In the house next-door there are 3 little boys who are all dreaming of a family. Each of them has experienced trauma and loss, most before their 1st birthday and then tragically, continually until they came into our care.
The boys have become brothers, learning to love and growing together. They are rambunctious. They love to play trucks and crash and bump. Some of their favorite foods are beans, tortillas, eggs and fried chicken. They get excited to participate in school lessons via Zoom and in person with the Legacy of Hope Foundation’s teacher. They look forward to birthday parties and special events. They love to show you what they can do because they are bigger and stronger now.
In so many ways they look and sound like typical kids… But in the ways that you can’t see ,they are anything but typical.
One boy has been in and out of the protective system his whole life. He suffered from severe malnutrition and neglect more than once.
One boy was sold repeatedly on a local street corner by a parent until a good Samaritan called the police and he was rescued.
One boy was abandoned moments after his birth and left for dead. Each one of these boys were hurt by the very people that were suppose to care for and protect them.
The horrendous treatment and betrayals of trust that have happened to these boys are horrible. While we don’t know the circumstances that caused their previous caregivers to act in such grievous ways I can tell you that these precious boys know that the events that led to them coming into our care are not their fault.
They have found their voice, understand their worth and they know that their past doesn’t determine their future. The cycles of neglect, abandonment and abuse have been broken and these boys are on a new path.
Trying to navigate trauma and its affects as a preschooler is confusing and hard. But over months and years of loving connection and support, these tiny men have learned to trust and that there are safe adults who will meet their needs and love them unconditionally. They still have hard days, but when they need it, they have loving arms to hold them and gentle hands to wipe away their tears.
The 3 little boys live with their ‘for-now mama”. She loves them fiercely and helps them plan for the future, knowing that someday she will no longer be a part of their everyday lives. When the psychologist comes to talk about their forever family they imagine what theirs will look like. Somedays they feel excited. Other days they feel sad because gaining a forever family means losing one where they have felt safe.
As a foster mother for more than 15 years I can honestly say that foster care is hard for both children and adults; but we know that the work we do as foster parents is building foundations of trust that will ensure that these boys and others like them will have a future where healthy relationships are not only possible, but probable.
No matter where you may live, the realities of foster care are difficult. The brokenness that results from unsafe families and a system created by falible humans, cannot be cleaned up or repaired with a magic one size fits all solution. However the evidence is clear, the benefits of children forming secure attachments to safe and healthy adults means they can begin to heal and eventually form new healthy attachments which will lead to a very different trajectory for their lives.
These 3 little boys are not alone in their wait for a family. They have each other, their “for-now mama” and the constant support of the Legacy of Hope foster care team. They have learned what it means to be loved and also how to give and receive care.
They are already success stories and Legacy of Hope has been privileged to be a part of their journey.