Love sometimes stops for the public to create space for the One who might need some extra love and care. This is what is happening on Sunday at Kids Paradise. We are closing Kids Paradise from 11 – 2pm to create space for the Foster Carers Association of Tasmania to enjoy some time together to chat, to encourage, to support and to love one another. There will be over 100 children in attendance at this event and over 50 adults. When love stops occurring in the home children’s mind, heart and soul gets damaged. Brave carers choose to sacrifice to try and repair the damage done by creating a home in the heart, mind and soul of a child. In 2011 – 2012 nearly 300 children were admitted into out of home care within Tasmania. Many of these children have experienced the worst from a lack of love – physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Our children’s brains do not stop developing until they are 18. The part of the brain that helps children cope with stress does not complete being developed until this age. This means that children do not have capacity to cope with stress. That is why protection is a large part of love. “Love protects.” For many of our children in out of home care they experience trauma to their mind, heart and soul and do not have the capacity to cope physically with the trauma. It is heartbreaking. The number of children in care has steadily risen over the past 10 years. We now have over 1000 children in foster care according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies Many children in out of home care experience multiple placement changes. In one study almost a quarter of all children had experienced 10 or more placements during their time in care. Stability, peace, having roots are essential ingredients to a child’s heart and mind developing well. Step into this scene carers who take on the role of protecting, loving, encouraging and believing in these children. It is a hard road. I have seen the exhaustion, I have seen the tears, I have seen the complexity of parenting children who have experienced major trauma and it breaks my heart. But I am always inspired by the courage, the tenacity and the persevering love that foster parents have. They are our heroes. Every child is of great worth and has a great purpose. We have spent too many years seeing the toxicity created in people’s minds by hurt, betrayal, and a lack of protective love. We can make a difference by championing “the best interests of the child.” Professor Patrick Parkinson released a report titled “For Kids Sake: Repairing the social environment for Australian children and young people”. It highlights some of the things that we can advocate for to create a community that loves children. Working at the Tailrace Centre is a great privilege because every day I am surrounded by hundreds of volunteers, courageous people who believe and advocate for children. Our prayer for the foster parents is that on Sunday as they gather and meet that they will be strengthened, encouraged and know that they are doing a great job at loving some of the most broken in our community. We hope that they will know that there is a company of people who so believe in the love that they are giving. Our prayer for the foster children is that the damage created in their mind, heart and soul might be repaired so that they will find their purpose of love in the world and not be ravished by bitterness, resentment, and anger.
“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But … the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?'” Thank you to the public for your kindness and your love to our foster children and their carers as we close Kids Paradise to the public on Sunday. We love creating moments for the ones who might need some crazy fun love. Kids Paradise will be closed to the public from 11 – 2pm on Sunday the 27th of April To learn more about how to become a foster carer please visit the Department of Health and Human Services site.