Catholic Adoptive Parenting Columnist Heidi Hess Saxton
Catholic Mom Columns
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God Have a Family for Every Child?
Today my friend “Sue,” also an adoptive foster parent, told me of a
harrowing tale involving her children’s older brother. Considering all he’s
been through, “Kevin” is not a bad kid. Certainly he doesn’t deserve what
life has dished out to him – losing not only his birth parents but also his
four siblings, who have been adopted by two families. For their safety,
Kevin cannot be placed with his brothers and sisters, so at the tender age
of ten he is living in a group home with children considerably older than
Each time Sue sees him, she says, Kevin is a little more resigned to his
Well, “resigned” is not the right word. He cries. He rages. He asserts –
quite vehemently – that Sue had no right to give his brother and sister a
new name. They belong to him. His feelings are understandable; while his
siblings have a bright future ahead of them, Kevin’s dreams are squarely in
Sue told me that as she returned Kevin to the group home, he sobbed as she
led him to the front door. “What could I say? I just hugged him. I’ve been
praying for a family for Kevin from the beginning, but it is becoming harder
and harder to sound convincing or encouraging. Is it loving to hold out hope
where very little exists?”
In her more emotional moments, Sue toys with the idea of finding a way to
take Kevin, too – but he has amply demonstrated that he preys on younger
children. And Sue recognizes that her first responsibility must be to the
two she already has.
And so, she hugged him tight and left, fuming under her breath: Where are
You in this, God?
I know exactly how she feels. All my life I’ve operated under the assumption
that God has a plan for all His children; I’ve seen God’s Providence come
through in very trying situations. So why is He distressingly silent in this
situation? Is it possible that, in Kevin’s case, God’s plan does not include
Or maybe it did, and that family decided they wanted a different plan.
I once heard Mary Beth Bonacci observe, “God calls all of us to give
ourselves in love, either to marriage or consecrated religious life.
Fortunately, He is very generous with His ‘Plan B.’”
So in this case, maybe God’s ‘Plan B’ is for each of us to do what we can,
and trust that it will be enough from keeping kids like Kevin from going off
the path altogether. He wants us to cry and pray and struggle alongside
them, always keeping our eyes on the primary task at hand: To keep our own
It’s not the ideal situation. Frankly, it stinks.
It also reminds me of something that for years puzzled me. When Christ was
on earth, He is never recorded as having healed whole crowds of people with
a single word, though doubtless He had the power to do so. He almost always
did it one at a time, usually with some kind of personal contact. Have you
ever noticed this? Wouldn’t it have been a far more convincing proof of the
power of the gospel to heal them en masse, no muss or fuss? He could have
set up a cushy private practice somewhere . . . He could have wiped out
world hunger by opening soup kitchens with all that multiplied fish and
And yet, these were not tasks entrusted to Him by the Father. The Lord came,
first and foremost, to give His life in order to restore the human race to
spiritual wholeness, and to plant the seedling Church that would tend His
fields and flocks in His absence. And He came to give us a living example of
what it means to carry those burdens – and only those burdens – God calls us
“The poor you shall always have with you…” Christ observed to the disciple
who criticized the perceived extravagance of the woman who anointed the Lord
with costly ointment and wiped His feet with her hair. For foster and
adoptive parents, there is a lesson for us here: We cannot allow ourselves
to become overwhelmed, or distracted by burdens God has not entrusted to us.
We cannot get too far ahead, worrying about next year or even next week.
Each day God gives us a little more light, just enough to take the next step
along the path He has called us to follow. One day at a time, one child at a
time: We will have strength enough to follow Him only if we trust Him to
carry the rest.
Don Bosco, while you were on earth you were father to hundreds of fatherless
children. Pray for Kevin, and children like him, that their hearts will not
grow hard before they have the chance to feel the full force of the love of
God’s Sacred Heart.
And, dear Heavenly Father, if it’s not too much to ask, please provide a
family for Kevin. In the Holy Name of the Most Blessed Trinity, Amen.
|Heidi Hess Saxton and her husband
Craig are adoptive parents of two children from the foster system.
Heidi is editor of "Canticle" magazine, a publication of
Women of Grace.
A convert to the faith since 1994, Heidi is also a graduate student of
theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan, and a
frequent contributor to CatholicExchange.com. Visit Heidi's blog
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