By Stacy Bluth
Hope. I see this four letter word at least 50 times a day. It greets me every morning as I walk through the door with The Hope Center at Pullen written on it. It’s on our brochure, our email and the letterhead that I sign each day. I see it so many times that I have almost become immune to its power.
But for young people aging out of foster care, hope isn’t an overused word. It is the one thing that gets them through every day. These young people have spent years in foster care hoping that the birth family they were removed from because of abuse or neglect would somehow be healed and they could go home. When that hope was lost, they had a new hope – a hope that a different family might adopt them and love them for who they are.
For many of these young people, these hopes will never be fulfilled. They will turn 18 and age out of the foster care system with nowhere and no one to turn to for support. And yet despite all that has happened to them through no fault of their own, they still have hope.
Hope is what brings them to our doors. We hear their stories of tremendous pain and suffering. We see that the odds are stacked against them. Their stories are unique and yet the common thread in every story is the sense of hope that emerges as they talk. Hope to find a safe place to live, meaningful employment and people who will support them in their journey.
So as we go into this holiday season using the word “hope” even more than usual, remember the power of this word. This simple four letter word is the reason why a young person aging out of foster care is taking three different buses to get to his or her job and another is going to school during the day and working the night shift. Hope has the power to transform an individual’s life and we are seeing it firsthand every day. And that gives all of us hope as well.
Stacy Bluth is the executive director of The Hope Center at Pullen.