“Never say Never”
The words above were spoken often from the lips of my mom while growing up. I specifically remember telling her, “I will never work with children; especially abused and neglected children.” She responded with, “Never say never.” I’ve thought about these words for years now.
I know that part of my rejection of the notion to ever work with children stemmed from my fear of getting too close to the raw emotions of infertility. I thought that if I steered clear of anything to do with children, I would not have to face the jagged reality of never being able to bring a child into the world. My studies in college were all about aging and the elderly population; in other words, NOT about children…never about children.
It was about twenty years ago when I told my mom that I would never work with children (especially abused and neglected children). As I was sitting at a visit tonight with a couple considering becoming foster parents, the words “never say never” came up in the conversation. I thought about these words that my mom stated to me through the years, and how true they are.
Just last weekend, I listened as two teenagers in the foster care system shared their stories with prospective foster parents. My heart broke for these kids. I wanted to grab them and say, “You are and never will be a throw-away kid!” Their stories of rejection by birth parents, drug addiction, homelessness, and basically being completely independent of anyone else meeting their needs are ones that can cause great anger and frustration. Again though, the words “never say never” crept back into my mind.
One of the teens is being adopted by his foster parents when he turns 18-years-old. He will be adopted when he becomes a legal adult. I’m sure somehow through his eight-to-ten year stay in the foster care system it was said that he would never be adopted, and never be part of a family. The other teenager spoke about celebrating sobriety and accepting the Lord. I’m sure too that at some point in this child’s life, someone thought he would never get sober, never make it in a family, and never accept the Lord. I venture to guess that both of the boys have thought these things about themselves as well.
“Never say never” is a saying that tends to provoke us to be mindful of what we say, do, and feel. I can boldly state that I never imagined working for a Christian ministry focused on meeting needs of children in foster care. I never visualized ever sharing my story of having a hysterectomy as a child and infertility to anyone outside of my close inner circle of friends and family. I never thought for one minute that my professional life would be filled with working with families who are struggling with infertility, or who are desiring to care for children desperately in need of love and stability.
I never, ever dreamed of being a parent to any child, let alone three children. While fostering my son, I really wondered if we would be able to adopt him. I probably told myself “it will never happen”. I also never thought I would adopt a little girl. Now, at this age and with the great blessing of children and a full life, I never would have dreamed of bringing in, loving on, and caring for another baby in need of stability. “Never” seems to be an Earthly reaction to what life can throw at us.
I want you to know that the Lord has spoken this into my life: “You will work with abused children. You will work in ministry. You will share your story of infertility with anyone willing to read or hear it. You will work with families who have also felt the cutting pain of infertility, and with those who attempt to bind the wounds that the world has left on children. You will be a parent to a son and a daughter. You will follow as I lead you down the path of taking in another child.”
It feels like a life-time ago that I stood in my mom’s kitchen declaring what I would never do. She was right you know,….”Never say never” to what the Lord has planned for your life.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26