Posts Tagged ‘Birthday’

Kids these days are different.
Systems these days are broken.
Some always have been.
But they don’t always have to be.

When I was born I nursed at my mother’s breast.
One of my friends just had a baby, but they are not together because she is in jail.

When I was one I saw both parents in my home every day.
My friend has a one year old who she sees for an hour every other week when her daughter is brought to the jail for a visit.

When I was two I tried to run away (but couldn’t open the door), because my parents wanted me to be safe and wouldn’t let me play on the stairs.
One of my friend’s kids are out of county with her in-laws and she cannot reach them now because she’s in jail, and if nothing changes she cannot be with them when she gets out because she’s not supposed to leave the county on probation.

When I was three I moved to a new house with my family.
One of my friends signed her three year up for an Angel Tree Christmas present to be delivered, because she will be in jail for many more years and her daughter has been adopted into a new home and family.

When I was four life was great, I had dolls and toys and dates with my mom while my sister was at school.
One of my friends was not allowed to talk to her kids for several months until CPS changed their minds and now she can call home from jail and at least talk to them on the phone while she waits for her trial and for the courts to decide if she is guilty or innocent.

When I was five I went to kindergarten and loved my teacher.
One of my friends has a son in kindergarten who hides under the table, swears at his teacher and asks for his mom.

When I was six I had my first real birthday party and all my friends came over.
One of my friends has a six year old in the hospital because he tried to take his own life.

Don’t misunderstand what I’m trying to say. I am by no means saying that these six women are innocent. Nor do I think they would all make the best mothers (some sure would). But I do think this…our system is broken. We are not helping these kids by throwing their moms in jail and forgetting about them. Maybe, just maybe, there is another way, that we haven’t tried yet.

Like I said before.
Kids these days are different.
Systems these days are broken.
Some always have been.
But they don’t always have to be.
Will you take one step towards changing them?
Will you make a difference?

Advertisements

“Happy birthday!” I told her. No present though. Not a cake and ice cream, or even a card or a hug. She told me instead how it’s a stressful day with people detoxing and in bad moods on the block. Not your typical birthday party.

“I finally heard from my fiancé,” she said. I was glad to know he wasn’t dead because she had been nervous that he might be. “He’s with another woman now.” She said as if that’s what she deserved since she was in jail.

“I lost a daughter 10 years ago.” She said seemingly unrelated to our conversation. So then we talked about that. We talked about how 11 days before her due date the baby stopped moving. The cord had wrapped around her neck and then she had to deliver a dead baby. She talked about how she knew it was dead, but still had hope it would wake up and cry. How she held her sweet daughter for two hours before saying goodbye. Today she cried. She said she hasn’t cried the whole time she’s been in jail, and that she needed this. It’s amazing how long it can take us before we are willing to talk about the pain in our past.

“I was clean for two and a half years,” she said as the tears started to flow. “But I came back here and I used and I can’t remember Sunday through Thursday…I don’t know what I did. I feel so ashamed. Did I sleep with people for money? I can’t remember. Then when I was sober again and I got picked up for something else and brought back to jail.”

“I didn’t call or anything, I just stood her up,” she said about visiting her four year old daughter who now lives with a different family since she was taken away as a baby when her Mama was addicted to heroin. “I know she was there wondering, ‘Where is my Mommy? Why didn’t see come?’.” This woman is left hoping her daughter knows she loves her even when she’s failed to show it.

5 stories. All hard. Jail stories are hard. Sadly, these are just one day. Every day has so many stories. And they’re hard. It makes my heart happy that Jesus offers hope. I could never go in and hear about this pain again and again without having hope of redemption.

I think birthdays are wonderful things! I made sure the world, or at least central PA, was quite aware that my birthday was approaching by reminding people at least 1 month in advance. I was celebrated well with a family dinner of rice and curry the night before my B-day and brownies and presents, a candle in a cookie from friends at midnight to bring my day in, a brownie for breakfast and a visit from a friend, Bible study with my homeless friends where I was given ice cream and sung to, coffee and presents with friends, a tea party with my littles (without tea, but with a mermaid and blues clues costume), bubble tea and good conversation and presents with another friend, gardening in the sunshine with brownies, a Bible study party and treats with lots more friends, and a birthday party the next day with more friends! Not to mention getting to talk to my mom, brother, and sister. An email from my dad. Calls from many friends and relatives. An email from my New Zealand Bible School director. Tons of facebook birthday wishes and texts. And just an all around wonderful time. Why do we only do this once a year? I have gotten lots of advice on how to be 25 and am also compiling a to-do list of things I should do in my 25th year of life…if you’d like to add anything let me know and I’ll put it on the adventure list!

Turning 25 was also the inspiration for May’s support goal. It’s a big one, but I think it’s possible! This month I am trying to find 25 people who are willing to start supporting me $25 a month! Yikes! It’s scary to set a goal so high, but life is an adventure, so this is just part of that! If you would be willing to start supporting me at $25 a month would you please let me know! I would love to keep track this month and see if we can get up to 25 new people! (Or if you’d like to add $25 to what you’re currently giving that would count too!) Thanks in advance to those who will consider giving! Also thanks to those who pray for me and encourage me! I couldn’t do this alone!