This year at the Shelter, we have begun to see more repeat residents due to things like foster homes closing or facilities shutting down across the state. Our state is experiencing a bed shortage for children in foster care of all ages. While walking through our Shelter, I saw two old suitcases sitting at the bottom of the stairs. Seeing those particular suitcases caused a wave of grief to wash over me. I knew these girls were coming back to the shelter, I had accepted the placement request. But there those suitcases were. One black, probably from the ’90s. Another embroidered and probably just as old. Even though they were clearly used, they still worked! I remembered we had packed those exact suitcases up just a few months before with such joy! These girls were going to a “forever home.” I recalled the prayers we spoke over the girls as they left us and headed off. I had hoped they would stay in touch. Then came the placement call and the returning suitcases.
As I saw those suitcases sitting there, they represented so much to me. At first, my eyes filled with tears and grief. I was disappointed for them, and my heart ached that they had to return here. The Shelter is an incredible place, but it is only meant to be temporary. A return visit meant these girls still did not have a “home” after all these years. I spent some time praying for these girls and hoping that we could help them while they were with us again. Like a light switch, I could feel my perspective changing! I knew this was not the time for grief, but for gratitude. Gratitude for the Shelter being open and willing to take these girls back again. Gratitude for the open beds that could house the girls together. Gratitude for the church that did a drive to donate those old suitcases. Gratitude for the Shelter staff that welcomed the girls with open arms and a shoulder to cry on. Gratitude for the opportunity to serve these girls again.
Thank you for your continued support of the Children’s Shelter and all our ministries at Texas Girls & Boys Ranch. We could not be here to serve all our children, including those who come back to us sometimes, without the generous support of our donors and community.