Monday, May 2, 2016

A story

Two men, Harry and George die on the same day. They arrive in Heaven are created by none other than Jesus himself.  George runs up to him and says, "I have been a good Christian all my life, I was on the board of my church and went to church every chance I got, I am ready for my reward".
Harry, stopped and fell to his knees crying. He couldn't say a word.

Jesus said, let me look at your files. Hmm, when I was in prison, Harry, you came and visited me. George, you shouted that I should be executed.  When I was homeless, Harry, you bought me a cup of coffee and a sandwich.  George, you shouted at me to get a job.  When I used a government card to pay for my groceries, Harry, you smiled at me and told me my children were well behaved. George, you called me a mooch and told me I needed to learn about birth control.  When I tried to come to your country to make a better, safer life for my family. George, you told me I was a terrorist and should not be allowed in. Harry, you donated food and medicine to the refugee camp and offered to help me get settled in your country.  When I was in the hospital dying from aids, George you shouted that it was a punishment from God for my sin. Harry, you visited me and fed me ice chips. When I was an orphan, Harry, you helped me. George, you shouted that veterans should come first.  When I was a veteran, I visited your church. George, you looked at my tattoos and ratty jeans and shook your head. Harry, you shook my hand and welcomed me.  When I was a different race, George, you said I was equal, but wanted me to stay with my own people and secretly felt I was more likely to be a criminal. Harry, you called me brother and loved me.

George was sputtering. None of that happened. You lived long before I was born, if I had been around then I would have followed you.  Jesus looked at him, "would, you have?" He asked gently. You said many times that your families safety came first, would you have walked away from your job and your family to follow me?  Would you have risked prison and the whip and death?  George could not answer.

Harry was still on his knees. Jesus went to him, and lifted his chin to look him in the eye. Harry was crying, "I didn't do enough, I missed opportunities." Jesus lifted him to his feet and hugged him.  "You tried to live for me" he said.  Then he turned to George. "You lived for yourself. You used my name to make yourself seem like a better person. You never gave your heart to me, just your image, I wanted your heart."  Then he turned and walked away with his arm around Harry, leaving George standing all alone.

Note: I had this dream and thought I would share it. Take from it what you will.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

God Helps Those Who Help Themselves Vs. WWJD

My grandmother was fond of the saying "God helps those who help themselves". She was a very strong independent woman. I heard that so many times that I looked it up and was surprised it was not in the Bible. When I was a teen WWJD bracelets were all the rage. What would Jesus do?  Both of these sayings are forever etched in my brain.

The other day I was having a conversation with a friend and we were talking about many things, immigration, welfare, refugees.  She told me that God helps those who help themselves and that God would want us to do whatever it took to keep our families safe and take care of "our own" first.  We should do nothing that would have even a remote chance of endangering our families.  OK, I love my family and would do just about anything for them. I love them more than myself, but I love God more.  So is it what God would want? I know he gave me my children and I am responsible for them. Especially when they were small.  So I did what I always do. I went to the Bible. After all, my friend was sure the Bible and especially Jesus would back her up.

So first off, I checked again and "God helps those who help themselves" is still not in there. Of course neither is WWJD.  But, the sentiment of being like Jesus is a valid one, so I had to look at what Jesus did and said.  First off, he was a firstborn son, and in that culture with no medicare or Social security, it was the firstborn son's job to look after his parents in their old age. Especially if the mother was widowed. We don't know that Jesus' mother was a widow, but since Joseph is not mentioned in Jesus adult life it's likely. Accidents happened a lot back then, especially working construction as Joseph did. (the word we translate to carpenter is actually better translated to builder and they built a lot with stone because there are not a lot of trees for building with wood, but lots of rocks) Jesus did not stay home and take care of his mother. In fact he at one point ignored her and his brothers. He was doing God's work which He must have thought superseded his responsibility to His earthly family. OK but he was divine, so maybe it was different for him. Lets look at what He told other people instead.  Well, four of his disciples had a fishing business to support their families. We know at least one was married, because later they visited Peter's mother in law. All four of them dropped their nets and went off with Jesus leaving their families without their income or presence.  Remember no birth control so there were probably kids involved. It was normal to marry and have kids. Jesus not doing that was against the norm. Many of the disciples were probably married and had kids.  Remember the man that asked if he could follow Jesus, but wanted to bury his father first? Jesus said no. He comes first, not your family. He even talked about hating your mother and father in one of my least favorite verses because it's so hard to understand.  Mary and Martha, sisters. Martha is someone I relate to. She was trying to take care of her family and their guests. She got rebuked for it.  So taking care of your family first, even though it's my first instinct, doesn't fit with WWJD.  This Christianity stuff is harder than I thought.

