Category: Ministry Blog

Discipleship (Ministry Blog – For the Love of Kids)

In a recent homily pastor Fr. Eric Tellez said something that really resonated with me, it caused me to pause and go back to his podcast and listen again. ( You can do the same by following this link: ) Fr. Eric is a masterful orator and his homilies always make me think of how the scriptures flow within my life, and how they relate to the everyday. I have been struggling with results and consistency within our ministry. We all have demons that we battle with on a daily basis and this line from the homily landed a knockout punch to one of mine.

If you are not meeting resistance in your daily life of discipleship then you are not doing it right.” – Fr. Eric

We work with children that, most of the time, have been thrown away by their parents and cast off by society. They are fighting unimaginable demons. So why do we expect results in our time? Why are we projecting our values and expect the same results we had with our own children? These are maimed and guarded children who react according to their own sense of self-preservation, not ours.

As I sat with a 16 year old girl we discussed her parents, or should I say lack of them. Her mother abandoned her as a very young child. She doesn’t remember her. Her father brought her here from California while looking for work. She spoke very openly of the sexual abuse that started once she arrived here and how she was rebuked and cast out when she reported it. As she bounced from couch to couch the abuse continued until the day she was finally taken into CPS custody. She has grandparents back in California who want nothing to do with her because the reports of abuse and neglect were against her sons and they believe that they were all lies. She is cast out, abandoned by all who she thought loved her.

Three years later we have an intelligent young woman looking to graduate high school in 2 years and she has her eyes set on college. So why does she cut herself? Why does she bleed? Demons are chasing, although she is working hard at quieting them. “I haven’t cut for a month now.” Her results and accomplishments are not the same as yours and mine. Her life is a struggle everyday as she tries to keep the demons at bay.

Discipleship is not easy. We cannot turn way. We cannot stop. We must relieve some of the pain of others by accepting it unto ourselves, consoling the wounded, and understanding that their pain is real. Understanding that everyone reacts differently to the pain, we must believe that every touch, whether physical or emotional, counts towards healing. When rejected we must continue on and not let it deter us in our quest to help and heal the unfortunate children in our midst.

“If we don’t suffer in discipleship then we don’t know the truth.” – Fr. Eric

We are here for the long haul and we will not go away.

That is what the For the Love of Kids Ministry is about; helping with love in any way we can.

The “Light” Did Come (Ministry Blog – Catechesis of the Good Shepherd)

The end of the school year is exciting for all children, but in the Atrium there is even more excitement! It is a time when many of the presentations to the children require them to hold lit candles. Yes! It is true. They are shown the proper way to hold them safely and understand that if they are careless, their candle will be snuffed.

Our final Atrium presentation of this year was a presentation on the sacrament of Baptism. The story begins with telling the children how the people of Israel were waiting a long, long time for the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, the Savior, the “Light” to come into the world. One day the “Light” did come. (We light the Paschal Candle.) He was born in a stable and his parents named him Jesus. Mary and Joseph took good care of Jesus. They taught him about the scriptures. They loved him. Jesus grew to be a man and began to share his light with others. But one day, an angry mob arrested Jesus, put him on trial, and then crucified him. The “light” was snuffed out. (The Paschal Candle is blown out). His friends were very, very sad. How could they go on without him. Then on the 3rd day, Jesus rose from the dead. His light was with them again. He continued to share that light with his friends and asked them to share this light with others. Jesus’ light was shared down through the ages. The “light” was shared with our grandparents and our parents, until it finally came to us on the day of our Baptism. At this point, an individual candle is lit from the Paschal candle for each child. We say their name and tell them to receive the Light of Christ. They answer, “Thanks be to God.” Being aware of the fact that one of the girls had not yet been Baptized, I said, “Grace” (not her real name), on the day you will be Baptized, you will receive the “light”, too. She was thrilled with all of it.

