When a child leaves Shadow our prayer is always that they go to a good, healthy situation in which all their needs will be met. Unfortunately, we know this isn’t always the case. And it’s never our decision. We do have information that we present to the assigned judge, but ultimately it’s his/her decision. Sometimes we don’t agree with this decision and in these cases we plead for more time and investigation.
More often than not, when a child leaves, it is to a situation that is less than desirable. Either the parents are doing just enough to fool the judge, or the judge makes an irrational decision to return them regardless of the evidence. It’s frustrating and confusing. It’s sad and heart-breaking. It’s just plain wrong.
Honestly, our personal preferences and opinions are guided by the love we have for a child. And these feelings can skew our vision of what’s best for each child. However, it does not distort our desires for the life of the child. We want them to be safe. We want them to be fed and educated. We want them to be loved. And in reality that’s what the courts want for them as well. It’s just that the judge making the decision doesn’t know the child on a personal level like we do. And, not every judge cares if they know Jesus or not.
In most cases when a child leaves, we are unsure of what they are headed in to. We say goodbye not knowing if they will be safe at night, if they will be put to work in the streets, or if they will be allowed to continue their education. But when we do know where they’re headed it brings us great joy. This has happened recently and we are praising God for it.
In two separate cases our girls have returned to good situations. In both cases the families have made great strides in their circumstances and have done everything asked by the judges. They completed parenting classes, moved to better homes, gotten jobs, and removed themselves from dangerous situations. It blesses our heart that one girl will now sleep in a bed instead of on the floor. The other’s rapist is now in prison. Both families have repented of their actions, completed all requirements, and now understand the importance of their roles as parents.
We want all kids to be with family. Whether here at Shadow or with biological family, it’s God’s design and desire, and therefore ours as well. Of course that family must be a healthy, safe, loving family in which a child can grow and thrive. We strive to provide this while we care for the kids that God sends us, but can only pray they receive the same with their biological families. Once they leave, all we can do is pray for them. We invite all of the Shadow family to join us in this. Without it and Jesus, some will have no hope. No future. And no real family.