Monday, May 10, 2010

we are the children....

i've been a little slack about posting about the reason i'm running the 1/2 marathon. Youth Homes provides shelter,however temporary or permanent, to children in need. i did not grow up in the perfect home...and my parents will be the first ones to admit this...but i grew up and still have both parents, married and available to meet my needs. at 36... i am a single parent. i know how hard it can be to raise a child alone. many times, over the past 15 years, i have cried alone in the night, trying to release the frustration and anger or anxiety and fretfulness that such a huge responsibility can lay on a person... but i never thought, until lately what a responsibility it can lay on a child... until i met jake. jake is a friend of my daughter's. he lives in one of the Youth Homes. i cant tell you how i met him without identifying him. but everyone who knows jake, knows that he lives in foster care. i saw him last summer.he was talking to my auntie. i asked her his story. his mom is a drug addict and his dad was never around. if you ask jake, he will be the first person to tell you that being removed from his mother's care, gave him a chance. he is a grown-up in a young man's body. he wants and needs the same love and care that my child needs, yet he has been left to make adult decisions. i heard him talk about what he will do when he turns 18, the official age to "age-out" of foster care.... he decided to stay in the group home he lives in until graduation. if he does not, he will not have assistance to find a place to live or health insurance if he needs it.... when i was jake's age, i didnt worry about health insurance, i worried about what i was going to wear tomorrow.... hes a great kid...involved in sports and music and whatever else he can find to fill his life with a little bit of joy. and as i run, i think about him. i think about all the kids i know and the people that i love who have been in that system for good or for bad... jake loves my daughter. and we love him. he will graduate in june and then truly be on his own....he wants to make it on his own. i want to, like every mother, even though i am not his, catch him when he falls.... each step i take is a wish for him...a prayer for his life...that it can be better than what it has been. one of my daughter's favorite songs is "we are the world". "we are the one's to make a brighter day, so lets start giving..." as i write this, i am trying to figure out how to make more of an immediate impact on jake's life than just wishes and prayers...he has changed my life and opened my heart.... "there's a choice we're making, we're saving our own lives, its true we make a better day...just you and me.."

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