Many people end up on our doorstep by way of volunteering, attending fundraisers, or even raising their hands to provide financial support for our foster children. Practically everyone who walks through Bloom’s doors has one thing in common: they want to make a difference in the life of a disadvantaged child. However, our warm-hearted volunteers and supporters seldom know exactly whom they are helping. Many never get the chance to meet the children whose lives they have impacted so deeply with their generosity of time, money and talents.
So, who are “the children,” exactly? Unfortunately, their lives before Bloom are often times more grim than we’d like to share.
Bloom receives about 30-55 calls per month from the Department of Family and Child Services seeking placement for foster children. Typically, they are seeking refuge for sibling groups – even up to 10 children at once! The reason for placement can vary – either the parents are incarcerated, deceased, or struggling with substance abuse, the child has been abused and/or neglected, or the child is homeless and/or living in extreme poverty. Those are just a few heart-breaking examples that we see time and time again.
When the children come to Bloom, they are scared and confused; their lives have been turned upside down, and they feel powerless and alone. We often see their sad faces and feel their painful pasts. We have seen perfectly round, fresh burn marks on arms and legs, and little bodies covered in welts. We have seen lice and scabies. We have seen a complete loss of hope in their eyes. Stability and consistent love are two things that the children have rarely experienced. Healthy eating (instead of fast-food diets), personal hygiene, and homework – the most basic components of a child’s life – often times seems foreign to them.
Under our care, and with your help, little by little, they begin to thrive; they may begin to heal; they may begin to understand that being taken away from their families was not their fault. They may begin to believe that they are loveable, and there is another path for them. They may begin to attach to foster families, new friends, and caregivers.
For others, they may age out of the system, and find themselves lost again in the world.
But, the cycle stops when just one person takes in a stranger’s child and loves them like his or her own. It stops when a supporter, volunteer, or donor decides to stand up for abandoned children and make a difference in the life of another human being –without ever meeting them, or seeing their face.
To those people, we want you to know that you are making a difference! You are bringing light to children who have only known darkness. You are sharing hope, love, and joy with those who need it most. Although you may never meet them face-to-face, we promise that you are invaluable part of our foster children’s lives.