Class ended a bit later. The children left with their adults, off to enjoy a wonderful summer. Not long after the final class of the year, I was approached by Grace’s grandma. She told me that Grace was so touched by this presentation, that she is begging to be Baptized. She craves to have the “Light”. The heart-warming ending to this story is that Grace and her family will journey together to receive the light of Christ at the next Easter Vigil, through the Family Initiation program. The Holy Spirit is alive and well at St. Patrick Catholic Community!

– Gerri Porteous
Coordinator of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd & Formation Resources

Summertime (Ministry Blog – For the Love of Kids)

The “dog days” of summer are upon us. It is hot and the air is heavy with the monsoon moisture. Too hot to take the kids to the park so they hang around inside the house until you can’t stand it any longer. You take them to the local mall to walk around with their friends. Instead of picking up just your kids, you end up with a car full and they all come over to “hang out” in your pool or in front of your TV eating everything in sight. Sound familiar?


Now imagine you had 10 kids all between the ages of 12 and 18, who are not family and don’t even truly like each other and some of the older ones work part time but the rest are home all the time. You can’t drop them off at the mall and it is too hot for the park. What do you do to entertain them? How do you keep them from getting on each other’s nerves and fighting all the time?


Thankfully, there are many wonderful organizations we partner with, that offer support to kids in group home foster care. One of the wonderful organizations is OCJ Kids (Opportunity Community and Justice for Kids). OCJ runs an overnight cowboy camp that is a wonderful two-day event throughout the months of June and July. All of the group homes in Arizona have the opportunity for their kids to have an amazing experience where they play cowboy games, go horseback riding, have campfires and, most importantly, escape the confines of the house. For more information or to donate, visit their web site


Another wonderful partner of ours is Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation (AFFC). If there is a need, they help fulfill it. For example, one of our girls in one of the homes wanted to go to a flag football camp. The camp cost of $350.00 for the week long camp, It seemed out of the question until we contacted the AFFC Foundation. They sent the check and the energetic young lady will spend time at camp feeling like a normal kid – making friends, smiling and working hard. For more information or to donate, visit their web site


Now the best partners we, For the Love of Kids Ministry, have in the whole world is you. You donate to us through St Patrick Catholic Community, you hear and answer the call to help families in need through the CarePortal. You are there when the call is sent out for more ministers to help support the children in the group home foster care system. During these “Dog Days of Summer” you are there setting up swim days, movie days, bowling days, crafts and so much more. You are there at every turn reaching out with your supportive hand, the hand of God. You are there sowing the seeds of love and kindness, and it is amazing to see. Someday you may see the fruit of your labor, but it is enough to know that you are making a difference in the lives of the future generations.


Mathew 13

“A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and birds came and ate it up.
Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep,
and when the sun rose it was scorched,
and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.

But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”


We want to thank all of you for your continued support, joining us as ministers, donating your wealth, and praying for the children and their future. We would be nothing without your support, or the support of our partners, so for this we thank you.


We are here for the long haul and we will not go away.


That is what the For the Love of Kids Ministry is about; helping with love in any way we can.

Happy Birthday, You are 16 (Ministry Blog – For the Love of Kids)

Growing up, was there ever a doubt that you would grow up to the ripe old age of 16? Did your birthday come every year?


I remember longing to turn 16 – the thrill of being able to drive, get a job off the farm, to be 16. Birthdays are not something to wish for as a child. They are a given, an expectation. I remember when my nephew was killed at the age of 18 in an automobile accident. I remember the sorrow and pain of my brother and his wife. Time stood still for a while. A surreal sense of loss fell over us all. You are not supposed to bury someone so young, no more birthdays.


His death came as a huge shock to everyone. Can you imagine a child of 12 or 13 not expecting to have a next birthday? With parents and relatives rejecting you on a daily basis and constantly reminding you of your worthlessness, it would give anyone the dreaded feelings of death. Beaten down mentally, not only eliminates self-esteem but the want and desire for a tomorrow, until there is a tomorrow without the abuse. When a child is removed, supported and loved there is a chance for them to blossom like our girl “A”.


