The Spirit of Resiliency
By: Lauren Parker Prekop, Florida Region Adoptions Case Manager
Resiliency: an occurrence of rebounding or springing back; a movement back from an impact.
-American Heritage Dictionary
No one better exemplifies resiliency than the children and teens in our foster care system!
Losing a family, whether temporarily or permanently, is one of the most difficult experiences in a young person’s life, and one which will leave an indelible impact on their life. If there is no appropriate relative or family friend to help, the child must move to an environment completely unfamiliar to them: a “foster home” or “group home”. Even with genuine and welcoming foster parents or group home staff, the child or children will likely still feel like they are in a stranger’s home. Once there, they must try to adapt the best they can, while building a life with a new family.
Yet, despite all of this, children and teens in the foster care system have a lesson to teach us all! Overcoming a number of obstacles and hardships, these young people still go on, and they go strong! Spend time with these amazing kids and it quickly becomes apparent that their spirits will not be dampened.
Service workers at One Hope United witness this strength, as they spend a lot of time with these kids, particularly while transporting them to a visitation with a parent, a therapy appointment, a court hearing, or, maybe even an adoption event (if the child or teen is available for adoption). These opportunities can be some of the best times to get to know a young person. It is during this time that a lot of them will open up and talk about their feelings related to foster care or discuss their future goals. Some may sing loudly to the radio and dance around to the latest hit song. It’s inspiring to see how happy and expressive some can be, despite all of the negative things they’ve encountered in their life.
Many of the kids also have incredible talents, especially the teens. In a court hearing they might boldly share a thing or two about themselves with the Magistrate. Some aren’t shy at all and will speak their mind. At a news event while seeking forever families, these teens might perform a dance they choreographed while being filmed by a news crew. At an adoption event, they may be the star of an improvised skit. On the basketball court, they may be the player with the most points for the game. They could also be the star of their high school football team. Other kids create art, write heartfelt poetry, cook gourmet meals, or help around the house in some other capacity.
The number of ways in which the children and teens in our foster care system express themselves is limitless! We salute the beautiful spirit in each and every one of them.