Dejected. Dumbfounded. Despondent. In a state of despair. Lacking the ability to believe things will ever change.
In and outside of foster care, our society is riddled with hopelessness. We cannot escape it. Turning a blind eye only fuels it. Drugs, alcohol, shopping, eating, sleeping, numbing…Who is suffering? Way too many of our friends, family, and neighbors.
One of the biggest struggles I have met in foster care is this issue of hopelessness. It has lead to the highest number in Arizona history of kids in foster care with approximately 70% of kids coming into care for reasons related to substance use. It has broken families apart and left those wanting to make a difference dejected and licking their wounds on the sidelines. With approximately 26% of adopted children being returned to state custody, even adoptive families are not immune to its ill effects. It would be very easy to get into a hopeless spiral and see things as impossible to change.
There is one thing I know for sure. When we make the decision that things are impossible all of a sudden, they really are impossible. But, when we decide to link arms and push forward we see people making a real impact; ASA Now empowering families whose lives have been impacted by foster care (http://www.asanow.org/), the staff of recovery programs throughout the state walking alongside those needing to end the power addiction holds (https://211arizona.org/substance-use-disorder/) , CASAs advocating for the children (http://www.voicesforcasachildren.org/about-voices/), and HUNDREDS more.
George Lucas said it best when he said “the secret is to not give up hope. It’s very hard not to because if you’re really doing something worthwhile I think you will be pushed to the brink of hopeless before you come through the other side.”
Day in and day out I see reasons to give up hope. But, I see many more reasons to hope. Over 19,000 to be exact. When I feel discouraged and hopeless, thoughts start creeping in, Cody is one of the kids that comes to my mind and pushes me forward. He has not given up hope and neither will I.
Founder/CEO Foster Arizona