This past Sunday night my wife and I took our kids and enjoyed a concert in the park in downtown OKC. This is part of the “Summer Concert Series” put on by the Arts Council. Our family has enjoyed attending a few of these summer concerts over the last few years. www.artscouncilokc.com/twilight-concerts
This last weekend’s event was no exception. We had an excellent place in the shade where we would be protected from the late-day summer sun. A warm breeze blew as the band kicked it into gear with some soulful R&B.
One feature of the improved park next to the Myriad Gardens is the addition of an excellent play area for children. I took our four kids for about ½ hour of playtime to burn off some energy. They enjoyed climbing, spinning, and excitedly experiencing all the fun that could be had in a place designed to delight children.
One unexpected twist was Thomas. When I first saw Thomas I didn’t know his name. I just saw a grown adult male with a tiny guitar walking around the kid’s playground. But then he began to seek out and interact with my kids. He showed them how to make music on the in-ground xylophone. I thought it was a bit odd that this guy was seeking out kids and boldly interacting with them – even in the presence of a parent.
Thomas came out of the xylophone area and we began to talk. In short order I discovered that he is 18 years old and homeless. He entered the foster system the victim of many traumas. Thomas was never chosen to become a permanent part of anyone’s family through adoption; rather, he went from group home to group home and graduated into life an adult orphan – no family, no I.D., no recollection of where his birth certificate is, no food or drink, and no place to lay his head (except a dark corner of the universe somewhere each night).
“Why don’t you spend the night at a shelter?” I asked. He said that he is not comfortable doing that. I thought to myself, “Probably due to some traumas experienced in one or more of the group homes that was his family in the growing up years.”
“Hey, can you adopt me even though I’m 18?” Thomas queried. He had just been told that my wife and I adopted all four of our kids. How do you answer that? I didn’t.
Thomas’ predicament is not an isolated case. There are many, many more just like him in our own state and country that age out of foster care and end up in dire straits.
Will you pray for Thomas? Will you pray for those in the same condition as Thomas? Will you adopt a Thomas?
Thomas might check into the military. He could learn a skill and begin building a life for himself. The service will do a pretty good job of testing him for job skill training, and can generally match him to a career path. Most in the military are not in combat related jobs. Thomas could build this into a 20 or 30 year career, and at the same time build both a job skill path he can either continue to build upon in civilian life or go a whole new route. Life is not up for Thomas…he just needs to really evaluate where he wants to go.