My name is Crystal Williams, and I am a former foster youth.
I aged out of the foster care system at the age of 18, and I was so blessed to be able to be in a family that decided to adopt me when I turned 25 years old. Most people don’t even know that’s possible or even understand why that would be a thing, but my foster parents adopted me at the age of 25.
My sisters and I came into foster care after a tragedy—the passing of my baby brother. And from that point on, we started to realize that there were so many points of potential intervention. Points where people could have sown seeds in our lives to prevent us from coming to a place where we even needed to be in the foster care system.
Points of Intervention
I thought about how even before I came into this world, my family had experienced so much trauma. There are systems designed to support the hundreds of thousands of families that need additional support. But, unfortunately, these systems are not perfect. Eventually, my siblings and I ended up in Georgia’s foster care system.
I thought about my grandmother who was a blind woman having to raise four children on her own. What if someone had sown a seed at that point in her life to keep her in a place where she could take care of her children?
Or I thought about my mother who experienced the death of two of her children. So to find some sort of comfort or solace, she turned to alcohol in an attempt to cope with mental health challenges. I thought, what if someone had sown a seed of support and encouragement to invest in her so that she could be free to care for her children the way she wanted to?
And I also considered how even after traveling from Memphis, Tennessee to Atlanta, Georgia, my mother tried to start a new life for us. In that situation, we had no support system. And I thought, what if someone had sown a seed and invested in her then to allow her to be able to take care of her children?
There were so many points of possible intervention, and they all caused me to think—what if someone had sown a seed in our lives at that point? What changes would have happened? What things would have been different?
Now have a family and a life with individuals who love and care for me. And even though my biological parents have both passed away, I am blessed to have so many people who have been in my life.
They’ve sown seeds and shown me the grace of God and how important it is to give back.
They have put me in a position where I can now sow seeds in the lives of young people who are currently in the foster care system here in the U.S.
The Potential of One Seed
You see, sometimes we take our seeds and eat them because we’re too scared to plant them—to grant them permission to grow.
It’s like we’re holding our seed but then running around looking for trees, not understanding that all trees already exist inside of one small seed.
In our hands, the seed is small. But when we place all that we have in the hands of a big God, we can start movements. Don’t believe me?
Ask Goliath what God can do with five small stones alone in the hands of a small teenage shepherd.
Or ask 1,000 Philistines what God can do with a small jaw bone in the hands of one man.
Or maybe, ask Gideon what God can do with an army of 300.
Ask the little boy with 2 fish and 5 loaves what God can do in the midst of a need.
Nothing is too small for God.
And so, what seeds do you currently hold? What seeds do you have that you could sow into someone’s lives to absolutely change the trajectory of where they’re going? I ask you to take that seed, plant that seed, don’t eat that seed. And watch God do amazing things.
Crystal Williams is a national speaker, author, foster care advocate, and foster care alumna. She uses the arts to promote individual and community change. Crystal graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in English/Creative Writing/Theater Studies and received her MBA from Georgia State University with a focus in organizational management.
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