Jerimiah 20

But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion:
my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph.
In their failure they will be put to utter shame,
to lasting, unforgettable confusion.
O LORD of hosts, you who test the just,
who probe mind and heart,
let me witness the vengeance you take on them,
for to you I have entrusted my cause.


“A” didn’t think she had a tomorrow; She was so surprised that she actually had a 16th birthday. On her 16th birthday she realized that she really could have the future that a year prior seemed like only an impossible dream. Her strength is amazing. She told us of her past, the years of mental abuse and of her resolve to make something of herself. “They will not keep me down, I want to do something great so they can see that I made something of myself. I will win, despite them.” She has plans of finishing high school and college with eyes looking forward to a career in law enforcement.  As we talked you could see her eyes shining with confidence. This was a new gal, not the down trodden girl we met 8 months earlier.


Matthew 10

And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul


“A” has a job which she loves, and she has plans for her future.  She is a bright light to all of the other girls in the house. It is always intriguing to watch the dynamics of the home change as the girls come and go. Some gals come in carrying so much anger and self-doubt but with every visit there are visible changes. The girls come alive with the support of the staff and with the love and support of our wonderful ministers. Our volunteer ministers deserve so much praise for all the time they give in the preparation of the weekly visits and special outings. The change in A’s life is because of all the love showered on her from all of the ministers. Every minister is an example of God’s love, a beacon of light for the girls.


Matthew 10

Jesus said to the Twelve:
“Fear no one.
Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light;
what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.


We are here for the long haul and we will not go away.


That is what the For the Love of Kids Ministry is about; helping with love in any way we can.

Everyone Deserves a Father (Ministry Blog – For the Love of Kids)

Early in my life I didn’t have a father that I can really remember. I had older brothers who were, and still are, my role models of “dad.” They looked out for me, showed me what healthy relationships looked like, and took me to church when mom was working. Then along came my step dad, who reinforced the values that my brothers instilled in me, and gave me the paternal love that a young boy of 11 craves. Growing up he was everything I wanted to be – strong, smart, loving and gentile. I have always wanted to emulate him in my parenting. I cannot imagine my life without the love and support of my dad.


No dad is perfect. Mine didn’t play sports, take me to games, or play in the park. Our time was spent working on the farm, taking long walks in the woods, or hunting and fishing. My goal as a child was to please my dad. I remember the first time he told me how proud he was of me. I would never trade the years I had with my dad for anything in this world.


Needless to say, not all dads are present and if they are sometimes the children wish they weren’t. Many of the girls in group home foster care shy away when you talk about dads. To many of these girls, a “dad” is a dream, the elusive ghost, the man who gave them life but nothing else. I remember those thoughts but unlike these girls my dream of a dad came true. Children in foster care almost never get a forever family or forever dad, especially if they are over the age of 8.

Here is some information from the North American Council on Adoptable Children:


Every youth in foster care needs and deserves a permanent family. Despite the nation’s stated goal to achieve permanency for children, in 2007 more than 28,000 youth aged out of foster care, meaning they left the child welfare system without a permanent family.

About 43 percent of waiting children are nine or older, but 72 percent of those who are adopted are under age nine. The average age of children when they are adopted from foster care is 6.6 years, while the average age of waiting children is 8.2 years. The average waiting child has been in foster care for more than three years.

(North American Council on Adoptable Children)


We can recite the stories we’ve been told about the bad dad. Would it surprise you that most of these kiddos dads just disappear? Not wanting anything to do with the children? Some are abusive physically and mentally. Many more are incarcerated leaving the families to fend for themselves. Can you imagine not knowing your children, not attending a graduation or recital? Worse yet, being a teenager and knowing that you have no one, you are expendable, and no one seems to care? I can give you all kinds of statistics on not only the bad things that happen to the foster youth but there is staggeringly few statistics on the ones that actually make it to having a productive life. We have to help teach the children what a healthy relationship is and break the cycle of neglect.


