Humble and kind

Whenever the Tim McGraw song “Humble and Kind” plays on the radio, I can feel our 8-year-old roll his eyes as I remind him that these lyrics are something I hope he takes to heart:

“Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you / When you get where you’re going, don’t forget to turn back around / And help the next one in line. / Always stay humble and kind.”

It’s important to us that Cayden understands that we have been incredibly blessed to have had so many people help us in our journey to become a family.

• There were the dedicated, caring social workers who made sure to keep checking on his welfare the first year of his life. These people work tirelessly to try to help birthparents successfully parent and then do the difficult work to place the children with foster parents, if necessary, who will make sure these vulnerable children are safe and healthy.
• There were people at our church who knew of our struggle to have a child. They were relentless in telling us to consider calling Diakon Adoption & Foster Care.
• Then there were the kind people who donated clothes and all the emergency placement items that were given to us when, with just a few hours’ notice, we found ourselves headed home with a terrified and traumatized 13-month-old little boy.
• And then the adoption and foster care staff members who were there to share our joy on the day we became a “forever family.”

Giving back to Diakon and other kids in foster care has been something we have made a priority as a family. Every December we do something fun to celebrate the anniversary of that first day Cayden came into our home and we go on a shopping trip to recreate that initial emergency placement basket that was given to us.

And even though we do these things, we ask ourselves as parents if he really “gets it” and understands why we do it. After all, he’s only 8 years old.

It seems very much that he does get it.

In September 2016, Cayden was asked to be part of a groundbreaking ceremony for a major renovation project within Old Main on The Lutheran Home at Topton campus, inclusive of the creation of a Center for Permanency for Diakon Adoption & Foster Care.

At that event, Diakon presented several sponsorship opportunities for the new center and we suggested that perhaps our family could purchase some books or a chair for the new facility.

However, Cayden immediately felt strongly that he wanted to raise the $5,000 needed for the new playroom in the center.

That was a big goal for a little boy, but we couldn’t disagree with him when he said the most important part of the new foster and adoption permanency center was the one thing that was just for the kids.

Over the next year, Cayden helped plan and carry out several fundraisers and experienced the overwhelming generosity of individuals who stepped forward to help him achieve his goal.

In early November, Cayden was excited to receive an award for his efforts (a detailed story on the award and Cayden’s efforts appears in the upcoming issue of Dialog, Diakon’s periodic newsletter – editor).

When he was interviewed, he said something along these lines: “It’s important to me to give back to kids in foster care because every child deserves a family.”

It really is that simple.

Recently I discovered that Cayden had created a playlist for himself on his Ipad; most of the songs were unknown to me.

But then I saw it, right there in the middle of the list, Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind,” focused on always helping the “next one in line.”

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