Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

I’m going to be really honest with you about the evolution of my understanding of sex trafficking. I’m wondering if maybe it’s been your process, too.

Step 1: Sex trafficking is a really bad thing that happens in other countries where there are brothels and American businessmen pay for sex. Somebody should do something about that.

Step 2: Sex trafficking is a really bad thing that happens in my country where desperate women with drug problems trade their bodies for money and dangerous pimps make money off of it. We should do something about that.

Step 3: Sex trafficking is something that happens to vulnerable children and adults who have been failed by child welfare, by those the authorities, by their families and feel there is no other option than selling their bodies in order to survive or to feel “loved” by their pimps. I SHOULD DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT.

The statistics are staggering about how many kids are involved in sex trafficking. According to the FBI over 100,000 CHILDREN are sold for sex each year. If you’re like me, you’re asking yourself the question, “WHO ARE THESE KIDS?” How can 100,000 kids just disappear into sex trafficking operations? I’ve read “Free Range Kids” and I know kids aren’t being abducted by strangers at the rates they were even in my childhood, so what is going on?

It has been heartbreaking to hear the stories of these children and realize they were not just snatched off the street, but were often manipulated into this work because they were vulnerable. (The documentary “Tricked” is a good place to start your education.)  They were runaways without a plan. They were kids without parents to come home to. They had already been sexually abused and were dealing with feelings of shame and fear. And if you are a parent who is high and not getting along with your teen and she goes missing, are you going to want to call the authorities and alert them to what was going on at your home? Probably not. Especially not if you’ve got other kids you’re raising. What about the foster kids who have run away from each new placement. Who is going to search for them? Who is going to publicize their disappearance? What about when teens seem to go willingly into that life? Do we really believe that’s a choice a child can make? Do we think it’s okay for them to suffer the very adult consequences of these decisions?

As someone who has worked in the foster care system for years, I have had my eyes opened as I’ve considered the situations of the parents of foster kids I know. It has been easier for me to see them as irresponsible at best or evil at worst when I know they have participated in sex for money or sex for drugs. If I were caught in that life, I would have so many resources for helping me break free, so much support for making good choices. It’s hard to imagine a life where this seems like a good option, but I am beginning to understand the pain that sits beneath the choices.What if I literally didn’t know how to get out or knew that trying to get out could risk my life or my freedom?

If all of this makes you angry and passionate to do something to prevent sex trafficking in your area, one important step we can take is to get involved in the lives of foster kids and their families. How do we tell a child her life has value? We step in and care for her when she needs it. We make sure she ALWAYS knows she has a safe place to come home to– even after she’s been reunified with her biological family, even if she runs away, even if she messes up, even if she gets involved with shady and unsafe people. How do we give a mother trapped in sex trafficking the courage to break free? We love her child well and let her know we believe she can do this, that she is not the label her pimp has put on her. We choose to be the safe temporary home for an infant while his mother gets sober, goes through a treatment program, and breaks her old ties. And we are willing to extend a hand of forgiveness when she messes up.

As a foster family, you are not part of the criminal justice system. We operate outside of it with freedoms other people aren’t given to express love, support, and to offer resources to the families of these children. We are allowed to comfort, praise, and invest in these kids in ways a caseworker or lawyer never can. We can help others see the kids involved in sex trafficking as people in need of love– real, true, sacrificial love. We can speak openly in our churches about the need for foster families and not let the shame of a sex trafficking past keep us from inviting women and children into our community.

Sex trafficking is not someone else’s problem. It’s not just “out there” it is right here. You have a role to play in pushing back against this evil. And your role just might include loving a foster child.

If you’d like more information on foster care in Nebraska, check out Christian Heritage.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Maralee Bradley

Maralee is a mom of six pretty incredible kids. Four were adopted (one internationally, three through foster care) and two were biological surprises. Prior to becoming parents, Maralee and her husband were houseparents at a children’s home and had the privilege of helping to raise 17 boys during their five year tenure. Maralee is passionate about caring for kids, foster parenting and adoption, making her family a fairly decent dinner every night, staying on top of the laundry, watching ridiculous documentaries and doing it all for God’s glory. Maralee can be heard on My Bridge Radio talking about motherhood and what won't fit in a 90 second radio segment ends up at www.amusingmaralee.com.

If You Give a Foster Family a Chicken Dinner

In: Foster Care, Kids
If You Give a Foster Family a Chicken Dinner www.herviewfromhome.com

If you give a foster family a chicken dinner, They might have extra time to spend with their foster child. When they have extra time to spend with their foster child, They’ll spend it taking a walk, looking at flowers. When they spend it on a walk looking at flowers, They learn more about each other because they aren’t feeling stressed by dinner prep. When they learn more about each other because they aren’t feeling stressed, They are able to work on forming a healthy attachment. If they’re able to work on forming a healthy attachment, They’re creating a foundation...