These children need more than what we can give them. They need a forever home, they need the love of a parent, the support of a father. Don’t be afraid to reach out and help. We have to be there in any way we can, showing them love, supporting, guiding and teaching them. As a man I see the need of a father’s influence with every visit we make. The children flock around wanting to talk, to tell of their day or week, to banter and tease, for someone to listen and give advice. I love spending time with these kids, talking, playing, caring for them, and listening. Taking them home, rescuing them is not a real option or solution, educating them and teaching them that they are loved is the only viable solution. We must be there not as a parent but as a role model, support system and educator.


Everyone needs and deserves a father, a role model. I thank God every day for the dads that I had.

Happy Father’s Day!


We are here for the long haul and we will not go away.


That is what the For the Love of Kids Ministry is about; helping with love in any way we can.

Beautifully Broken (Ministry Blog – For the Love of Kids)

The day God gave the disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit is celebrated as Pentecost. It also marks the birth of the church. God gave the disciples the gift of language to go to all ends of the earth to spread His message, the gospel. We all are called as His disciples to go forth and share Him in our words and in our actions.


There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; 
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God
who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
is given for some benefit.  1 Corinthians 12:4-11


We visit, we educate, we laugh, we share, we sometimes cry but, as disciples, our mission is to bring Christ to these children. We always bring it with our actions and words; sometimes we bring the church and our beautiful sanctuary directly into their lives.


Recently, while helping a young lady acquire Social Security Card and state identification card, we asked what she wanted to do after school.  To our astonishment she said “I want to be a nurse, but how can I get your job? I would like to help kids like me too.” She didn’t believe us that we were volunteers and we didn’t get paid, monetarily anyway, for helping her. She realized that we were helping her because of a higher calling, because we cared.


God moves souls. God brings us together for all the right reasons.  A few months, ago one of our ministers set up a half day retreat at St Patrick with the help of the Life Teen Core Team.  It was sold to me as a “Beautifully Broken” retreat with lots of learning, friendship, and sharing, and touchy-feely things that left me a bit anxious about the event. Keep in mind that we were inviting girls from two different homes who sometimes didn’t get along that well, to put it mildly. We all met at the church early on Saturday morning, not the happiest of groups that early in the morning. My apprehension grew in those first minutes, not really knowing how this all would play out. The first exercise was a “Get to Know you” game mixed with musical chairs. I was ready for anything, except what happened. The girls had fun–more than fun–learning about each other and about the women who were helping and running the day’s festivities. The room was alive with their sharing and laughing. My heart was so filled with joy, and all of the apprehension evaporated in an instant.  The remainder of the day went the same way: tremendous amounts of love and more than a few tears. Everyone was saddened when the day came to an end, with tears and hugs all around. God was within the walls of our Holy Ground. He was evident in all who attended that day.


A few weeks later, three of the young ladies from the retreat also joined the Life Teen retreat in Payson. They were strangers amongst the campers, with worried looks on their faces as we waited with them prior to boarding the busses. That was not the way they got off the busses on their return. The children of our parish welcomed them, showed them God’s love, demonstrating that they are welcome, that all are welcome. And that our parish will reach out to be there for them. This experience has changed the lives of these three young women. I see it every time I am with these three girls. Their smile is a little broader, their hugs a little stronger, and they have expanded their lives beyond the four walls of the group home.


I thank God every day for this parish, for this holy building, for I have seen the face of God here in these “Beautifully Broken” children and in the wonderful children of the parish.


Thanks to the St Patrick Life Teen Core Team! You all rock!

I would like to give a special thank you to Jen, Kelli, Meagan and Laura for their inspiration and willingness to share  stories and Jen’s book with the girls.


We are here for the long haul and we will not go away.


That is what the For the Love of Kids Ministry is about; helping with love in any way we can.

May is a Trying Month (Ministry Blog – For the Love of Kids)

May is a trying month for most parents and children. It is a month of change, growth, and an expansion of one’s personal horizons. May is graduation month, the month that we move forward with life, moving to the next grade, new school or going for that job. It is a true month of transition. Sometimes it is a month of great turmoil.


