Imagine that it’s the beginning of the school year and your child comes home excitedly telling you about their new friend Sammy. This friends sounds kind and helpful and over the next few months you hear a lot of stories about their fun on the playground. But one day your child comes home and you learn that Sammy isn’t just nice, but Sammy is courageous. Because when another kid decided to scare your child by shoving them down the slide, Sammy stepped up and protected your child. You get to meet Sammy at the class winter party and discover that he’s a typical young kiddo, silly, energetic, and he truly enjoys making others smile. You see the bond between them and it makes your heart happy to know how much this friendship means to your child.
And the school year goes on until one day you receive a note from the class teacher explaining that tragedy struck Sammy’s family and he just lost his parents in an accident and with no other next of kin nearby he’s in a temporary foster home and they hope he’ll find a new family soon.
What do you do? Just “hope for the best” along with the rest? Say a quick prayer for the child that protected your child, that brought your child joy and happy memories? Maybe send in a donation for some new clothes for him and “call it good?”
NO! You get involved! You step up and say “He’s hurting! He’s broken by loss! He’s alone! and it’s NOT. O. KAY.” You put skin in the game to do all you can until you know this child is safe and sound with a committed, loving family who will help him heal from this trauma.
If you wonder why, nearly a year later, I’m still talking about the kids we left behind in China…that’s why. Because James had his Sammys, so now they’re our Sammys. They’re not just sad faces on a commercial about the world’s hurting children, or statistics in a brochure, or part of a donation appeal video shared on social media. They are as real as the children you hugged and kissed goodnight who now lay sleeping in their beds. Except the ones I can’t stop thinking about are tied to the posts of the cribs with wooden boards they lay on with simply a blanket to comfort them. And they didn’t get a bedtime snack, or a goodnight kiss…sigh…this isn’t a guilt trip….hang with me…