And just because our kids are poor, does not mean that they are not loved.
I would venture to say that all of our kids are loved. Deeply and fiercely loved.
Do their parents do it right all of the time? Nope.
But neither do I.
I am mean to my kids after a long day of work, and often would prefer to watch tv or read a book or have a drink with friends than hang out with them. I yell. I get frustrated.
It doesn't negate my love for them.
And being poor does not make parents love their kids any less.
But, our students come with a lot of mess.
They live in a neighborhood filled with violence and drugs and unemployment and more. They have parents who work long hours to provide for them. They have a whole set of low expectations thrust upon them from the day they enter school.
They have a lot on their little plates, and it reflects at school. It reflects in how they interact with their peers, their teachers and with their families.
I think that we try to fight for all of them in the beginning. Some of them just pull our heart strings a little bit more than others, and some probably the ones who most need us to fight for them - drive us so crazy that it's hard to keep at it.
We hadn't lost any. We've had kids move from the city, get enrollment in the public school, parents remarry. We've had parents decide that we just weren't offering what they need.
But we hadn't really lost any that needed us to fight for them.
Until two weeks ago.
We've been fighting and fighting for this precious girl. She disappeared right before Holy Week. The other kids told me that she was moving. I tried to find the family, but they were already gone. We prayed. I cried. We could not lose this child.
There is family abuse - intense, serious, physical abuse. There is poverty. There are no parents, just a grandmother who doesn't really want to be the responsible party. There is a lovely little girl dealing with so much more than any six year old should ever have to deal with.
Her grandmother came to see me a few days ago. She told me, matter of factly, that they moved into a new neighborhood and she is just too old to walk the child to school everyday, so she will no longer be attending. She will not find enrollment anywhere else because the school year is just about over, but the poor girl will also automatically fail first grade. She is also being removed from the afterschool program she was in. Taken away from everything she knows and finds comfort in.
It's something that I knew would happen eventually - that we would lose. That we can't save all of the kids who enter our doors. It's been a weird season for me. Sad, but not quite. Disappointed, maybe?
Please keep this little princess in your prayers and thoughts. I don't know what the future holds for her, but I hope that her short time with us taught her that she is loved and valued.