Angels of Grace. That’s what I called the foster fam-ily agency that I founded in 2000. Then, 14 years later, in 2014, we caught the attention of the local Rotary Club and I was invited to speak. I was a bit nervous but happy to talk about our work.
Angels of Grace took children out of dangerous environments and found them safe, nurturing places to grow up. We prioritized keeping siblings together and reuniting children with their families or placing kids into permanent homes.
I was up next to speak, after the policeman finished telling his story. As I waited to be called to the podium, my mind went back to a night many years before. That night, it was me who desperately needed to find a safe place. I sat alone in the busy ER at the county hospital. My body was sore. Broken ribs made it hard to breathe. A split lip made my mouth taste like blood. My face was swollen and bruised. When I caught sight of my reflection, I saw the handprints. The handprints of my husband, the man who’d put me here.
I looked around at the others in the ER. Two sailors in uniform injured in a bar fight. A kid on a bike, hit by a car. An asthma attack. Chest pains. Overdoses. The staff was stretched to the limit. One nurse, in particular, seemed to be everywhere at once, checking on each person and reassuring them.
“Hi,” she said, coming over to me. “Your name’s Lisa, right? I’m Jena. You’re going to be okay. I’ll be with you as soon as I can.”
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