This I Believe
I believe there are saints in the world. There are saints who come to my courtroom in Family Court in the South Bronx. Men and women who own bodegas, work as cleaners of subway cars, who deliver party rentals to apartments on the Eastside, who work for the Parks Department lopping off dangling limbs in the City’s parks or who are the invisible clerks in the vast bureaucracies that are the engines of how New York runs.
Hard working men and women who become foster parents of those children the world shies away from because they were born drug addicted or HIV positive, because they are emotionally crippled, because they live their lives in wheel chairs. Children the world shies away from because they are not cute; children who are an emotional and physical burden. Children whose lives are marked in visits to specialists of all sorts: psychologists, asthma doctors, social workers, lawyers and judges.
I have seen a foster father wipe the spittle from the mouth of a teenage boy in a wheelchair; a foster mother scurry around the courtroom after a brain damaged three year old in a little pink helmet
I have marveled at foster parents who have little except a giving heart. People who ask for nothing but the chance to give a home to these unwanted children. People who will seek to adopt children so ill they run a risk of dying.
I have marveled at foster parents who hope for nothing except to be called “Mom” or “Dad.” People whose greatest fear is that I, the woman in the black robes, will not let them adopt.
Yes, I have seen in my court room those men and women who try to take advantage of foster children. Men and women who want nothing more than to get money from government programs. Baby farmers who prop up their incomes by slipping as many foster children as they can past the caseworkers.
There are saints who come to my courtroom. Some are religious; some are not; some are gay, some straight; some came to the Bronx from the Islands, some from the Carolinas. Most have never left this neighborhood of worn four story apartment houses. I hope we would be as giving as they are – but we are not saints, or even foster parents.
This I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.