As children, we look forward to May with the end of the school year and the start of summer. Summer is a time of trips, camps, pool time, playing with friends at the park until called home for dinner, and most importantly a great time to sleep until you want to get up. Oh, the joy of being young!


Those are my memories and thoughts of May and they are not everyone’s thoughts or realities of summer. What if the end of the school year means you are one step closer to being 18 and homeless? What if graduating from one grade to the next means nothing to you because it is just something that happens… it happens with no effort or personal growth; you are just pushed along.  What if summer means that you spend long hours closed in a house watching movies and old TV shows with the same group of people every day? Those people are your peers but you didn’t choose them. You did not choose any of those you spend your time with, and you would not have chosen them to be even considered a friend. Can you see yourself, as a child, spending your summer cooped up with a group of nine other kids, all girls or all boys, which you didn’t choose and whom you may not even like? These are the realities of living in a group home.


Sometimes, there are bright spots. Sometimes there are kids who take the challenges life throws at them, and with a shrug of their shoulders they motor on. We attended a graduation this past week of one such gal. Kiana was a shy, mentally underdeveloped, child who would never give up. She struggled to read and to fit in. She was enrolled in a high school for special needs children at age 18. At 19 she decided she wanted to be a massage therapist. She pursued her new dream with a new-found inner strength that was visible to all. Kiana would catch the bus at 6 am to high school. After school she would catch the city bus to head across town to her massage therapy school, then catch the city bus again back to the group home, usually arriving around 6:30-7:00 pm. We would often be there to witness her arrival home to the group foster home, always with the biggest smile, ready to join in even though you could tell she was exhausted.


kianaKiana is 20 years old and has graduated both high school and massage therapy school this year during the month of May. She will soon turn 21, the age at which the state sees her as an adult, marking the end of its parenting role. Kiana will move to a separate facility soon to help her learn to be on her own and prepare her for the next phase of her life. We will follow Kiana to be there for her, to answer the phone if and when she calls, to assist in any way we can.


We are here for the long haul and we will not go away.


That is what the For the Love of Kids Ministry is about; helping with love in any way we can.

A Time of Thankfulness (Ministry Blog – For the Love of Kids)

Easter is a time of reflection, and of praise. I am so thankful for Jesus giving his life so that we could live. So I guess it is also a time of thankfulness….

I am so blessed to be working with the children living within these three group homes for they give me more than I could ever give them. I see Jesus in their smiling eyes, in their laughter, and in their pain.

During visits, parties, and outings we encounter all sorts of outbursts, some good and some not so good but they all are the result of a child reaching out for love. All children crave love and attention when they are young. Like my three year old granddaughter, they scream, they hit, they fall down to gain our attention. They want to see who is watching, who cares enough to stop what they are doing to help, to listen, to hold.

When life gets hard and we have no other outlet, we scream, we cry, we lash out. You may be able to control your outbursts because you have had the love and understanding of someone setting the example for you. What if they weren’t there? What if no one showed you how to control your emotions? What would happen if you ate your emotions, kept them bottled up inside of yourself?

Sometimes cries for help come in the form of loud screams of anguish. Sometimes they are in the form of violence and fighting with others. Other times it involves self-mutilation, or silence. I have seen all of these behaviors from one girl, and I thank the Lord for giving her the strength to reach out for help. I thank the Lord for giving us the opportunity to be there for her, to guide her, to receive from her. St Patrick’s youth group, Life Teen, went on a retreat (Spring Retreat 2017 “Unfinished”) which this young lady grudgingly attended. She was told by her house mom “There is an open slot on the retreat and you are going.” She had been having angry outbursts with other girls, in and out of the home, resulting in the loss of her privileges.  During the retreat she blossomed like a beautiful rose, she shared her personal story on stage in front of 100 campers, strangers to her. The Lord reached out and blessed this young lady during the retreat. She was able to make an impact in the lives of so many and come away with love in her heart. Upon their return, all of the kids attended 5pm mass where it was a blessing to see the light in her eyes, the hugs from new found friends, and her warm loving smile.

