The other day I finished reading Black Beauty to the kids, and I cried hard. It wasn’t a pretty cry with little tears running down my cheeks. Nope it was a full on UGLY cry.
If you’re not familiar with this story it’s the tale written in 1877 by English author Anna Sewell. In the beginning of this story Beauty is a carefree colt on an English farm with his mother. However, those days soon end and he is re homed several times some of those homes have kind owners but some are cruel. However, Beauty always tries his best to serve humans despite the circumstances. The book ends with beauty living out his retirement with kind owners in the countryside.
So why did this tale about a little horse that ends happily ever after invoke such strong emotions?
It made me think about foster care.
Did you know that back in 2009 there were 5,368 children in foster care in South Carolina? Over the past 8 years this number has steadily grown.
And while I realize that Black Beauty was not written about children it is easy to picture that even as this little horse was full emotions as he was re homed so are the children. Black Beauty was often hurt, confused, and anxious when he was re homed. Would this master be kind or cruel? Would there be a clear set of rules? What were the values? Would the new family be rich or poor? And yet at each home Black Beauty tried his best to serve.
And as the children are moved from foster home to foster home there are questions — Will the foster parents be kind or cruel? Will there be clear rules? And so on…. And many of these children try (or at least begin this experience trying) to be good for their current foster family.
And as much as it hurt my heart to read about this fictitious horse the pain I feel for these children is much more intense.
I was asked recently “So what’s the deal with you and foster care?”
So here’s the deal, my family is not currently ready to foster children. But it is our goal within the next five years to be ready to provide respite care. Eventually we would like to own a ranch that can serve as a more permanent place for children.
And so as I finished reading the novel to my own children my heart wept. I read about how after many many homes Black Beauty found his final home — and it was a happy home with a pasture, good food, and kind owners. My deepest desire for children in foster care is for them to end up in a happy home with land to play, good food, and kind foster parents. My heart longs for my family to be ready, but while we’re waiting we’re praying and serving in other ways.
Could your heart be pulling you towards foster care? Even if you couldn’t open up your home there are many other ways for you to help these children.