So what about the foreigners, and the sinners and the people who are different from us.  WWJD about those things?  I remember another friend once told me that Jesus didn't understand how our lives were, how persecuted we are now and how hard things are and how bad the world is.  No, the world wasn't the same back then. I think it was harder. Remember they were conquered, invaded and occupied by a foreign country. Different race and religion. Those occupiers made rules, required high taxes and took what they wanted. They allowed the Jews (sorry to the friend of my younger days who thought Jesus was a blue eyed American Christian, he was a middle Easter Jew) to worship, but imposed rules on them and made life harder.  Any soldier could grab someone and make them carry their stuff for a mile. (It's kind of cool that  a lot of the mile markers Romans used are still there) it didn't matter if you were on your way to milk a goat, eat dinner or go to worship. If they grabbed you, you had to do it, walking and walk back. That must have been annoying.  If they wanted your house or livestock, they could and did take it.  Sadly they also took the occasional daughter.   When someone disagreed with them they killed them and made a show of it. They killed a lot of people both before and during the occupation.  Corrupt Jews were given the job of collecting taxes. They were allowed to add on however much they wanted as their fee, as long as they got Rome what it required. They had permission to take anything you owned to pay your taxes if you couldn't pay it or send you to prison and sell your family into slavery. So no one liked those tax collectors, they were traitors and got rich off of other people.  Then there were the samaritans. They had their own villages, because they were different and no one liked them. They were half breeds and considered a different race and religion. They were also considered foreigners. They were sinners because they worshipped differently.  So Jesus knew what it was like to have a tough life. He lived surrounded by foreigners, other religions and sinners.

So back to our WWJD question. What did Jesus do about these people and how did he treat them?  Well, we all know the story of the Good Samaritan. In fact because of it, Samaritan is a compliment now instead of a racial slur.  We do often forget the question it was in response to. Jesus was asked the most important commandment. He said the first is Love the Lord your God. The second he said was "Love your neighbor as yourself". He said on these two hung all the other commandments and the prophets.  So someone asked who is considered your neighbor. If I have to love someone as much as I love myself, I need to know who. Is it just my spouse and kids? Is it the people who live next door? Is it everyone in my town or in my church? Is it just people who are my race, religion and citizenship? Is it just people with whom I share an economic level?  Who are these people I have to love as much as I love myself? The answer was a story. In the story the guy is ignored by the people of his religion and his race and his town. He is taken care of by a foreigner, different race, religion and lifestyle.  We don't completely get how much the Samaritans were disliked, so we are not as shocked by the story as the original listeners probably were.  We are supposed to consider "THOSE" people our neighbors and love them????  He also talked to a samaritan woman at the well who was also a sinner.  That was a huge taboo thing. He had dinner with tax collectors (those traitors) and prostitutes. He healed the servant of a Roman soldier. (can you imagine how upset people were that he was nice to a Roman?)  So, I guess taking care of our own first and closing borders is not WWJD thing.

