Just as important as finding your purpose is where it leads you, who it touches, what it changes, and the larger effect it has on the greater good. Sometimes your purpose leads you to a place you could never imagine -- case in point -- pajamas.
When people say, "Those boys are so lucky!" I'm quick to counter that I am the lucky one, to be entrusted with their care. Maybe that's my sign at the grocery store, a succinct description of a single gay man who adopted older biological siblings: "Lucky-dad parking."
Some may say the heavenly visitors appeared at the exact time of TJ's passing by Divine appointment. What better way to help ease his little sisters' pain then by letting them know their brother and his friend were in heaven?
When my sister-in-law told me about a volunteer opportunity with CASA advocating on behalf of children in need, I knew that was how I wanted to give back. I feel in a way I honor my grandfather's memory through my work with these children.
I don't harbor resentment about being given up for adoption. I don't see the point, because constantly questioning my identity would just eat me up. Instead, I'm grateful, and I can't begin to explain how liberating that is.
Fifteen-year-old Davion Navar Henry Only has spent his entire life in Florida's foster care system. He's been moved from placement to placement throughout his childhood. For some children like Davion, foster care can last an entire childhood.
As I gave out pajamas every day, I was continually enlightened by the reaction from moms and dads who were donating to Pajama Program and from the women and men who were caring for children receiving our pajamas.
The crisis of child trafficking and exploitation in the U.S. is finally capturing our attention. But a critical part of the story has not been told. Most of the children who are being bought and sold for sex in our nation are foster care children.
In normal day-to-day life, U.S. (and international) foster kids are just trying to survive, but they must learn how to thrive in order to beat the odds. I believe learning entrepreneurship can help foster youth become successful, productive citizens.
As anyone who is tormented would say, PTSD is anything but benign. It is essential that the public understand the need for those affected to have access to treatment. Anything less is re-victimizing those who have already experienced detrimental pain.
Sister Tesa, the founder and executive director of Hour Children, has good reason to be concerned. The people in the photos are the mothers and children her nonprofit helps get back on their feet when the women get of jail.
We know that the number of children in need in the U.S. is growing, due to the difficult economic conditions many American families face. All children need and deserve to feel safe and loved at all times, but especially at bedtime.
While the Adoption and Safe Families Act was a landmark piece of legislation, there are still over 100,000 children in foster care in the United States waiting for an adoptive family. And each year, 27,000 children "age out" of foster care.
These youth want to remain invisible. They fear being stigmatized or bullied; they also fear that they will be taken into custody. Additionally, their psychological development is at the stage where they genuinely believe that they are able to take care of themselves, somehow, someway.
Children we meet ask us what pajamas are; I still can't believe it. They shouldn't have to sleep in their clothes for days and nights at a time. There are no soothing story books to help distract them from frightening thoughts before sleep.