By Melissa Holland
Last week I had the privilege of visiting with a woman who is known in her County for her generosity and compassion. She believes that we are put on earth to be of service to others, and she lives out this belief every day. Pam, who is in her 70s and has grown children, saw a need five years ago and decided to take action.
Julie, who was 11 months old at the time, had been removed from her home due to her parents' drug and alcohol abuse which caused them to neglect her care. Before her retirement, Pam had worked in the child support office of the county, and knew well the ins and outs of foster care. The people involved in placing Julie felt that it would be difficult to find a family willing to take her due to her parents' and grandparents' connections to drug dealers in the area. As it turns out, they were right to worry. Several families expressed interest in Julie only to refuse to take her once they found out about her background.
Enter Pam. Pam told me that she had missed having children around at Christmas because it seemed so much less exciting without them. Of course, that wasn't her main reason for wanting Julie. Pam said that she feared that Julie would not have any chance at a successful life if she didn't have the stability and opportunities that Pam could provide for her. While she could only guess what Julie might have suffered, she soon discovered that Julie suffers from PTSD. She does not want to be alone. Recently, Pam set up a playroom for Julie, but she refuses to play in it. She always plays in the room where everyone else is, and creates a "barricade" to protect herself in case she needs it.
Julie will attend a co-op school this year where she can be just another little girl. Not the daughter of parents who are notorious in the county. Not a girl who will be bullied or looked down on for things she cannot control. A girl with a loving family who is curious about nature, who loves animals, who lives life to the fullest.
Pat loved Julie even before they became a family. Over time, that love has grown even though it has been tested many times. When I left Pam's house, I wondered how many Julies are waiting for their Pam to show up. Some Julies are still children, but some are all grown up. All of them deserve a chance to know what it is to be loved unconditionally. To know that God loves them and that Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice for them.
As Jesus followers, we should keep watch for the Julies. Maybe God put them in our path for us to be a Pam.
*Names have been changed