I thank God for this ministry and the ability to witness His hand in the lives of these beautifully broken children. I am in awe of their strength and will to thrive. All we do is plow the fertile earth. He plants the seeds so that we can watch them grow. Thank you, Jesus, for all you have given us and all that you have yet to give. Because of you, oh great Lord, we have the strength and will to continue on our journey through life. Where You lead we will follow.

We are here for the long haul and we will not go away.

That is what the For the Love of Kids Ministry is about; helping with love in any way we can.

More Invisible (Ministry Blog – For the Love of Kids)

Have you ever walked by a homeless person?

Did you cross the street before you passed to close?

Where you thinking, “Get a job”, “Take a shower”, or “I bet they aren’t even homeless”, or “I bet you make more cash than I do”?

Have you approached a homeless person to ask their name and where are they from? Have you bothered to discover why they are where they are? Do you even care?

I ask these questions because most people recognize homelessness but they almost never recognize a child stranded in the foster care system, cast aside to fall homeless. They don’t appear any different than anyone else. You may encounter a foster child and not even realize it. You may think “They are a bit slow”, “How uneducated!”, or “Wow! They have no manners. Who are their parents?” Foster kids are even more invisible than those who experience homelessness, but just as misunderstood.

Did you know that Phoenix hosts an annual carnival just for foster kids and foster families? They have rides, food, police helicopters, military equipment, and (most importantly) fire trucks! This event is touted as kid friendly and fun for all. It is a fun day for the foster children, but the year I attended it was not such a fun day for me. When you first check in we were given wrist bands, all of the foster kids were given a yellow one, then they told us to “have fun; everything is free!” As we walked into the event all I could see was wrist bands, thousands of them. I felt very overwhelmed with the enormity of the crowds of foster children, screaming and laughing. Where were they from? How can there be so many? Where do they all live? The truth is that they live everywhere, maybe right next door to you. Would you recognize them? Would they stand out to you in a crowd? No, they wouldn’t. They don’t.

We never ask our neighbor to “tell me about yourself,” let alone a kid from next door. Do you live next to a group home? If so, you will see a constant flow of people, in and out all day and well into the night. Will you introduce yourself? Will you pass judgment when you see the police cars there almost daily? Would you ask the policeman “What’s up with that house?”. Would you see all of the commotion in your neighborhood as a bother? Would their behavior cause you to look the other way? We naturally want to separate ourselves from the noise of someone else’s life, since our life is hectic enough. Do you make the noisy neighbor invisible?

If you feel the answer would be “Yes,” don’t feel alone. Most people turn away from what they don’t understand, not wanting to be involved. It is a natural and yet unnatural part of our society today. We have walls around our homes, closed off to our neighbors, closed off to those that are different. Why do we as a society turn away from hurt and pain? I don’t believe it is new. Jesus opened the door of compassion; we just need to step through.

But what if you were pushed into the middle of a situation? Would you pass judgment without listening, and without an open mind?

Recently, while visiting with the gals in a group home, we were playing math bingo when the police arrived to investigate an incident that had happened a few weeks prior. It involved one of the girls and the destruction of property within the home. The young lady had been told that if she “followed the rules,” the group home owners would not press charges. But the rebellious girl did not do as she was asked, and so the police were called.

As they took her outside to question her on the incident, we tried to continue playing bingo. There was more than a little bit of grumbling from the girls playing bingo. They didn’t understand why the police were there now. To them it was “over,” water under the bridge. One of the police officers, a young man seemingly new to the force, overheard some of the grumbling and, not putting his best foot forward, he decided he must chastise the ladies during our game. He proceeded to inform them how “stupid” they were and that they “should be grateful for all of their free stuff.” “You are living here for free, eating free food, and playing a free game, so keep your mouth shut” he said. As he chastised the girls, I wanted to speak up, to tell him how incorrect he was, but I did not. Causing a confrontation in front of the girls would have undermined his authority and might cause problems for him if he ever returned to the home in the future. I was also in such shock at his outburst that I did not think to even ask for his name and badge number. I should have gone outside to talk to the young man but, again, I felt as intimidated as–if not more than—the girls. This young officer only saw them as a waste of his time. “I could be out catching bad guys, but I have to be here with you,” he told them. They were invisible to him, even more so than, I believe, a homeless person would be.

