I had only had the three children in my care for a short time when I brought them to the Department of Children and Families office in the Asa Bloomer building in Rutland to meet their mother who was, understandably, anxious to see and touch her children again. We went into the office waiting room and waited until a concerned social worker could meet us to escort us to a room further inside the offices where we sat and waited.
The children looked around speculatively, trying to decide which of the tattered toys they’d like to fight over first. The rooms reflect the fact that DCF cares. Efforts have been made to furnish them with a wide range of safe toys and furniture conducive to family interaction. They have been painted in cheerful and pleasant colors.
No family ends up in that room without there having been considerable heartache and grief to bring them there. The time spent in that room will be the high point or the low point of someone’s week; and sometimes both at once. And if families are important so are the spaces where “family” is permitted to happen.
DCF Work Project
We want to honor the work that DCF is doing and the families for whom they are doing it by making sure that these emotionally significant places fully reflect the way we all feel about what happens in them. Our Office of the Department for Children and Families in Rutland County has given us the opportunity to renovate and refurnish their two visitation rooms, the places where children in custody can have supervised interactions with their families. We are going to replace old, tired toys and furniture and redecorate the rooms so that they will be positive places where fractured families can maintain connection with dignity. And we need your help. Find out more here.
The other thing we've been given an opportunity to help with is the "store" that DCF maintains with clothing, toiletries, and other items that would be helpful to families with children in custody as well as foster families and all those in need. DCF is in need of help with sorting and stocking items and would be grateful for assistance with staffing the room.
When their mother came in I felt a lot of feels. I ached for her and for the children. I felt insecure. I felt hopeful. And I felt more than a little out of place. But I can only imagine what she and the kids felt in that moment. Since then, I’ve logged hours in those two rooms and others like them, and I know that there will always be a need for rooms like this until Jesus comes back.
But, speaking of Jesus coming back, do you know what he’s doing in preparation for his return? He is preparing a place for me in heaven. He is getting rooms ready for when a family fractured by sin can be reunited with the Father in heaven. If that’s how Jesus is spending this time, it feels really appropriate for us to spend that time in much the same manner: getting rooms ready so that fractured families can be together in a gracious and well appointed place.
If you are interested in joining us in this effort (or in helping us to staff and stock DCF’s “store”) please follow this link to the page on our website where you will find more information and a chance to sign up.
By Joel Tom Tate
Furnace Brook Wesleyan Church Blog