We want to write TRUTH. We don’t want to exploit the pain and suffering of our families. We don’t want you to read our blogs and respond in pity. We want to communicate the beauty and joy hidden in the sorrow.
There is the beauty. Those smiles you see on our kids’ faces, those are real. They aren’t forced or coerced. Their days are filled with happy moments. They laugh loud and play hard; they are loved fiercely.
At the same time, we don’t want to forget the rest of their reality. We can’t brush aside what happens the other 12 hours, when the children are not in our care. We can’t ignore the ugly.
A little girl stripped of her innocence by her abusive uncle. A flashlight strapped to the head of a young boy as he makes the trek up to the garbage dump after dark. A toddler with a swollen bruise on his face at the hand of his mother. A teen mom, sunglasses covering her soft, still-childlike face, and the violent marks left behind by her lover. A baby wrapped in a piece of plastic and placed protectively in a bureau, as the winds and rain tear through their tarp roof.
The truth is, it is much easier to share the success stories.
It’s harder to write about the mother who is still neglecting her child, or the father who is still a drug addict, or the child that was hurt when we weren’t there to protect them.
It is harder because we want to speak to these situations in a way that respects the families. These are their lives and their stories. And in the darkest and most vulnerable parts, they have invited us in.
It is a balance we are still learning.
We want you to see their smiling faces. We want you to hear that they are learning and growing. But it is equally important you know their heartbreak. We want you grieve with them when they hurt and to rejoice with them when they succeed.
We want you to be angry at suffering and injustice. We want you to enjoy the beauty of lives being changed. And we want you to rest assured that God is indeed working here.