We still have the safety issue. Are we supposed to protect ourselves and keep ourselves and are families safe at all cost? My knee jerk reaction is yes, but when I read the Bible and think about the WWJD question. Well, I get a different answer. Sermon on the mount. If I had a time machine I would go back and see that sermon. I don't speak the right language so I wouldn't understand the words, but I want to see the faces. For us, because we have heard the words so many times they lose meaning, but when you read it and think about it, Wow. This guy was radical.  We hear turn the other cheek, but don't think abut it. If someone slaps me, I want to slap them back, not let them slap me again. If someone steals my jacket, my first response is not to also hand them my shirt. I was amazed when I read Les Miz the first time, by the actions of the priest, now I know he was just an early adopter of the WWJD thing. If someone made me carry stuff for a mile (remember most people in that audience had probably had a soldier grab them and make them carry heavy armor for a mile) I would not want to carry it for a second mile (and then walk two miles back home).  Love your enemies? Pray for those who persecute you?  He told one guy to sell everything and give it to the poor.  So OK I get it, we are supposed to love and care for other people, regardless of race, religion, citizenship, wealth, sinfulness, or even if they are nice people or not.  OK but what about safety?  WWJD? He got arrested, beaten and hung on a cross and did nothing to defend himself.  He got Resurrected so lets drop that example (even though he still went through a ton of pain) What happened to his disciples and those who followed him? Surely they knew how to do the WWJD thing best, did they stay safe? Did they do whatever it took to ensure their own safety and that of their families? I wish I could say yes, but the answer is no. They didn't. Every one of them was killed for his faith. John the Baptist was beheaded while Jesus was still around preaching. Jesus told Peter to put away his sword. He flat out told them that they would have trouble in this world. He told them that if they followed him they would be persecuted. He also told them to go into ALL the world. Not to stay home and hide and be safe. They got arrested, and beaten and killed. Just like Jesus.  They didn't stay safe. Their families didn't stay safe.  Man, this Christian thing is so radical and scary and different than what I thought it was.

So what does it come down to? Jesus told a lot of stories. One was that at the end of everything he was going to sort the people out. The ones that were His and the ones not.  He has this big group all calling his name, all of whom claimed to be his followers. They all know Scripture and claimed to be Christian. But, Jesus says they are not.  He sorts them into two groups and the people are confused. They are seeing people who seemed like good Christians in both groups. They ask him whats going on. All the good church going people are not in the same group.  He points at his chosen group and says. "When I was hungry, thirsty, lonely, sick, naked, etc, you helped me".  He looks at the other group and says you did not. Both groups are still confused going, "Um, I never saw you" Then he tells them that whenever they did it or didn't do it for anyone, they did it for him.  If someone needs help, we are supposed to give it, because it's as if Jesus needs the help.  So when we ignore that sinner, that refugee, that orphan, that widow, that child in need, we are ignoring Jesus.  We will answer for it. That is enough to make me want to do what I can.  I don't want to be the one to tell him I kept my family safe but that was it, (remember the story of the talents, I can totally bury my family in an underground bunker and keep them safe, but is that WWJD?) I want to say that I tried to help others and I tried (though I fail more often than I like) to do the the WWJD thing.  I remember when my son told a sibling that I told him he could do something. I had not, and he was in more trouble than he would have been for the lie.  I think we will get in trouble if we tell others that God said such and such, when he didn't. But, luckily for me, he summed it up in two commandments. I can remember two better than ten or hundreds. Love God and Love others.  Going to work on that.

Monday, January 25, 2016

My son wanted me to start posting again since he did some work on my blog so I will, but this one will be a bit like the last one. I have a kid asking me questions about how to treat homosexuals when the Bible says it's a sin. So I thought I would share my answer here.

Number 1. It says engaging in the act of sex with another man is a sin, not being attracted to them.  So just the idea of someone being gay does not make them a sinner.

Number 2. It says that a man who looks at woman with lust in his heart is sinning. Looks to me like it's easier to sin if you are heterosexual.  But, whatever, the point is, treat the homosexual person having a relationship just the same as you treat the heterosexual guy who looks at women with lust in his heart.  If I see a guy giving a girl that look I think ewww, stop it. If I walk in on two people having sex (I will be honest, it doesn't matter who it is) I think ewww, stop it.  I don't want to see it. You may have different reactions.

