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I don’t think we’ve ever really talked about it here, but Gretchen and I have plans to become foster parents in the future. We’ve been planning ever since we were married actually. We both feel that being parents to the parent-less (temporarily or permanently) is a beautiful picture of the kingdom of God. By Christ’s sacrifice we were adopted into his family, so it would be our joy to foster/adopt someone into our family, especially if it meant we had to make some major sacrifices.

Some of our good friends have recently become foster parents. They talk a little about it in this podcast, and I was so moved by what they’ve been experiencing I wanted to share it here. So listen, if you dare!

Foster Parenting Podcast: Episode 76 – A First Placement

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Last week, our friends Seth and Josiah came over to play for a few hours. Seth and Sammy are a year apart, and very good friends. They get very excited when they see each other (Sammy sometimes yells in his happiness over the sight of his friend) and Seth plays very nicely with Sammy even though he’s younger.
The younger boys got a little piano time, and Josiah became their conductor. I don’t know if they followed his directions, but there was lots of laughing!
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Eli had fun watching all of the action
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Seth came over this morning to play with Sammy, and they had a lot of fun together. Seth shared his snack very nicely, they played with many different toys, and read some books side by side. It was really cute seeing them together and how much Sammy enjoys having his friend over (he actually yelled with excitement when he saw Seth coming up to our house). Here are some pictures of their playtime, and there are more here.

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For those of you who are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Sammy’s little brother, you can get your labor/delivery fix early by visiting our friends The Bonhams. Cory is blogging live from the hospital where they’re having their first baby as we speak!
*** Update: The Bonham Baby has been born! Congratulations Melynda and Cory! ***

An update on this situation:

The “word on the street” is that the kids who were perpetrating the violence against our homeless neighbors have been apprehended. I’ve seen nothing about it on the news or in the paper, but evidently a police officer stopped by the shelter recently and told some guys that they were caught last week. Whatever happened, the attacks have stopped and folks feels a little safer. I would say that they’re “resting easier”, but the cold weather is making that difficult. I have a hard time imagining what it’s like to spend all night on a freezing cold sidewalk, but some of these guys spend every night that way.

I’ve been spending more and more time at the shelter recently and I’m getting to know some folks pretty well. Gretchen is down there four days a week working in the thrift store, so she’s meeting some great people too. I’ll try to post some stories soon.

I realize that this blog has become primarily a medium for distributing baby pictures and cute stories to friends and family, but I had a more serious experience this week that I want to talk about.

For the past few months a group of teenagers has been harassing and sometimes physically assaulting the group of homeless men and women that sleep outside the Samaritan Inn, a shelter a few block from our house. They drive by and scream profanities at them, often stopping to throw bricks or bottles. Over the last week or so the frequency of these incidents has been picking up and on Thursday night it reached a new low. At around midnight some kids actually parked their car, got out and started shooting the folks sleeping in front of the Inn with a paintball gun. One sleeping man was shot in the face several times, and even after he woke up and tried to hide behind a post they continued to shoot him.
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I like to go over the the Samaritan Inn and spend my lunch break there when I can, and I knew the man who was shot. It was an absolute shock when I saw him on Friday. His face was all swollen and cut up, and his eye was terrible looking. He told me what happened and my heart sank. I was especially disturbed by the fact that this has been going on for months and no one had done anything about it. None of the guys have been able to get a good look a the license plate and even though they’ve been reporting these incidents to the police nothing has been done to deter further attacks.

So my friend Dave and I went over there the other night and along with Wayne, the owner of the Samaritan Inn, we sat up for most of the night and tried to get a glimpse of the kids who where doing this. It was raining a little and they didn’t ever come by, but some of the guys stayed up with us and we had a great time talking. They had surprisingly good attitudes and very little anger towards the kids that were trying to hurt them.

This whole series of events got me thinking. There are a lot people who are passionate about the environment. They chain themselves to trees and clean up oil spills and fight against air pollution. There are folks that devote their lives to standing up for bald eagles, polar bears and manatees, and a lot of time and effort is spent making sure that pets are cared for properly and stray cats and dogs aren’t mistreated.

So where are all the people standing up for the homeless? They are one of the most defenseless and vulnerable groups in our society, where are the folks who are passionate about their rights? If there where kids driving past the SPCA every night and throwing bricks at the dogs in their kennels there would be a public outcry, but when it happens to the homeless it doesn’t even make the news.

This is a trend all across the country too. Teenager-on-homeless violence has been rising sharply in recently and very little is being done about it. In the last few years hundreds of violent crimes against the homeless have been reported, many of which where lethal. In Michigan a 53-year-old man was beaten to death with sticks and logs by a group of teenagers who admitted to killing the homeless man just for fun. Two New York City teens kicked, punched, and finally beat a 51-year-old homeless man to death in a churchyard. He crawled to the church steps before finally dying of a fractured skull. (read about more incidents here)

I think that every human being deserves to be treated with at least the respect that we show stray dogs. If you’re a Roanoke resident, give some of your time or money to the needs of the homeless through the Rescue Mission or the Samaritan Inn. Don’t badmouth the homeless to other people or around your kids and make sure that your teenagers aren’t watching any of the videos that glorify violence against the homeless like Bumfights. If you’re interested in doing something for homeless individuals personally, make them a care package.

I plan to spend a lot more time at the Samaritan Inn in the future and I’ll post more about this particular situation as things develop. I feel like this is an issue that Jesus Christ would be doing something about if he were in my shoes. Let me know if you have any good ideas.

Dan and Krysta Baughman sent us these fantastic little sock-type things for Sammy. I thought they were good looking enough to necessitate a picture. Thanks you guys, we appreciate you thinking of us!

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ps – And yes, they are Jordans. If you look closely you can make out the jumpman logo. Uncle Dan is setting the bar for footwear pretty high already…

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  • Proverbs 1:7
    The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

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