People will take advantage

An open letter from the Co-founder and President of Miriam’s Heart.

For nearly fifteen years, we have served kids and families in desperate need of support. We have sat in hospital rooms, in tearful meetings, and diffused conversations between family members. As we have grown, we have refined how we screen and support the needs around us – but also freely serve and give of ourselves, our time, and our treasures. We know we aren’t only carrying our treasures to the children in need; we are also bringing your treasures, so we are careful to steward resources. We often are the only organization willing to press in to help, to ‘get messy’ in our pursuit of the mission and vision of Miriam’s Heart. I’ve always approached serving families with joy, calling it the highlight of my career to race in on a moment’s notice to meet their needs and bless them with the support of their community.

Recently we encountered a family that took advantage of us. They wasted our time and resources gathered for them and were inconsiderate to our team, myself included. I am keenly aware that this family thinks we might shrink back for fear that our supporters would learn they took advantage of us and stop giving toward our work. But they do not know that we have gained their support by being honest with them; sharing opportunities to help adoptive and foster families with candor. 

In fifteen years, I can count on one hand the times we were taken advantage of.  Perhaps I should consider myself fortunate to have avoided this feeling of injustice for so long?

This month marks the first time in our history that we rallied hundreds of dollars in support for an adoptive family that showed no gratitude, mistreated our team members, disregarded boundaries, and claimed to need help, only to create chaos for our team for over two weeks. The lack of shame and inconsiderate waste of resources doesn’t and won’t change our hearts to serve as unto the Lord. It won’t change our radical, active love to support families in need. Hopefully, our open hands and hearts have impacted them for good; or their intention to take advantage has given rise to a sense of regret. 

What we won’t do is apologize for their behavior, fail to run toward needs in the future, or not be honest with our supporters. We will continue in our mission to radically support children who’ve been adopted or in foster care and their families to seem then thrive.

People will take advantage. It is in our nature to do so. Yet, we set our faces like a flint to the work God has prepared our hands to do, with an unwavering commitment to the kids who need us to stand in the gap. Just like our namesake who stood amidst the mud and reeds, surrounded by injustice, Miriam saw fit to prioritize the safe placement of a child into his family and meet the needs in front of her. We remain ready to engage to do what is right regardless of the circumstances that surround us.

In Him and for His glory,

PS: We are examining what we could have done to prevent this situation and evaluating our processes to prevent this from happening in the future.

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