Number 3. There are some other sins that don't involve sex. God doesn't really list one as worse than the other unless you count the 7 deadly ones in which case I am in trouble cause I think Gluttony is one and that's my sin of choice.  So things like gluttony, pride, jealousy, drunkenness, gossip, lying, failure to obey the laws of the land when they don't conflict with God's law (that means speeding, cheating on your taxes, etc). There are more but this gives you an idea. So make sure that you treat the homosexual friend the same as you treat your friend who brags about her kids, the one who has the latest gossip, the one who is a glutton (that's me!) the one who drives like a maniac, the one who is always wishing they had what they don't have. You get the idea.

Number 4. Jesus was asked what the most important commandment is, since there are tons in the Bible. Being a great guy he not only gave number one, but also number 2.  1. Love God, 2. Love others.  He said all the other stuff hangs on those two. So if you are a Christian it means you listen to Jesus first, and so you gotta make sure loving comes first before judging.  Course he also said not to judge.  So there is that.

Number 5. If you believe what you say you do. If you really, really believe God created us all and Jesus died for all our sins,  if you believe God can do anything and change hearts, then you have to believe that if He wants to change someone He will.  It's kind of like if you know a guy hiring people and you know a friend who would be perfect for that job then as a good friend you introduce the two.  You might tell the guy what a great person your friend is and stuff, but you don't do the interview. You don't make the decision to hire them or not. If your friend gets the job, you don't get evaluate how they are doing the job. You introduce them, maybe give some info and then it's between them.  You can ask how it's going, but you don't go into that office and start supervising your friend. You don't decide your friends pay, or responsibilities. That's up to the guy that hired them.  Our job is to love people and to introduce them to God.  He is more than able to take it from there. He is more than able to guide them to where He wants them. He has a plan for them on what He wants them to change first and how. No two people have the exact same relationship with Him. If you think you have to police everyone then you are not trusting God to do it.  God didn't say control your friends. In fact He did say you could talk to a friend if you are concerned and if you can't take it, then you walk away from that person.  Jesus didn't try to change the laws to force people to follow him.  Jesus never tried to make non believers follow His rules. The only people he got mad at were religious leaders.  So if you are trying to control other's behavior and faith, then maybe you need another look at your own, because you are not God. He doesn't need help and if He wants you to help, He will tell you.

Number 6. That whole plank and speck in the eye thing. Make sure your house is in order before you go worrying about others. I think Jesus is very, very clear on how we are to treat others, both in His examples and His words. He also repeats the stuff about judging.  So, I do have friends who happen to be homosexual. I love them and will keep loving them. Are they sinners? Well, scripture says "All have sinned and come short of the Glory of God" so since they are part of all, yep.  But, so am I.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Updated look!

Hello, everyone! Welcome to my updated blog! If you like the new look, you have my oldest son, Shiloh, to thank for this. He got on the site to fix some video issues I was having and while he was here, he decided to give the page a bit of a makeover. Let me know what you think!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Confession time.

