Last night my family went to see Santa Claus. The six of us piled into the mini-van and headed out for the offices of Missouri Baptist Children's Home, where the jolly old elf waited. MBCH is the agency through which we are licensed as a foster family, and coincidentally is also the agency that is handling our foster boys' case.
It was quite a party! Santa and Mrs. Claus were indeed there, and each kid got a gift. (Our own kids, too! Plus, there was a gift for foster parents - a Casting Crowns CD!) There were pictures with the boys, and snacks, punch, and music. Our kids had a great time.
The entire staff of MBCH was there, dressed in festive costumes, happy, laughing, playing with all the kids. And there were a BUNCH of kids there, with their foster families. It was wild and chaotic, just like a Christmas party should be.
In the midst of the wildness, there was a moment that I found myself standing off to the side with a cup of punch and a cookie, watching the people. Watching the children. Every one of them has a story, you know, and most of the stories are not happy. Every one of those kids was away from home, taken into foster care because of some catastophic reason.
How many had been abused? Which ones had been neglected? Were there kids who had come from drug houses? Which little one had been born addicted to meth? Whose parents may have been just unable to function at a high enough level to care for children?
There was no way to know the answers to the questions that arose unbidden in my mind. And then I realized that, for tonight at least, there was no need to answer them.
Last night, with smiles and music and laughter and Santa and all those people loving all those children, it was enough to just let it be Christmas.
btw - If you are interested in becoming a foster family, or know of someone who is, please contact me and I will make sure you get connected to the right people.