Today is the Birthday of Grumpy. At 2:35 PM today, March 5, 2019 he turns 20 years old.
I wish that I was writing a post of celebration and joy in regards to the 20th birthday of my third youngest dwarf. I am instead making a plea to our family and friends, to commit to praying for him today. For safety, for others to be raised up around him to guide and protect him, and for continued favor upon his young life.
As you know Grumpy spent January 2, 2018 through the 10th of January 2019 homeless. The Prince and I did all that we could to help him find a meal, transportation (we provided him with two bikes) places to stay, clothing, occasionally a shower or a car ride. Sadly at every turn he would disrupt his opportunity because of his inability to follow the rules, fleeing and leaving all his belongings behind. The further he got into his stint being homeless the shorter his stays became in the homes of those who were willing to take a chance on him. He refused to get a job. Opportunities for employment arose, even some of the managers of the locations he was applying went so far as to purchase work shoes or clothing for him, all resulting in him just never showing up for day one.
On January 10, 2019 the Prince made a two hour drive with a dwarf that we thought may be at the end of himself. We found a ministry that specialized in men needing a fresh start. Men that needed to disconnect from the environment that they were living in and receive supports and therapy to help them in a span of two years, reconnect with appropriate contacts in their life, learn job skills and work on learning to help themselves.
Sadly, we report that while he managed to stay longer at this placement than any other over the last year, they have returned him to our home town area to a mental health facility. We believe that he was baker acted, and hence has 7 days of observations at this location. After that time, we are unsure what his lot will be. He is soon running out of options. Florida does not have systems in place for young adults with mental needs.
If we are being honest, Grumpy most likely needs to be institutionalized so that he can live his best life ever. He needs to be in a place where he is told when and how to do things, and just has to follow the rules. Where someone will wake him for work, remind him to do his laundry, enforce schedules and time management for him. A place where when you do not follow the rules, there is a consequence, and there is consistency until the offending behavior is regulated.
Please be praying for Grumpy today on the day of his 20th birthday. We know that we are only part of his story, and the Lord holds his beginning middle and end in His hands. However, even though we know and trust this, we still need to be fervent in our petitions and prayers for this young man's heart, soul, mind and body. As you pray today with a hope for Grumpy's future, please include the following areas:
- A secure and safe placement for him after his 7 days are up at this mental health facility
- In the time he is in the facility, that they would see the true depth of his illness which may open up other options for treatment and/or programs
- That whatever needs to happen to Grumpy to bring him to the end of himself, would happen sooner rather than later
- That Grumpy would desire change, want to work and function well in society
- That he would not be placed back on the streets, homeless
- That the Lord would continue to raise up men and women that would desire to pour themselves into Grumpy to give him yet another fresh start
- That Grumpy will not forget that above all he is loved and treasured as one of God's children and that he has value.
I leave you with these statistics to ponder. It is more than just and adoption issue. It is more than just a homeless issue. It is more than just a mental health issue. As these children in foster care or that have been adopted age, it becomes a mental health issue for many, and homelessness or prison for many more.
The statistics are a couple years old, however speak volumes to the situation in our foster care system, and the overwhelming increase in our homeless population across the nation. Our states need to make changes so that we can appropriately care for those who have mental health issues.
Estimates at the end of 2017 Fiscal Year indicated by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children Youth and families and the Children's Bureau indicate that the following:
437,465 children were already in foster care at the start of the fiscal year
273,539 children would be added to the foster care system in that fiscal year
250,248 children/young adults would exit the foster care system in that fiscal year through aging out or reunification attempts (many to return again another year)
117,794 children would be adopted into homes during that fiscal year
Approximately 1/3 of the total homeless population includes individuals with serious, untreated mental illness according to a research summary compiled by the Treatment Advocacy Center.
"Serious mental illness disrupts people's ability to carry out essential aspects of daily life such as self care and life management skills. Mental illness often also prevents people from forming and maintaining stable relationships or cause people to misinterpret others guidance and react irrationally. This results in pushing away caregivers, family and friends who may be the force keeping that person from being homeless. As a result of these factors and the stress of living with a mental disorder, people with mental illness are much more likely to become homeless." (National Coalition for the Homeless)
This is not the path that I ever thought I would find myself on, but as I journey I share, as we are not alone in this fight for our children, adopted or biological.
Statistics have been cited from the sources indicated