Since May is National Foster Care Awareness Month, I will be bringing you stories every week from the various perspectives of the foster care community—agency workers, foster parents, vulnerable adults, and children.
In today’s episode, I have the opportunity to talk with Dairius Kawewahi. Dairius entered foster care due to the abuse he and his brother suffered from their biological father. Although Dairius was unaware that the abuse he suffered wasn’t normal, the effects of his early childhood and time in five different foster homes would have a lasting impact on his life.
Just like Dairius’s middle name means, he is a young man with so much wisdom. I am grateful that he shared his story of overcoming impossible circumstances, learning to offer forgiveness, and to discovering how to release the grasp his past held on him. His life is now marked by hope and healing, and I know it will serve as an encouragement to you. Listen in!
(Applications are now open for YOU to become a TFI Advocate, bridging the gap between foster care agencies and churches right in your local community. This only happens twice a year! Learn more and apply here.)
TAKEAWAYS FROM TODAY’S CONVERSATION:
1. Transition and multiple placements take a toll.
There is so much uncertainty children are exposed to when their entire world falls apart. They don’t know if they are going to stay in the same home, same school, or how long they can even call this place home. This will naturally create uncertainty and fear. We need to support children experiencing foster care with as much empathy, care, and understanding as possible. The help of a therapist or professional is also valuable to help them process what they are going through at an age-appropriate level.
“There are just all these questions that are racing through my head. This shouldn’t happen. I was in the third grade. I should have been worried about school or when I was going to the park. Whatever normal kids deal with on a normal basis, I don’t think I experienced that growing up.”
2. You are here for a reason.
There are times when everything in life feels like it’s in shambles. There is so much hurt and pain in the world. But there is also hope. The reality of hope doesn’t mean that all of our pain disappears in a magical puff of smoke, but is a reality that you are here for a reason, your life holds meaning, and God has a purpose for your life.
“It was the first time in my life when I could feel what normal could be for me.”
3. Forgiveness is the key.
Without forgiveness, we can’t move on from the hurts of our past. If you have a story like Dairius that is full of pain and abuse, it can be valuable to enlist the help of a skilled counselor or therapist. And remember: This forgiveness toward the person that wronged you does not necessarily mean you have to have a conversation with that person. Like Dairius shared, it may be more of a symbolic gesture that allows you to move on from the pain and have hope for the future. The forgiveness is for your heart; not necessarily for the relationship with the person who wronged you.
“The forgiveness allowed me to move on in my life and be able to look at the next chapter of what lay ahead.”
Today’s episode is sponsored by Samaritan Ministries, a community of Christians paying one another’s medical bills. It’s not insurance and there are no networks, which puts you in charge of your health care. It’s Biblical, affordable, and you can join anytime of the year.
Meet Our Guest
Dairius Kawewehi is a former foster youth, Naval Officer, and commercial real estate investor. He was born and raised in Oahu, Hawaii. Dairius entered foster care at the age of four due to the abuse he suffered from his birth father. He lived in five foster homes before he was adopted at the age of 13. Today, Dairius is a passionate advocate for those who have similar experiences to his own. Dairius and his wife, Nia, live in Washington, DC, and share a love of food.
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