I often think of the moment that a child is entering foster care or a children’s home. I wonder how they process the events leading up to that moment, and how they cope with new surroundings and people. Following is a letter from Shannon written to herself as a child living on the Selma Campus of the United Methodist Children’s Home.
I know this is a tough time for you. There’s a lot of people you don’t know and a lot of rules you’ve never had before, and you are so anxious because you really don’t know what to expect. Believe me when I say that you will grow so much as a person and learn so many things during this time you are there. You are going to develop lifelong friendships, fall in love a few times, have your heart broken, get angry at everyone and everything, and get put on restriction a lot! The most important thing is that you will learn and you will grow. Always keep in mind that no matter what you are going through during any one particular day that the people in charge really do mean well and they do have your best interests as a priority, even though it may not seem that way in your young eyes. You might not be able to see this now, but when you look back twenty or thirty years later, you will understand. It’s difficult to be away from familiar surroundings and instead be in a place where everyone is a stranger to you, but they won’t be strangers forever. Instead, they will become your family and in turn, years down the road, you will look back on memories that you are creating now with fondness and remember these people as your special family.
You’re going to have the chances to have experiences that you would have never gotten otherwise, and being away form that situation you were in gives you the chance to concentrate on being the best YOU that you can be! As I sit here writing to you and thinking about what you will experience, I really can’t tell you anything to avoid or to make sure you do specifically. In retrospect, the years pass by quickly, so things that take place which seem like they are the end of the world now really are not. There’s not one thing I would change about how things happened because if things were different, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Just always be the unique individual you are and never lose sight that you are worthy and deserve to be happy and healthy.
With much love,
If you would like to find out how you can make a difference with the United Methodist Children’s Home, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.