Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Good Drawback: The Complications of Reunification and Evangelism in Foster Care

It is often said that reunification of families is the goal of foster care and that Christian foster parents should pursue restoration, not only by loving the kids, but also by sharing Christ with the birth parents. 

This is a good goal, and easily achievable in a imperfect-perfect world (one broken enough for foster care to exist, while tidy enough to make the task simple). The real world of foster care is a bit messier than that.

Foster parents often see more clearly than anyone the dangers of pre-mature or hasty reunification. They know their foster children well, and they quickly get to know (through personal experience and public social media accounts) the child's birth parents, perhaps even better than state agencies, who frankly seem less adept at “private investigation” than concerned foster moms. Concerns for the child's well-being often arise from this knowledge and experience, and not usually because the birth parents are bad people (like most outside the foster system assume). More often, birth parents are loving, but simply unable to provide adequate childcare for one reason or another. Still, foster parents may have legitimate reasons for concern when it comes to reunification in spite of that stated goal.

These concerns result in an internal conflict for foster parents who mentally affirm the goal of reunification while holding (at times) serious reservations in their hearts when considering the welfare of the child. It is hard to love a child and not adopt a “child's best interest” mentality over against the “family's best interest.” I challenge anyone to try it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Living Room

Stretched across the living room chair
I read chapter one, the book opening to
an old man stretched out across
the hospital bed in his living room

waiting to die.
And hearing laughter I look up
to my wife, knees up in the recliner,
smiling, making faces at the baby, and

I love her.
I love her as an old man looks back
on his young bride in a dream, as she was,
just so on some unparticular evening.

I love her, bright eyes shy, wondering
why I am staring at her that way,
memorizing the ordinary eternal moment.

I love her, living and young,
a present beauty on the fleeting pages
between the first chapter and last.

I love her, the woman in my living room
beside the hospital bed.

The one from which I awoke.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Weep Rachel's Tears

Weep loud, O daughter of God, wail and cry,
you loose from chaos and life disordered,
you whose poor mother never was murdered,
you without wound or the need to ask why.

Weep Rachel's tears, all comfort refusing,
for children in anguish of heart and head,
for sleepless and sad, no room for a bed,
who woke up broken against all choosing.

Weep for the wandering, wasted, alone.
Mourn the abandoned to prison walls strong.
Keep vigil until the shadows are long
and cast only by the walls of a home.

Weep for the children, tears fall as our prayers
rise to the Risen, He suffers them there.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Only Me

I've tried to be so many men
While married to a single wife,
I can't recall who I was when
I stood and pledged to you my life.
Of all the men I've lived to be,
The man you wed was only me.

I've been a leader, been a friend,
Have played the hero and the foe.
I've been a preacher, steeped in sin,
Been searching more than most could know
To find the man I'm called to be.
With only you, I'm only me.

I've sang and played upon the stage,
I've written with a poet's pen,
I've worked to earn our living wage,
I've failed and won and failed again.
No matter what I've done, you see
Beyond the act to only me.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

When a Girl Breaks Your Heart

When a girl breaks your heart, son,
you never forget her; soon enough,
you'll see what I mean.

I remember how it happens -
She turns and smiles at you, pretty
surprising to your oblivious self.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


The clouds sailed the sea above
the station where I pumped gas,
the breeze like waves teasing
the fuel-fumed dock

But the broken nozzle demanded
a firm grip on the handle, and I
must be practical, after all
this time without wings or sails

Still, the wind whispers a call
to the weighted, would-be wayfarer,
the siren summons of the free
and boundless blue sky

And I on the cement stood
anchored by the greasy hose
beside the cigarette ads

Friday, April 18, 2014

You (Won't) Only Live Once

You Only Live Once.

The inspiration for anything from skydiving to one-night-stands, “YOLO” has become one of the favorite hashtag-maxims of this generation. It makes sense. Too many of us spend life standing on the sidelines, watching others seize opportunities we ourselves are too afraid to chance, allowing the parade of days and years to float past us. We need something to get us in the game, an energy drink for the soul, a kick in the inner constitution. We need a 4-letter reminder that we only get one shot at this crazy existence and that we had better start giving it all we’ve got.

“You are never going to see these people again,” says the blind cosmos. “So who cares what they think?”