Making Many Memories

Everyday we are Making Many Memories that we will treasure forever.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Every Child Has A Story

Angels emailed towards the end of November to ask me if they could use Nevaeh's story and picture on their holiday cards this year. Of course, I was more than happy to oblige. I love showing off all her cute pictures and I love even more sharing her story.

I share her story everywhere and almost every chance I get. I just shared it again with everyone standing in line waiting to see Santa at Disneyland on Wednesday. A lady in the line was saying how she was going to ask Santa for world peace. I told her this Santa would be a good one to ask because I had asked him 3 years ago for a little girl and later on that day I got a call from our foster agency saying they had one for us. Not a dry eye in line.

Of course, when we got up to Santa I had to retell the story to him and the fact that Nevaeh ran straight up to him and planted a kiss on his cheek is probably why he proclaimed she was the cutest little girl he'd ever seen. Then when she climbed down from his lap he would say "come back here and give Santa a hug". He did that about 5 times as people looked on and took pictures.

Now, I realize that there isn't anything strikingly adorable about Nevaeh's looks. I have seen children with absolutely amazing eyes, children with beautiful hair and children who are very unique looking. So maybe for me it is the fact that I know her story. I know how her life started out and how empty her eyes looked when we first got her. I also know that she has this incredibly outgoing personality that lights up a room when she walks in but can turn on her in an instance when she is having one of her meltdowns. She loves everyone, hugs everyone and thinks that everyone is around to play with and entertain her.
So imagine my surprise when I shared her story at Chick-fil-a on Friday only to find out that it caused the person I was sharing it with great pain. Nevaeh was being her charming charismatic self and a young woman about 20 years old was asking her questions. Nevaeh was telling her all about our recent trip to Disneyland and how she got a candy from Santa. (actually, she got way too much candy from Santa)

This brought me to the topic of telling the young woman about our visit with Santa and our Disneyland story of getting the call for Nevaeh. This young women then look at me and said "you do foster care?" I told her that we use to and that Nevaeh was our 3rd foster baby and how we were able to adopt her. Then she looked down and said "I was a foster child".  " I went in the system at age 3 until I turned 18. No one every adopted me."  All I could say was Oh. Here I had been sharing our story like usual with all my warm and fuzzy thoughts not thinking about how it might affect someone else.

Here's all I know about this young women. Every time we go to Chick-fil-a in the morning she is there. I drop Josh off for school 3 days a week for an hour and sometimes Nevaeh and I go and eat breakfast there when it is too cold to go to the park or I didn't have time to dress her before we leave the house. This young women has been there every time. This is only the second time we have spoke to her and I'm not sure she remembers us from the last time. But I am a people watcher and I have watched her carry on conversations with all sorts of different people there. None of them are ever sitting with her and none of them are ever the same.

She is a beautiful young women. She has a wonderful smile and she is usually reading something when she is not talking to someone. So on this day I asked her if she was reading stuff for college. She said no. She could not afford to go to college but that she was working at the theater and that they had good benefits for helping her get into college. I asked her what kind of career she wanted and she said something to do with working with children because she is really good with them. I don't know if she will ever get to realize her dream because her life consist of no one to help her. How lonely I felt for her that day.

This left we once again thinking about all the children out there who don't get a happily every after story like Nevaeh. The ones who get bounced from house to house and never find anyone to call mom and dad. The ones who get kicked out of the program at age 18 with no one or no where to turn. No parent to live with while getting started with college. No parent to borrow a car from until they can afford their own and not many other options for getting to work. No one to spend holidays with. The theater employees her only family.

So what can I do to help her? What can I do to help change her story? I've thought about leaving a donation for her at Chick-fi-la, but I don't know that money is the answer. I wish I knew what the answer was. I wish that sharing Nevaeh's story with her didn't have to leave her feeling abandoned once again.

I'm not sure if hurting others will stop me from sharing Nevaeh's story. Not that I would intentionally do that. I am hoping that it will inspire someone else to open their hearts to these beautiful children but I need to realize that I may be telling it to someone who is an orphan or someone who may have had there child taken from them. I need to realized that not everyone will like her story. That not everyone will feel the joy I feel when I tell it. And that someday Nevaeh may not want it told. Someday she will not want to be Angel's Foster Care Poster Child.


Diane said...

Ask her what she is doing on Christmas (or Christmas Eve) and invite her to your home if she has no one or no where to go. It might sound like a huge step, but even the invitation may change her life. I am a mentor to a 20 year old who aged out of the foster care system. She really enjoys being around my kids.

Katrina said...

Hi Diane, I had thought about doing that and am still trying to get my nerve up. I know that she works at the movie theater so she will probably be working on both of those days and I guess I am a little worried that she might think I am weird for inviting her. I do not know for a fact that she has no place to go on Christmas. I know I need to ask her even if I feel uncomfortable doing so. Wish me luck.