Suzette Martinez Standring: Foster care and addiction now blessings
Their parents’ opioid addictions forced “Jason,” 13, and his sister “Ariel,” 12, into foster care; five homes and six schools over the last five years. “It felt like I was in a box that was being thrown around everywhere. My mom was doing drugs and my dad was in jail. I sat around with nothing to do, it was like being grounded,” Jason said, “I prayed one night, crying, that someone would take me in.”
Last June, the Massachusetts DCF found their aunt and uncle, Cheryl Hurley, 55, and Patrick Hurley, 59 of Milton, who agreed to take the kids, whom they had sheltered with their mom years ago, but had lost touch. “One day she took off and we didn’t know where,” said the uncle.
Before the kids moved in, the couple prayed hard over their decision. “We didn’t know if they were troublemakers, or if they had physical or mental problems. But we figured God would guide us,” said Hurley, who works for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Commuter Rail. His wife is a postal worker.
The Hurleys’ three daughters, Danielle, 29, and Noelle, 26, live on their own, while Molly, 22, lives at home. Foster care requirements and new family dynamics form a complex puzzle, but the bonds were instant. Now Danielle, a teacher, tutors Jason and Ariel. Noelle bought them new bikes, and Molly was out that day with Ariel at an amusement park.
Hurley said, “They moved in on Friday, we fell in love with them, and on Sunday, we were house hunting for a bigger place.” After 28 years in Milton, the family moved to Walpole in September. Daughter Molly told her dad, “We’re going to have a new house and a fresh start.”
Troubles transform into blessings. Five years ago Parick Hurley had heart surgery and later he lost 70 pounds, “Now I have the energy to keep up with them! God had a reason for keeping me around.” His wife agreed, “My blood pressure is down, my sugar is down, my weight is down. They got me walking the dog, playing games, and riding bikes.”
The kids are free to see their parents if they wish. Does Jason miss them? “I don’t know my father. I love my mom, but I’m mad at them for the bad choices they’ve made.”
Jason wants to tell other foster kids, “Work hard, keep your head up. There’s always light in the world. It may seem like you’re in a dark place and getting pushed around, but always keep walking, looking for the light and eventually you’ll find the door.”
The Hurleys attend St. Agatha’s Parish in Milton. They don’t push religion, choosing to lead by example. Recently, Jason bought a Bible on his own. His new dad winked, “I think God is pulling him in.”
Perhaps Jason will discover Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
— Email Suzette Standring: email@example.com or visit www.readsuzette.com. The award-winning author writes for The Patriot Ledger and is syndicated through GateHouse Media.