Susan grew up in a home where she was neglected from the time she came home from the hospital. Her father was never there. By age 8, she couldn’t have picked him out of a line-up. She slightly remembered seeing him once or twice when she was very young…about age 3 or 4.
As she grew older, her mom had a series of boyfriends who lived in their tiny apartment. They were at varying levels of abusive…all of them! She couldn’t remember once having one of these men look at her kindly to say something to her that was hopeful, encouraging or uplifting.
Shortly after she turned 8, her mother died of a drug overdose. There was no family. There were no distant relatives. There was no one to call to ask if they could take her in.
They were alone and afraid
She and her younger brother Joe, were all alone and afraid. The social worker came to pick them up to take them to a foster home where they would stay until a more permanent home was found for them.
The family where they went to live was new to fostering. They had two children of their own who were in middle school. Susan crawled into the bed that first night between the cleanest sheets she had ever slept on! The home was clean, quiet and so peaceful!
Her new parents rarely even raised their voices at each other! She kept waiting for them to finally lose their temper…but compared to what she was used to, this home was morgue quiet. These people didn’t go on angry jags of screaming and beating on each other when high on drugs.
There was something new in this home: kindness
There was something in this home that characterized their relationships that she had never experienced before. Kindness. The parents talked kindly to each other, to their children and to her and her brother.
It often seemed they went out of their way to compliment them on things they did well. This was a new experience for her. It often made her feel so good inside she wanted to cry. She knew it could never last…this feeling of being home and part of a family.
There was order to their lives. Each morning they got up in time to have breakfast before going to school. The father actually went to work every day! The mom worked from home but was able to work around the schedules of the children to get them where they needed to go…lessons, sports, church and school.
The children had chores to do, a regular time to go to bed, and interesting, fun activities with friends happening on the weekends.
But as time went on, Susan realized she shouldn’t get too attached. This was temporary. She should not get used to this home because she would soon be gone. Then it would be back to reality. She knew there was no way it could last.
It was almost too perfect. There was always enough food. She no longer had to hide food away like she did at first. She realized that food would always be there every day…plenty of it.
She realized that these people really were going to take care of her and her brother. Each day they took her to school and picked her up. She was amazed!
They even took her and her brother with them on vacation!
Not only that, during breaks, the family took them on vacation with them. It was amazing. She was almost able to forget she wasn’t a foster child while on vacation as they laughed and played on the beach.
But at night, she had to talk to herself and remember that this was only temporary. “This is not going to last Susan.” She told herself. “You can enjoy the beach all you want now. It won’t last. The day will come when they will send you back. Don’t make any demands.”
And then it happened!
One day, she overslept and was running late for school. Her foster mom had reminded her that they had 5 minutes to go before they had to leave for school. As she rushed to get ready and finish breakfast, she spilled milk all over her clothes.
Something inside her snapped as she realized she would not be ready on time. She jumped up and unloaded a mouthful of vitriol the likes of which had never been heard before in that home! The family paused and looked sadly at her. Her mom came to give her a hug, but all she could do was run.
She ran to her room and slammed the door. She heard the car leave and wondered what was going to happen to her. She calmed down, cleaned herself up and quietly, resolutely changed her clothes.
She heard a knock on the bedroom door
Within a few minutes, the car arrived in the garage and she heard a knock on her bedroom door. It was her foster mom. She said, “Susan, I think we need to talk. What is going on with you?”
“I’m not sure. I just know I’m very scared. I don’t know why I got so upset.”
As the two talked, Susan realized she was afraid she would be sent back where she came from. She had been living safely. She had been living carefully. But could never really enjoy the life she was living in this family.
This morning, when she knew she wouldn’t be able to be ready on time after spilling her milk, she panicked and returned to what came naturally.
Her mom said, “Susan, you know we love you the way you are. You don’t have to be perfect for us. We are planning to adopt you and your brother.”
“You are? I didn’t know. I guess I ruined all that didn’t I?”
“No.” said her mom. “We still plan to adopt you. In fact, we needed to see some of your worst behavior before we could make the final decision. We knew your agreeable behavior was not all the real you.”
“Yes. We love you. When you are happy, when you are sad. When you are angry, when you are sad. We love all of you.”
“I guess I should change my clothes then.”
“Yes, I think that would be a good idea.”
There stood Susan, dressed in the clothes she wore from her original home!
There stood Susan, dressed in the clothes she wore when she came from her home to the foster home. She was so certain they would take her back!
Now she knew she was not going to be taken back but rather adopted into this home that loved her! She had found a home. She had found a family who loved her unconditionally.
Every time she stopped to think about that and what it meant, her mind could not get hold of it. It was beyond her belief and imagination. She was just going to have to adjust to this delightful truth!
Do you live like an orphan because you never became part of the family?
Or do you live like an orphan as part of the family, but not really part of it…trying to please, but not really enjoying the joy of belonging to Him?
[bctt tweet=”God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law so that he could adopt us as his very own children.” via=”no”]
But when the right time came, God sent his Son,
born of a woman, subject to the law.
God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves
to the law,
so that he could adopt us as his very own children.
And because we are his children,
God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,
prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.”
Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child.
And since you are his child,
God has made you his heir.
Galatians 4:4-7 LBT
This is a parable. It grew out of a trashed Five Minute Friday post from last April. It’s my first attempt at writing this kind of story.