I have a confession. I have been living a very sinful lifestyle. I have read in the Bible that it is a sin. Some of you already know this about, many suspect and a few might be surprised. Some of you may want to unfriend me after you read this because, well, though I know it’s a sinful lifestyle, I am not ready to say goodbye to it. Since I know I will continue to sin in this way, I cannot repent of it. I do have to say several of you have encouraged and condoned my sin. I am however grateful that no one has tried to pass laws about my type. No one has tried to ban us from places. Yes, there are some who hate me because of it and I have been called names. My real friends love me anyway. My sin is a big one, it’s listed as one of the deadly ones. I mean, I am good with the big two that Jesus talked about, Love God, Love your neighbor. I try really hard on those. I still consider myself a Christian and I still believe I am saved. Some say I am not since I am not without sin, but I read in the Bible that all have sinned. Also that he died for us while we were yet sinners. Plus I have had a lot of long talks with God, and He says he loves me. Crazy huh? I figure confession is good though. So I come now before you to confess my sin of gluttony. I know, I know. My head is hanging in shame. But, I am still glad that my love of bacon, though many believe it to be sin, they have not circulated petitions banning me from buying it at the store or from ordering that bacon double cheeseburger. While I know my Jewish, Vegan, or Muslim friends may be shocked at this confession and ashamed of me for my love of bacon, some others of you have actually condoned and even assisted me in this sin by cooking things for me with bacon in them. Some of you have even served those items to me in church!!!!! Then there is my love of sweets. Some of you post pictures on Facebook that temp me, I am only human, how can I resist such things? I have been sold cake by Christian bakers, in spite of the fact that this directly contributed to my sin of gluttony. I have been worried that there would be a law passed banning fat people from bakeries. Sure, some of my fellow gluttons could sneak by, some who have amazing metabolisms can stay in the gluttony closet. We could lie and say we were buying the doughnuts for a skinny friend, or go to a black market baker. I am so glad we don’t have to because we live in a country where we can be free to practice our gluttony. I do have some friends who while once in this lifestyle have escaped and turned their lives around. No longer are they trapped by gluttony. I am happy for them, but glad none of them treat me with contempt for continuing to wallow. However, I am not sure any of them did it because someone else forced them to do it. Faith cannot be legislated. A person can only change when they are ready to. A change forced on them is not real and will not last. It only causes resentment. I know, my own daughter has tried so hard to cure my sin. She does it out of love because she cares for my soul and for my health. However, this is a lifestyle change she cannot make for me. It must be my choice. Until them, I am grateful bacon is legal and there are no signs on doors that say “no fat people allowed”. I am grateful I am welcomed in my church. I am grateful that I am not lectured at church to repent from my sinful lifestyle. I am grateful no one slaps my hand when I reach for a cookie at church events. They love in spite of the fact that my sin is visible for all to see. Yes, they even bring me goodies, because they love me, all of me. I know God loves me and He and I will deal with my many, many sins together, if we need help, we will ask. Also because no one religion is in charge of the laws for our country, bacon is legal. I love America and I love the freedom I have to be a Christian if I want and not get shot for going to church. I love having the freedom to be a sinner and know I am still loved and I love cupcakes and bacon. Better close now, I have a text and I likely need to answer it, after all it might be a friend wanting me to encourage her sin of pride (my friends have the most adorable kids and grandkids on the planet, so it’s really hard for them not have that pride sin thing) or maybe gossip! I have a few friends struggling with that one too. I am sure that my sins will be the topic of their gossip sin for the rest of this week after I hit post.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Trauma parenting is not one size fits all.

