When the phone rings at Palmetto Place, there is a good chance that it's a placement call, a DSS caseworker from Columbia or somewhere around the state trying to find a place for a child who has been abused or neglected. I dread those calls because, so often, we are full. I dread having to say, "No, I'm sorry, we can't take this child." I know that caseworker is calling every children's home and children's emergency shelter around the state, desperate for an available bed for a child in need. This week has been one with many of those calls. Five kids from one county 2 hours away. Five more kids from another county an hour away. Two teenagers, one pregnant and one with a baby, from 2 hours away. Four from right here in the Midlands and three homeless teenagers here in Columbia. Add it up. That's 19 in one week. 19 kids who needed Palmetto Place.
We were able to take four. Just four out of 19. It is heartbreaking. It weighs heavily on the hearts and souls of our houseparents. It requires an immense amount of trust, prayer and faith.
Sometimes the calls come in at the same time and our team has to come together and decide which kids to take in - which kids we can help the most; which kids will fit in at Palmetto Place and be able to thrive and be loved. That was yesterday. We chose to take two kids from this area so that they could be close to their family and so that siblings could stay together and not be in different children's homes.
I pray we made the right decision. I pray for the other kids for whom we didn't have room.
The two new kids who arrived earlier this week have settled in to life at Palmetto Place - a home full of brothers and sisters! They seem happy. There are smiles and hugs. One little girl is not quite up to hugging yet but she's definitely up for having her hair brushed. I think today just might be the day we warm up to a hug.
Our new kids are about to experience a Palmetto Place weekend - visits from our F3 friends and our friends from Junior Woman's Club of Columbia, a trip to see a play, a new mentor and much more. Everyone will be safe, protected and loved this weekend and all of our kids will get to be kids! It's just another weekend at Palmetto Place, doing what we do best. Thanks to everyone who is a part of this Palmetto Place family!
~From Erin Hall, Executive Director