What does the word ‘home’ mean to you?
‘Home’ fills my heart with memory. I remember the smell of hot cross buns on Easter Sunday. I remember solving sudoku puzzles with Dad. I remember watching Mum sew together a tapestry, thread by thread. I remember swimming in the summer, tackling my brother, and lighting fires in a gutter on a bored afternoon with friends. I remember Gran gifting my first Bible, I remember stories my mother told about when Grandma wasn’t old.
I remember. The story of my life is bumpy and not perfect (who’s story is, right?), but for the most part I don’t have to work very hard to piece it all together. This is partly because I got to grow up with my parents. I was, more or less, safe in their care.
Today, I work for Anglicare with kids in foster care. Like all of us, their stories are bumpy and not perfect, and they have lots of memories. What’s a bit different, though, is the word ‘home’ is often a bit more complicated. You see, kids in foster care aren’t cared for by their parents. This is because at some point the government decided they weren’t safe in their parents’ care. So, the government asked an agency, like Anglicare, to find a family who would keep them safe and help them grow up. For some kids, this is for a short time, while their parents get needed support. For other kids, this is for a long time, until they become adults.
Some kids in foster care still have scary memories of when they weren’t safe. It can feel like they are still not safe now, even though they are. Sometimes memories involve friends, or family, or pets, who they don’t see much anymore. All of these memories can make it hard for some kids to know who they are anymore.
Thankfully, as well as memories, each of us also has dreams. At Anglicare, we help kids in foster care to value their memories, both good and bad, and to start work on realising their dreams. We help kids to know who they are, and to become who they will be.
I look forward to the day when ‘home’ isn’t complicated, when God ‘will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ Revelation 21:4
Written by Nicholas Trevena, Anglicare Team Leader - Foster Care Program