My first adoption took two years from starting paperwork to traveling to get a child. The reasons involved paperwork snafu's and a move. It was a long two years. I spent that time reading. I read every single adoption book I could find. I read blogs, I read websites, I signed up for classes online. There was not nearly as much information as there is now. After all it was 1998. However there were already dozens of books. I wanted to be prepared. My daughter was fairly easy. She adapted to her new home and family fairly quickly and attached. Her story is one of those hearts and rainbows and unicorn adoption stories. Then we decided to adopt again. At first we were going to do a private adoption we had been approached about, and since this was new I went back to research mode. When that fell through and we could not get a response from the local foster care agency to get signed up for classes, we decided we would go overseas again. I went back into research mode. We knew we wanted a limb different child since we had experience with those. I researched adoption from various countries, reading blogs again, reading books again. I researched older child adoption since it looked like children were coming home much older than when we adopted our daughter. I read about early childhood trauma, fetal alcohol, ptsd, post institutional issues, attachment disorders and more. I gave God a list of what I could not handle and He laughed. I finally brought my son home and it was pretty quickly apparent that there were some major issues. I went back to reading everything I could find, talking to more experienced parents, I went to conferences and since I had read so much I took the therapist classes instead of parent ones sometimes. I read every single book I heard about. Here is what I learned. I learned that the books and experts don't agree. They don't agree on what to call it, they don't agree on exact causes, they don't agree on treatment, consequences, or when to try to something different. Most are convinced that only their way works and many flat out say that using any other program or whatever is damaging to the child. Some even call out other specialists by name! One book (can't remember which one so don't ask) spent the entire first chapter badmouthing other people who work with traumatized kids. I was very disappointing. I wanted to know what this persons program was and why it worked and to get ideas to help my kid, I didn't want to know what was wrong with some other person or program. Seems to me if you have tear someone else down to make your point your point must not be very good. I digress. So how the heck is a parent supposed to know what is best? Even talking experienced parents you will get opposing views. No matter what you do, even if it's working for your child, some parent will tell you that you are doing it wrong. It's pretty much a guarantee that your normal friends, people with emotionally healthy kids are not going to get it. Some kids from trauma backgrounds are super charming. It's a survival skill. Those parents are going to hear nothing but how sweet the kid is. They may even talk about how they would love to "take you home with me" (they have no clue that for a child who has already had many homes and many families this may set off a panic that they are going to be leaving their current family soon they they better not allow themselves to get too attached to them). Parents of these kids get judged when they don't let the kids participate in things because the other people don't see that at home that child may be destroying things, trying to self harm or trying to kill the family. They may not know that this child because of hyper vigilance needs 14 hours of sleep every night to function, they may not know that this child will steal if not watched, or that the child is often looking for weapons to hurt family members, pets or themselves. If the parent tries to confide in a friend about the hell that home life is, they get told "all kids do that" or "you need to spank him" or "you just need to love her more" or accused of exaggerating. Other kids are not able to hold it together even away from home, those parents get accused of being bad parents, of needing to spank or of being abusive. Every single parent of a traumatized kid I know has faced criticism from other parents. Most have lost friends. Some have even lost relationships with family members. It's a lonely life. Luckily most of us find others online living the same life. Others who get it. It's a lifesaver for many of us. However I have noticed lately more and more of the experienced parents when giving each other advice, starting to sound like those books. Here is the thing. Every kid on the planet is different. Even the traumatized kids. Heck, they are probably even more different. We have to become experts on our particular kid. If you have a great therapist, they do the same thing, they get to know your kid. What works for one kid may not work for another. I have a friend who uses a wonderful parenting style for her kids with great success. I wanted to use it for mine. Turns out it makes him feel unsafe. I need to do things differently for him. What works on her kids doesn't work on mine. I have read many times stories about what works for other parents and been cheering them on while knowing that would not work for mine. What has helped mine (and he has come a very long ways) would have not helped another child at all, might have made them worse. It's what he needs. They need something different. I try hard to listen to my fellow parents. I might give advice, but I am fully aware that my advice may not be at all helpful to them. I am fully aware that what works for me might be disastrous for them. I am grateful for advice given, even when I know that it might be stuff I can't use. I have tried many things with my son over the last 9 years. If there is a book I have read it. I have finally found what is helpful for my son. It's honestly a hodge podge from different experts. A good therapist should be well educated in your child's issues, but should also be willing to get to know you and your child to know what would work best for your family before making recommendations. Remember, what your therapist tells you to do with your kid is for your kid. That might not work with someone else's kids. Trust your friends to be experts in their own kids. Unless there is flat out repeated abuse going on, try to trust that they know their kid and what works. After all, you might be the next one to get advice that won't work for your kids but worked great for someone else.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Special needs you can't see

