So Selfless

Pagosa Springs, Colorado

October 17, 2020 Last evening I had a conversation with my camping neighbors. (They actually have a fifth wheel.) The conversation started as many do these days, with them saying “you are a long way from home.” They are a mixed-raced couple from El Paso who are retired and travel to get away from the Texas heat.

I can’t remember how the conversation evolved into a discussion of the issue of poverty versus the issue of race and how we often mislabel such issues. They volunteered that when their daughters were in middle school, they decided they wanted to become foster parents. For the next eight years they fostered 18 troubled teenage boys, two at a time. They treated them like their own kids - bought them what they needed, gave them chores, supervised their schooling.

I was blown away. That they had the desire, the patience, the strength to add more to their already full plate with two teenagers of their own. They said it was a lot of work as the many of the boys didn’t know the basics of relationships. They taught the boys to respect themselves and others. They weren’t always successful. Some of the boys are in prison. Some have been killed. But a good number have good jobs, now have families of their own and treat this couple as parents/grandparents.

I‘m embarrassed to say that I don’t think I could have done that. Thank goodness there are exceptional people who can be foster parents and do it with love and caring.

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