Most foster kids came to our home with food insecurities and needed constant reminders there will be enough and that they are enough. Some kids ate so much they would throw up, some hid food and others would go days without eating if they were upset or stressed. Food became an issue because their parents didn’t have enough money to feed them, other times food was withheld and used as punishment, or the parents weren’t around to feed them.
One little boy had such issues with food because his mom was a prostitute and would leave him to fend for himself. This little boy could never remember my name and called me “Judy” for a month straight. It would start at 5:30 am, and I could hear him down the hall, “Judy, hungry boy.” This went on all day long.
Normally, I don’t like food in the bedrooms, but with foster kids, I encouraged it so they wouldn’t have the fear of being hungry in our home. I made it a priority to take all our kids to the grocery store, let them pick out foods they liked, and we would eat dinner together to provide that daily routine.
Over the years, I have learned that food helps to build trust and opens a way for healing to take place just by making them feel safer. With GeQwan’s love for cooking, we have spent numerous hours in the kitchen and at our dining room table trying to connect. Sometimes in between chopping and sautéing, he would let a little scrap of his life fall on the counter between us.
My job as a foster mom is never to “fix” anyone but rather to give them a seat at our table and let them know they are enough. I don’t know what it’s like to go hungry, but I do know something about brokenness and I’m so grateful Jesus says to me, “Julie, you are enough. Come as you are, and you will always have a seat at my table.”