All of my kids have some sort of special needs. Some you can see like the kid in the wheelchair or the kid with prosthetic legs. Some you can't see, like Aspergers, or dyslexia or dysgraphia, or RAD, or an eating disorder. With some of those you can see the results, but you really can't see the whole picture. Some of them as a stranger, you won't see any signs of them at all. It's kind of interesting that people seem to have a set of rules for how disability should look or act. People assume that a kid who is cute can't have a mental illness. People will assume a child who is clean and well behaved in public, must not have a mental illness. People assume a kid in a wheelchair can't understand what they say or that they must also be delayed in some way. They also assume a child in a wheelchair can't possibly also have behavioral issues. You should see the dirty looks you get if you tell a child in a wheelchair "no" in public! The truth is some kids who have major issues going on inside, are very cute on the outside. They may have cute smiles, and be well dressed. They might come up and hug you and be very charming. It might seem like the mom is nuts to think something is wrong with this kid. You just have to remember that just like you can't see dyslexia, you can't see emotional issues. Of course sometimes you can see it, some kids will act out in public. Some kids can hold it together in public but act out at home. Sometimes what looks like a well behaved kid is hiding what you can't see. You may not have noticed that while the kid was hugging you they picked your pocket, you may not notice that the cute teen who picked up your toddler and is carrying her around was touching your child inappropriately. You may not realize that the kid who is snuggling up to you, is is trying to manipulate you. You may not realize that the kid who is confiding their deep feelings to you, is manipulating to you to try to get you to hurt their parents. The truth is that sometimes really cute kids can have issues which mean they lie, and do inappropriate things. It may seem to you like the parents are way too strict, or have crazy rules. Never assume you know the story. Here are a couple of stories for you, see what you think. Story one: A mother and child at a fast food place. The child appears quite overweight. His clothes are a little tight. He is about 8 years old. The mom buys him a kids meal, but he takes only a few bits and says he wants ice cream. The mother buys it for him. What would you think? I knew this lady and her son. She called me after she left the restaurant because people made loud rude comments about her and her child. Here is what they didn't know. Her son had a heart transplant. The medications which he takes to keep his body from rejecting the heart make him gain weight. He just got out of the hospital. He is not 8 but 11. He has very little appetite. This fast food place was where he wanted to go when he got out of the hospital after his transplant. His mom was so happy to have him alive, she would have bought him everything on the menu. Those people who made assumptions based on what they thought they were seeing, hurt this mother and child who had already been through a lot. Story two: A family is at a church picnic. They have an adorable four year old girl. She keeps coming up to your family and asking your husband to pick her up so she can see the games the big kids are playing. Her mother tells her no, and keeps bring her back to stay by her side. The child asks to go and play with the other children and the mother says no. When the mother needs to take her other child to the restroom, you offer to watch the little girl, but the mother says no. You notice that the mother seems to not let the child out of her sight even though she has a little boy close to the same age who is allowed to run around with the other children. Someone else mentions to you that the child is not allowed to go to Sunday School either. The child is adorable and charming. She seems so sad to be stuck so close to her mom. What do you think? Here is what you don't know, this child is a foster child. Her biological parents molested her. They actually did far more than that simple word implies, it would turn your stomach to know what kind of a life this child had. This child knew no other life before she was removed from her home. She learned that you can get attention from men by doing things to them. She thinks touching other people's privates is normal. She has been taught to "accidentally" touch people in ways she should not. This is her third foster home. She was removed from the first because it was discovered that she was molesting a two year old. She was removed from the second after telling her therapist she had sex with her foster father. She described it in great detail. Later she said she was describing an incident with her biological father, who said he enjoyed it when she did those things with him, so she wanted the therapist to think her foster father loved her the same way. (in her poor little mind love=sex) The foster father was proven innocent because it turned out he was on a business trip during the time when the accusation was supposed to have happened. Because of these two incidents (which the foster mother is not allowed to tell you about because the law requires she keep her child's information confidential, even the fact that she is a foster child) the mother cannot let the child out of her sight. The child is in regular therapy, but the child is not healed of her issues yet. You didn't know it, but the mother you had those mean thoughts about was trying to protect you and your husband and your children. Yet, she felt your judgement. She likely won't attempt to come to any more church events. Story three: A woman in a store is texting on her cell phone while her child lays on the ground screaming and cussing. The child is way too old to be acting like that. Do you assume that the child is a brat and the mom a bad parent? Or do you like me now, wonder if the child is autistic, or perhaps suffered from early trauma or has sensory issues. I don't know if the mother is texting her husband to come help her remove the child or the child's therapist for advice or a friend because she needs someone to talk her down so she won't be too angry. The next time a parent tells you that their child can't come to your house or says please don't give them something (candy, a gift, attention, food, etc) or tells you that the child may not do something or seems overly strict. Remember, it's possible that the child has a disability you cannot see. Sometimes you can ask if you know the parents well enough, why they do or say certain things. Most parents of special needs children would be glad to answer questions (if asked privately and appropriately) But sometimes for the sake of the child's privacy they cannot give you details. Before you jump to conclusions, think, ask. Giving the mom of a tantrumming child a smile instead of a dirty look, might mean the world to her and it won't cost you a dime.