THE GOD OF LOST CAUSES
“She couldn’t watch the video today.” The volunteer support worker sighed and shifted in her chair during the debriefing time after her client session. “Jenny* is due in a few weeks and she knows for sure that her baby will be apprehended at birth. We started watching the video on infant care, but when she saw all of the mothers cuddling their babies, her anxiety level went through the roof. So I turned off the video and we just talked. I don’t know what to do for her. I mean, Jenny wants to learn how to be a good mom, and she hopes to have her child back at some point, but the parenting program we currently offer isn’t working for her. It doesn’t fit her situation. What should we do?”
Many months have passed since that conversation, but the question continues to be asked: How do we best help and support parents whose children have been apprehended?
“Most parents agree the worst thing that could happen to a parent is to lose a child,” says board member Lorraine Dodd, manager of services at Nog Da Win Da Min Family and Community Services. “There are many reasons why children are taken into the care of a Children’s Aid Society. Sometimes parents need help to identify abusive patterns and learn parenting techniques that can keep children safe at home. Other times, parents openly request assistance, due to social and economic factors beyond their control. The loss of custody can be traumatic for a parent, and can exacerbate mental illness, making it more difficult to regain custody.”
At the Pregnancy Centre, we have found that clients who have had a child apprehended are more likely to become pregnant again. They are consequently more abortion vulnerable, for fear they may face another apprehension. Substance abuse or mental health issues may get worse, and it can become a vicious cycle.
It can be tempting to write off parents in these situations as “lost causes”. But there is no such thing as a lost cause. There is always hope. Every human being has inherent value and worth, created by God in His image. With God’s help, anyone can change.
Have you ever wondered how Ananias felt in Acts 9 when the Lord asked him to help Saul of Tarsus? Ananias knew Saul’s reputation and could have written him off as a lost cause. How could a man like that turn his life around? But the Lord said, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.” Despite any protests Ananias may have made, the book of Acts records that he did go, and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
"It can be tempting to write off parents in these situations as “lost causes”. But there is no such thing as a lost cause. There is always hope."
Many of you have overcome some really difficult things in your life, and you can probably think of someone – an “Ananias” – who believed in you and helped you through that time. You may not be where you are now if it had not been for them.
If a person has a child apprehended, it means the challenges they are facing have grown too difficult to handle on their own. We feel it is our responsibility to offer help. Our new Post Apprehension program is not meant to replace professional counselling or treatment, nor does it mean parents will necessarily regain custody of their children. It will not fix everything in their lives. Rather, it is a step in the right direction towards healing and wholeness. This program is an opportunity for parents to feel heard, to know that someone is in their corner, and that there is hope for the future.
Lorraine Dodd is excited about the possibilities. “The Post Apprehension program will give parents a safe and caring place to share their grief and struggles, and an opportunity to learn some skills and tools that will help them make positive changes. By working together through life’s challenges, we can help to strengthen and support one another when times are hard.”
If you are interested in supporting this new venture, we need approximately $250 to purchase new curriculum materials. Our hope is to launch the program by the end of this year. Some of the topics which will be covered are: shame, grief, positive coping skills, conflict resolution, dealing with authority, life skills such as house cleaning, budgeting, and hygiene, as well as parenting basics and child development.
Do we dare to imagine that people really can change? God has a passion for the brokenhearted, and so should we. He is the God of Lost Causes.
* Name changed to protect confidentiality