Thursday, October 9, 2008

an eye-opener for me

Margaret Iuculano's new book, My God Box, is both a dark, distressing story about her childhood, much of it spent in foster care, and a glowing story of hope, the hope that is found in a loving God. Once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down until I had finished the book.

Reading this was heartbreaking. I have a very soft heart anyway, but the statistics Margaret quotes in her interview below are staggering. Five hundred thousand kids--that's half a million, people--are currently in foster care. I can't fathom it. Do you think our throwaway mentality in our society is an influence here?

How can this be? Who speaks for the children? What kind of a life do the children have if the foster parents are mainly doing it for the money? When I read My God Box, I realized that sometimes no one is there to stand up for the children. They are powerless, vulnerable, and end up bearing the brunt of the consequences for choices they had nothing to do with.

I was fortunate enough to get Margaret's perspective on this, and her thoughts are below. She was kind enough to answer some questions about herself, and about foster care in general. The best part of the book is the part behind the scenes, where I could see God orchestrating her life and carrying her through the tough times in her life. Thank you, Margaret, for being willing to share your story.


A special opening message from Margaret Iuculano:

I want to thank our Blog Host for taking the time to read My God Box a memoir about an abusive childhood but more importantly on how a mustard seed of faith in God turned around the life of a child. I feel blessed that you are willing to share the book on the Blog Tour Name. You are helping to create awareness about a topic that desperately needs to be addressed and has reached epidemic proportions - 500,000 children in the Foster Care System within the US.

Our country is in a crisis with an overloaded Foster Care System and children falling through the cracks daily and being put into homes to provide safety only to be left neglected again. How can we expect these children to become productive adults growing up in this environment? How can we teach these children how to have faith in God and then themselves to correct the wrongs being committed in their lives? How can we help Foster Parents to recognize the difference they can make in a life of a child and the importance of their role? And most importantly, how can we teach to break the Cycle of Abuse so we can shrink the numbers of children going into foster care in the future?

There's a truth I came to realize that changed my life and can change the lives of others. Have Faith in God - put your troubles into his hands and allow him to use you for the purpose you were born for. Once I started to follow this truth in my life I came out of despair to complete happiness and peace. I recognized my ability to help others and the importance of viewing each other as Gods children, people who possess a lot of value and have a mission just like I do for God.

When I began to see that God had a mission for my life, I started to embrace my challenges and learn from them without looking back. I was able to rid myself of the victim mentality and succeed where I was told I never would.

My prayer is that you see the message in My God Box and that it will inspire you to learn to overcome a traumatic experience and more importantly help someone else. I pray that you will agree that all it takes is a mustard seed of faith to realize your God Given potential.

God Bless You,
Margaret Iuculano


Here are some of the questions Margaret answered for me:

How many kids in the U.S. are in foster care?

On any given day the statistics show over 500,000 children in the US in the foster care system. The number has reached an epidemic level which has burdened a system not built or equipped to handle the issues facing these children.

How long do they stay in foster care (on average)?

2.5 years is the average across the US - the federal government has asked the individual states to try and reach a permanency solution for these children within 9 months but unfortunately the system is not equipped to meet this goal.

Do they live with the same foster parents the entire time?

If they are lucky! I personally experienced over 15 different living environments and see the same movement between homes and shelters happening today.

You grew up in foster care - what was your experience like?

My experience was most of the foster parents were not equipped to handle a troubled child who needed help. I was in poverty struck homes as well as abusive homes within the foster care system and these are the homes I advocate against. Children removed from their abusive home environments should not be put into a system that is not providing them a better environment than the home they were removed from.

There are many wonderful foster parents who want to help children. But there are people who take in foster kids for the money - how can that be changed?

Not all but too many foster parents see their role as a job not wanting to get too attached to the child as it is a temporary situation thus making the child feel like a 2nd class citizen. The daily stipend a foster parent receives is not a lot of money but if you take in a few children it can be more than a welfare check.

What compelled you to write My God Box?

I feel I was blessed to have found God amid all the pain and misery I endured during my growing years. However, I also feel it’s time to give thanks and give back. I struggled for over two years with doubts and mixed feelings about setting my life in print, but whenever I took a step back, I was energized and encouraged by the awe-inspiring certainty that God wanted me to tell my story—for self-healing, but more importantly to open the minds and hearts of other suffering individuals to the mercy and goodness of God. God is hope. Without God there is no hope. Without hope there is no life.

What are some of the stark realities surrounding Foster Care Programs?

The truth is that children are not ‘OK’ just because they have been removed from an abusive home and entrusted to a foster family. Although there are kind, nurturing people enrolled as foster parents, on the flip side there are individuals interested only in the monetary aspects of the program; individuals often just as, if not more dysfunctional, emotionally unstable and abusive than the child’s biological parents. This is one of the reasons why I wrote My God Box—to bring awareness to the plight of foster children—and to hopefully fix the shattered parts of a system in desperate need of repair.

Thank you for allowing me to share my book and God’s mission for my life with you. If you would like to learn more about me and my mission please visit - http://www.margaretlano.com/ and http://www.angelsforfosterkids.org/ and know that 100% of the book proceeds goes to Angels for Foster Children. Please feel free to contact me at anytime.

6 comments:

Faith said...

It is amazing how God can turn your life around isn't it! He can take our ashes and give us beauty ( I just watched Joyce Meyer this morning and she talked about that). That is awesome she is giving the money away that she makes from the book.

Sometimes I start thinking about all the suffering and abused children out there and its just overwhelming to me. I have to ask, Why God, why?? They are children. But I realize then that there is sin in the world and it will never be perfect. God gave us free will. He could stop all abuse if he wanted to, but then he'd have to take away free will. You can't have love unless you have free will. And he doesn't want us to be puppets. It just breaks my heart to see children suffer though.

jenny's mama said...

Parenting is a huge challenge, and to do it right takes commitment and sacrifice. How sad for the little kids who get foster parents who will not allow themselves to get attached, and who are just doing it for the money.

karen said...

Daisy, you are knocking it out of the ballpark with these great posts. This subject is of course near and dear to me in my situation. I'll come back to read this post more carefully and intend to read the book you are recommending here. Thank you!

Smilingsal said...

Good job, Daisy!

Margaret Iuculano said...

Thank you so much for posting my book on your blog Daisy! It is so appreciated your willingness to help create awareness about foster cared in America.

God Bless You -

Margaret

katemcdonald said...

thanks for sharing this! I will have to pick it up...my parents have taken in over 50 foster kids since I was 5... this is a topic I wuld love to read about!