Some years ago my life was changed when my wife and I had a baby girl, Olivia.  When little baby humans come into our lives, our lives are instantly and permanently changed.

Babies are the ultimate rebels, they are mavericks.  They do whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want and no one is going to say a word to them.

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Olivia as a baby

If they want to have a party at 3am, there’s a party at 3 am.  The reluctant and sleepy parents drag themselves out of bed to join in.

If a baby thinks a church service is boring or that the speaker is going on too long, everyone in the place will know what the baby wants.  “I am outta here.”

If they need to take care of some personal, private business, it doesn’t matter where you are, grunts and gross smells are coming.

If they are hungry and want to eat, you better break out the twin feeding devices cause it’s mealtime my friend.  “I don’t care nothing about what you were doing before, it’s time to eat.”

Around the toddler age, they have some instincts about getting lost because they are always marking their trail like modern day Daniel Boone.

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Olivia making a mess

With their juice cup they expertly mark a trail from the refrigerator to their favorite sitting spot.  It’s like the sticky floor helps them find their way back someday.

In the car they leave a trail of french fries in their wake.  Thankfully french fries never age so they can come back weeks later and snack on them.

They take crayons and color on our walls like the entire house is their easel.  Making sure that all other little baby humans know that THIS house belongs to them.  It’s like when a dog lifts its leg, marking its territory.  “This is mine you little Shitzu, step away.”  Shitzu is a type of dog, for the record.

In middle school they roll their eyes at you so much that you think their eyes have turned white.

“Honey, her eyes are rolling again, should we take her to the opthamologist?”

“No, sweetheart she just thinks you’re stupid.”

“What a relief!”

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When they get around 16 they want to learn how to drive.  Testing your patience and the strength of your neck muscles as they jerk the car through every corner and stop.  All the while you whisper to yourself, “Lord please help me”.  I’ve literally sat in the middle of an intersection while my daughter tried to figure out which direction to go, asking the Lord to make my impending death a quick one.  Resigned I mumbled, “So this is how it ends, it was a good run.”

At around 18 they want to take all your money and go to this big party called college, I mean “center for advanced learning”.  IMG_2812You pack up the car with clothes and fond memories of that little baby girl.  Even if the college is nearby you make the long drive to this university.  After helping them unpack you feel the need to dispense the vast array of wisdom that you’ve gained from years of experience.

“You know I went to college right?  (nodding head)  All college age boys are stupid, you can date after college.”

 

Finally someday they want YOU TO PAY, to get rid of them.  It’s like when you have to pay an exterminator to get rid of roaches.  This isn’t as clean and tidy as an exterminator.  You have to walk them down the aisle of a church and give them away to another man.  A lesser man than you would have for your precious little baby girl.  And we cry on those occasions because we don’t really want to get rid of them, but we know that we should.

IMG_2817This is how life should be, with the parent sacrificing for their kids, giving to their kids, developing faith in them and helping them be better humans along the way.  But not all kids are treated well, some in this state, in this city, in this neighborhood are abused, neglected or lacking parents to care for them.

My wife is the CEO and President of the Children’s Bureau, so I know something about this.  The Children’s Bureau helped 46,000 kids in Indiana last year.  46,000!!  To give you a point of reference Lucas Oil Stadium would be almost 70% full of kids who were helped just last year.  The entire staff of the Children’s Bureau, from the cook, to the receptionist, to the case workers to management does life changing work everyday.

The need has never been greater because of addiction in our neighborhoods.  As we approach Thanksgiving and Christmas, please consider giving of your time or resources.  Foster a kid in need, give Christmas to someone who cannot afford it, offer a meal to the needy.

http://www.cbfostercare.com/ – To be a foster parent

http://h4h.childrensbureau.org/ – Hope for the Holidays

http://www.childrensbureau.org/stay-informed/2015/october/heroin – NPR interview with Tina

Written by Ron Cloer