Friday, July 11, 2014

"Open Your Mouth"...Speaking UP for the Voiceless by Sue Badeau

“Open Your Mouth” . . . .
Speaking UP for the Voiceless

By Sue Badeau

They say you never forget your first love. You also never forget the first person who breaks your heart.

For me, it was not a boy. The first boy I loved, I married. We’ve had much heartbreak in 34 years together, raising 22 children, burying three, but he wasn’t the first to break my heart.

That was Mary, a scared, pregnant 19-year-old girl.

I was 22 when I met Mary. I was a recent bride and newly licensed foster parent. A nurse friend asked me to reach out to Mary, who had been hospitalized after a suicide attempt. She had no family.

I visited Mary, gently getting to know her. She began to share her life story, growing up in foster care, but quickly became confused. She couldn’t remember all of the places she’d lived or people she’d been told to call “mom” or “dad.” Foster homes blurred together until the cold December morning when she woke up in a group home, expecting a day like any other.

When a staff person knocked on her bedroom door telling her to gather her things because she was moving, she didn’t flinch. It was a common occurrence in her life. As they walked toward the front door, she asked, “Where am I going this time?”

He opened the door, looked out upon the snowy winter day and said, “Happy Birthday, Mary! You’re 18, you’re free of the system now – go anywhere you want.”

A year later, she was 19, pregnant and alone.

We cried, hugged and prayed together. I connected her with resources. I’m not sure if her life changed.

But mine was never the same.

With a broken heart, I sank to my knees, sobbing, asking God what I could do to make a difference for all the other Marys – frightened, disconnected and alone.

“Open your mouth for the mute” God said to me, “For the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the afflicted and needy. Proverbs 31: 8-9
This is why I speak. Dear Mary, I opened my heart to you, and you broke it. From that brokenness, God taught me to open my mouth and speak up for lonely, brokenhearted children in our midst.

I’ll never forget you.

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