Letters to the editor

July 12, 2003

Foster parents, supporters needed

To the editor:

Imagine a world in which the concept of "family" is turned on its head, a world in which you are forced to pack your few belongings and move to a new home and a new family.

And imagine for a moment that you are the new family taking in a child who is confused, rootless and likely angry. Very little imagination is required if you are one of the 556,000 children in foster care in the U.S. or one of the foster families who open their hearts and homes to children in desperate need of stability.

May is designated National Foster Care Month - a time when the spotlight shines on the children and teens, in foster care and the dedicated child welfare professionals and volunteers who make foster care work. The foster care system is only as good as the people who choose to be a part of it. As more Americans begin to feel responsible for children who are in foster care, the system will become better and better.


When I first considered becoming a foster/adoptive parent, it was very frightening, but the more involved I became, the more I came to understand that these are real children, just like all the others in our community.

They like to play ball, pet puppies, ride bikes and have someone to hug good-night at the end of the day. I realized it was time to step out of my comfort zone and become that person. It's the best thing I have ever done and it can be for you as well!

There are countless opportunities for you to make a difference in the lives of the children in foster care right here in Washington County. There are also countless excuses for not becoming a foster parent. But new foster and adoptive families are desperately needed.

Becoming a foster parent is not the only way to have an impact on the lives of a child in foster care.

There are also numerous opportunities to adopt children who are waiting and available in the foster care system. Maryland's foster-to-adopt process welcomes families who may not be able to provide fulltime foster care, but would like to adopt an available foster child.

Washington County has a mentor program which matches caring adults with older foster children who are preparing for independent living once they become young adults themselves.

You can make a difference in the life of a child - and what more could you ask for in life?

Contact the Washington County Department of Social Services and get involved in foster care!

Ebbonie Johnson

People in need

To the editor:

I was saddened to hear about the situation with the homeless. To the people who are against the shelter, what if the shoe were on the other foot? It is mind-boggling to think people think this way. One never knows what the future holds for them. Monday you can be a millionaire. Tuesday you can be down on your luck and out on the street.

In any group there is good and bad. You can't blame one bad apple for the whole bunch. I think the downtown area of Hagerstown can be so much more than what it is if people put their minds, heart and spirit into it. I'm not someone in charge, just a concerned citizen. Just with my eyes, ears, hands, feet I see, hear, feel what is wrong and needed in the community. One way you can start is by having this shelter.

In today's economy, some people are down on their luck. Why shut the door and say who cares? I think being a human being means having some compassion for someone else instead of the almighty dollar and prejudging someone or their situation before we care to get involved.

There is a need for a shelter, not just for people to stay out of the cold and have a place to sleep, but a learning haven where those who are down on their luck can get back on track.

I recall a line from Phil Collins' song "Another Day In Paradise." It's another day in paradise for you and me, but what is it like for people like these people?

Helen Willis

Special holiday

To the editor:

For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Fourth of July is so much more than just another summer holiday. It is a sacred celebration in which we are reminded to"...stand fast in this liberty wherewith (we) have been made free..."

We further believe that God raised up our forefathers, who sacrificed all to bring us the blessings of liberty and the divine gift of the Constitution of the United States of America. For more information about the LDS Church and how we can do our part to bring blessings to ourselves and our families, call toll-free, 1-800-438-7557. Do it now!

Larry D. Kump
Falling Waters

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