THE MEETING HAS BEEN MOVED TO THE SECOND FLOOR. The handwritten sign was taped to the wall.
Voices echoed from the conference room, then laughter and crying. Curious, I peered through the glass door, wondering what occasion had displaced my schedule. The big conference table that normally occupied the center of the room had been scooted over against the wall. A few kids were sitting by it, coloring. Others were running around the room, kicking a ball. A couple were sitting on the floor, crying giant crocodile tears. I stepped closer. Air mattresses and cots lined the wall. What in the world was going on? This looked more like a slumber party than a board room. Or perhaps a shelter, like the kind you see on TV when there has been a hurricane.
A shelter. For kids who have no where else to stay. For kids in foster care. “There are no open foster homes, and all the actual shelter buildings are full. This is the shelter overflow,” I was told. My mind jumped to another story of a child with nowhere to stay.
“She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.” Luke 2:7 (NLT)
At least in that story there was a mom and a dad. In this one, there were only children, supervised in a conference room turned bedroom by a few case workers turned caregivers. I wondered who these kids had the potential to be. Teachers? Athletes? Doctors? Maybe, but the reality is that they have no resources. No source of comfort or encouragement. A better chance of being a prostitute or a prisoner than anything else. At least prostitutes and prisoners have a bed.
I wonder why, in a country of thousands of churches, of millions of homes with a spare bedroom and an extra car seat, why foster kids sleep on an air mattress in a county office. Why people who label themselves as Christians don’t see the face of Christ himself in the laughter and the tears of these children. Who will YOU see? And what will YOU do about it?
“For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.” Matthew 25:35 (NLT)