The license completion felt like the end of a long race. We had the pep talks along the way, we had the moments of mind over body to sit through class after class. We set down our privacy, opened up our lives, our family histories, our personal stories to the State.
As May ended without a call, I thought perhaps June would be the month we got a call. Then, June stretched out in front of us, full of lazy days and crazy camp schedules. Birthday parties and friends filled our days, and the phone didn't ring.
Now, we sit at the beginning of July. Thoughts are turning to the school year, school supply lists and the final plans for summer. A vacation week is arranged, and in the back of my mind lingers the thought, "Do we need more space in the car? Or will the phone stay silent?"
On the one hand, the empty spots in our home feel like a happy ending. The reality that a child doesn't need that space because they're home and whole is a good thing. That a parent and child haven't had to be separated is good.
But I worry about the one who is suffering with no one to speak up. I worry about the child stuck in a dangerous place, isolated from help. Every mass, I pray for those children. "God, send them an intercessor. Help them find help. St Michael, guard these precious little ones."
Every week, I cry a little and pray there isn't a preschooler hiding under her bed somewhere without us to keep her safe. I pray for the baby, neglected and isolated, losing contact with the world around her. "Mother Mary, wrap them in your mantle."
On Pentecost, "Holy Spirit, give those who see child abuse and neglect the courage to stand up for those children."
On Father's Day, "Heavenly Father, help us to go where you lead to protect Your children."
So we wait, and we pray, and we entrust all those children in need to God, recognizing all the time they were His to start with.