Story by Julie Long
All of the sudden it hit me like a ton of bricks. I looked at my husband and said, “They are closing schools. What’s going to happen to all the children that don’t want to be at home?”
Until your eyes have been opened to the sad reality for so many children the thoughts just simply don’t cross your mind like they do mine. You just don’t know. It’s not your fault that you don’t know. Maybe your life hasn’t encountered “the system”. Maybe you’ve never had to be called because a family member couldn’t care for their child. Maybe you grew up very happy and in a healthy, safe environment. I wish more children could say that.
When the news hit about schools closing, I was absolutely devastated. My heart is heavy with the weight of the knowledge that I have. Not because my child would be home and I would be required to homeschool him. He’s already homeschooled. I wasn’t devastated because now I’d have to miss hours at work. I’m blessed enough to be a homemaker which is a duty that I love beyond words. I also wasn’t devastated because my child would now not have access to breakfast and lunch. We have enough.
There is a group of children I’m worried about. They haven’t been placed into foster care… yet. And now the social worker that was going to come to their house is also secluded at home. So that visit doesn’t happen for another few weeks. Can you imagine what may happen in their home in that time period? I can. And it’s not good. Most of the time when we have received a foster child the social workers have been working with the family for months. But then all the sudden something happens in their lives that just destroys what they’ve been working towards preventing. This will be it for some.
The thought of all the children that are now home for weeks when their home doesn’t look like yours and mine. Their home is full of all the things they don’t have. They don’t have stability. They don’t have food. They don’t have a parent that can stay home with them. They don’t have safety. They don’t have a clean environment. They have parents that are now overly stressed even more than usual. They have parents that can’t cope. They have parents that are going to yell and sadly physically hurt them or for some what’s even worse is completely ignoring them. It happens.
There are now children unexpectedly at home in environments that are going to leave lasting impacts on their lives. They won’t see their schoolteachers who sometimes are the only people showing them love and affection. They won’t see the school guidance counselor who has helped them through so much. They won’t see the bus driver that maybe talks to them a little bit longer than the other students because she knows their home doesn’t look safe. School was their haven. It was their happy place. They loved going to school. They loved playing on the playground and going to classes. They loved every minute of it.
Have your children check on their friends. A phone call can go a long way to a child that needs to hear that somebody cares. Have them write a letter. Have them do a facetime call. Anything to show love and affection to a child that doesn’t get it or at least doesn’t get it in the best ways. I tried to think of some way that I can help. I said, “I can babysit!” to my husband. So I reached out on social media and offered my services. I am a licensed foster parent so I’ve been through tons of training. I can handle a few extra children.
I understand the inconvenience of the schools being closed has on most families. All I ask is for you to not lose perspective. As I had to also remind my son whose prom has been postponed, “It could always be worse.”
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