Keep Reading

Loving My Children’s Other Mother

In: Adoption, Foster Care, Kids
Loving My Children's Other Mother www.herviewfromhome.com

A few days have passed since the whole world shouted out how amazing their mothers are. I was not left behind. Beautiful cards and flowers decorate our home. However, it’s the sweet faces around my table that are the most beautiful part of my life. Our lives together have been hard-fought. We are a family built by unexpected pregnancy, foster care, adoption and choice. It never fails on days like these where celebrations and cheers ring out that I am aware my celebration is the sound of heartbreak to someone else. This particular Mother’s Day was different than most. I...

Keep Reading

When it’s Time to Stop Being a Foster Mom

In: Adoption, Foster Care, Kids, Motherhood
When it's Time to Stop Being a Foster Mom www.herviewfromhome.com

I’m still not okay with calling myself a “former foster mom.” It just doesn’t feel right. My heart is still so in the world of foster care as I support families in the trenches and continue to deal with post foster care issues with my kids. After five years in group home work and 7 years as foster parents, I can’t imagine a time when foster care won’t be on my heart and in my mind, but for this season we are not active foster parents.  This has been a weird loss of identity that I’ve struggled to put words...

Keep Reading

Dear Foster Parents: Please Remember The “Older Ones”

In: Foster Care, Kids

My husband and I have recently shared the news that we are in the process of becoming foster parents. I was as excited to celebrate this news with family and friends as I was to celebrate the pregnancies of our two babies. I have been overwhelmed by the love and support we have been shown. So many of our people have reached out to offer words of wisdom and kindness as we prepare for this beautiful and heartbreaking journey ahead of us. But I was upset by a comment I received the other day over the phone. “Just watch out...

Keep Reading

Siblings’ Plea to Be Adopted Together Has Gone Viral and They Live In YOUR Town

In: Adoption, Foster Care, Kids

Foster care and adoption are sort of my thing. I follow, approximately, every single foster care and adoption page on the internet. So when a foster or adoption story goes viral, I see it over and over again. Once it was the story of a foster mom who broke down when she found her foster son’s toothbrush. We all cried over that one. Another time it was the ten year old boy who pleaded with a church congregation for someone to, please, adopt him. “I’ll adopt you!” I cried, along with every other mother who watched. This week it was...

Keep Reading

I Can Be The Attention He Has Not Received: Our Foster Care Journey

In: Foster Care, Homeschool, Kids
I Can Be The Attention He Has Not Received: Our Foster Care Journey www.herviewfromhome.com

This two-year-old beats at my leg and I scoop him into my lap. He has spent the last ten minutes indiscriminately throwing objects within reach and screaming drooly screams and thrashing his body to slam cupboards or furniture or whatever will bring an appropriately satisfying crash. In short, we’ve been riding out a typical two-year-old meltdown. But he’s not a typical two-year-old. He’s a foster kid with zero calming strategies. There is no pulling him back from the ledge he has emotionally stepped off. There is only existing in this space together and being there to hold him once exhaustion...

Keep Reading

Ready To Be Done With These Multi-Colored Maps? There’s One More You Have To See.

In: Adoption, Foster Care, Kids, Motherhood
Ready To Be Done With These Multi-Colored Maps? There's One More You Have To See. www.herviewfromhome.com

My eyes have probably seen these multi-colored state maps a thousand times over the past week or so. I was fairly vocal on social media about this election, but even I finally got to the point where I. am. done. with it all. I even contemplated staying off of Facebook for a while, but, I mean, what kind of person do you think I am? I am of the opinion that, no matter who you voted for, we should all just share a collective vat of wine and never talk about parties and swing states and campaigns ever again. The...

Keep Reading

Today I Hate Foster Care

In: Adoption, Foster Care, Kids
Today I Hate Foster Care www.herviewfromhome.com

Can I be honest? Today I hate foster care. I hate what it has done to people I love– adults and children alike. I hate how hopeless it has made me about the government’s ability to do anything right. I hate how good people in the system get burned out by how impossible it seems to make any kind of positive change, but bad people (foster parents, caseworkers, lawyers, etc.) can do this for ages because they don’t really care. I hate that I encourage people into this hard work and then they get wounded and I feel in some...

Keep Reading

The Children in Our Hearts: A Foster Care Story

In: Faith, Foster Care, Kids, Motherhood
The Children in Our Hearts: A Foster Care Story www.herviewfromhome.com

My husband and I said we would never foster a child. We thought it was something we just weren’t called to do. It would be too hard. Have you ever noticed that right around the time you start adamantly declaring that you can’t and won’t do something, God steps in? He reminds you that you have simply forgotten that His power is made perfect in your weakness. We moved to Uganda right around Mother’s Day. A few hours away from our new town a baby girl, whose mother passed away, was born right around Mother’s Day. A few short weeks...

Keep Reading

The Harm of Viral Parent Shaming: Why I Won’t be Sharing that Photo

In: Foster Care, Kids
The Harm of Viral Parent Shaming: Why I Won't be Sharing that Photo

I saw the pictures today. The pictures of a girl who had her hair pulled by a man (presumably her dad) while they walked through Walmart. The explanation underneath told of a heated exchange between this man and the woman who took the photo and then it escalated to a conversation with police. It is clear that the woman who took the picture feels she was the only one to stand up for this girl and she wants these photos to go viral.  I disagree. (And for that reason, I am not providing a link to these pictures here) I...

Keep Reading