Just the other day, a young foster child who is up for adoption said to me, "I try to be soooo good, Miss Dawn, so I'll get adopted."
Few sweet words, but a painstaking reminder of how incredibly fractured our precious children are at their very core.
Yes, I say "our children" because they are ours. They are in the care of the state, so we do pay for their basic necessities: food, shelter, and clothing. We search for safe foster homes and work to get them adopted, if that is what they want. We are all they have. Their hope, if they even still have it, is placed in our hands.
Yet so few of us grasp what a responsibility that is. And while our government and our dollars are earmarked to help the children in our care, who is making sure they become decent citizens? Because, honestly, after what a lot of them have told me, if I were in their shoes and lived the horror they have, I'm not sure I'd be too invested in caring too much how life turns out for me.
I've heard a 6-year old, alongside his sister, say he's just "sitting here waiting for somebody to come get us."
A 12-year old told me, "I think about it so much I can barely sleep. I hope I find the right family for me."
A 13-year old girl shared with me that she felt "fate has ruined my life. I don't really have a family, yet I do."
And then a child said once "I wake up every morning like 'is it today something's gonna happen?'"
If you haven't seen my series highlighting state foster children up for adoption, please watch. Every single one of the 111 children I've met and interviewed shares something in common: they don't feel wanted or loved.
Imagine for a moment feeling that way. Imagine for a moment hoping for something that- by our birth right- every one of us deserves. Yet they don't have it, and their prayers at night include a desperate hope that someone shows up for them. Shouldn't a family be something that's just there no matter what? But family isn't there for these blessed children.
It's almost as if they could so easily become invisible, forgotten. Yet there are literally thousands of state foster children living among us. They need us. Not just if they're "good." Just because they exist. They are ours.