Ask yourself: “What would I do if I noticed an illiterate young adult? Would I ask their name? Could I stand up for them?”

As a Christian, God asks us to “love our neighbor as ourselves”.

Do not be blind to the plight of others. Notice and take action.


(a) a thing done: deed

(b) the accomplishment of a thing usually over a period of time, in stages, or with the possibility of repetition.

Definition of Action by Merriam-Webster

We are here for the long haul and we will not go away.

That is what the For the Love of Kids Ministry is about; helping with love in any way we can.

Living Life Alone (Ministry Blog – For the Love of Kids)

When children are born, they are one of the most helpless creatures on Earth. They need someone to feed them, keep them warm, and keep them safe. This responsibility usually falls on the shoulders of their parents and – most often – their mother. The bond between a mother and her child is undeniably strong. It starts at conception and it continues to build throughout a person’s life. This love is one of God’s greatest gifts. It has been my perception that a child will always seek out their mother and will continue to return to her even if it is detrimental to their live. Sometimes the child needs and wants mom so badly they cannot see how harmful the relationship is to them, and sometimes the child is filling the role of mom for the mom.


While waiting for her number to be called at the social security office, the young lady with me was eager to share some of her story. It was a story of mental illness, and abuse. Now 17, she has spent the last 2 years in state custody and has not seen her mother since. She slowly told me about the last time she saw her mother, it was when “she tried to kill me and my twin brother”. Her mother is bipolar and her condition is exacerbated by a drug problem.  Although this young lady is behind on high school credits she hopes to graduate and go on to nursing school. BUT the first thing she would like to do when she turns 18 is move back home with mom.


Mothers LoveAnother example of the maternal bond is a young lady who aged out of the system. Last year she graduated from high school, turned 18 and immediately moved back in with her mother. What kept this girl in the group home for 6 years? It was not a healthy parent. Why did she go back into the exact same situation she was taken from? The answer was simply “that’s my mom”.


These two children have mothers who love them, even with their faults; to them they will always be “mom”.


I have a shocking story of a very troubled young lady. She was removed from her parents because she was acting out with drugs, sex and violence. She needed counseling badly but the parents couldn’t, or wouldn’t, help her with private counseling and the State couldn’t help because she didn’t exist. You see, she was born in a motel room, and there was no record of her birth. No birth certificate and no social security number – both of which are required in order to receive state sponsored help. Into the foster care system she went, so that she could receive the court mandated counseling. Whenever I saw this child, at the time she was 15, there always seemed to be a dark cloud over her – she was obviously troubled. The girl told me she was alone in the world, and that she was raised by someone who called himself her father. She said that she did not have a mother and without that maternal bond and felt broken and alone. Now here is the weird part, it is hard to believe, but sadly it is true. The man who called himself her father was actually her biological mother and the father’s girlfriend was actually her father. The bond between mother and child had been severed when she was very young and vulnerable, leaving her with an identity crisis, seemingly unsurmountable.


I don’t want to sound crass or backward. but I truly cannot understand this sort of behavior. I understand that people have their demons like drugs and alcohol, and struggle with mental instability but mentally abusing your child in this way is beyond my comprehension. They essentially shattered this girl’s life for what, personal satisfaction? She was a child who had God’s gift of motherly love slowly torn from her as she watched the transformation of her parents. I hope and pray that she allows herself to receive God’s love and grace. She ran away from the group home and now is in juvenile detention. What will be the cost of her survival, and will she ever be whole again? Sadly, I don’t believe I will ever know the answer. It is in God’s hands now. We will pray for her and be here for her if she ever comes back.


We are here for the long haul and we will not go away.


That is what the For the Love of Kids Ministry is about; helping with love in any way we can.