Partisanship

I've got peace like a river, I've got peace like a river,
I've got peace like a river in my soul

Singing children's voices softly played from a cassette recorder as I stepped into a modest trailer home a few days into the New Year. Two children and their grandmother greeted me as they continued removing decorations from their Christmas tree. Their voices in greeting were as soft and gentle as the ones from the recording and it took me back to my childhood and my children's childhood and Sunday School and car rides with a sound track of sweet children's songs. The grandmother had that beautiful, almost translucent look of one who is channeling God directly into the room and the children, for the first time in their lives, were experiencing loving boundaries, a clean home, enough to eat, and security with a relative that was not a parent.

In the United states, 1 out of every 12 children live in households headed by grandparents or other relatives. In many families, this is an extreme economic hardship and in others an economic impossibility.

In a bi-partisan bill sponsored by Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Hillary Clinton (D-New York), federal funding was made available to allow states to institute subsidized kinship guardianships for children who would otherwise be in foster care.

After awhile, I said my good-bye's to the family, because after the guardianship goes into place next week, there will no longer be a need for my visits and as I was opening the door to leave, the oldest child said, "I can't wait until she can keep us". Hoping the tears wouldn't show, I said "Just a few more days." In that moment, I realized how very important permanency is for kids. This child had been with his grandmother for two years, nothing was really going to change for him, except that he would have the knowledge that now he had a forever home.

I've got love like an ocean, I've got love like an ocean
I've got love like an ocean in my soul


MaineGirl said...

What a beautiful post. Children need permanence. We are to be their rocks. I hear the song too from my childhood!

Anonymous said...

Beth, Not to shed a bad light on your post but last week in Dixon County, TN there were two teenage boys staying with their grandmother and were waiting for the adoption papers to go through. On New Years day the two boys killed their grandmother and another female relative. The boy were quickly arrested and admitted to the killings. No reason was given. Louis

Anonymous said...

I am more proud of what you do than if you were helping some creep beat his tax bill or otherwise making a fortune in corporate law. Thanks for using your skills for good.

Beth said...

Thanks, kinship care isn't the solution in all cases, each situation needs to be looked at individually, but it was what met the needs in this particular situation.