There was a popular TV sitcom which ran from 1982 – 1993 entitled “Cheers”. For those of you who don’t remember (or are too young to remember) the show was set in a bar in Boston, Massachusetts. The show was built around the lives of the regular patrons of the bar and those who worked there: Sam – owner/bartender, Diane – waitress, Woody – bartender, and Carla – waitress. A regular of the bar was the semi-unemployed Norm Peterson. He frequented the bar so much that when he entered the room he was greeted by everyone with a chorus of “Norm”. The theme song of the show states, “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came.” The point of the song and Norm’s welcome was obvious to all… Everyone wants to feel like they belong. We all have the need to belong to a group, a community, a family. We want to be known, understood and heard. It is a basic human need. We long to be accepted. Last night, as my kids and I walked into our local gym for an evening swim, my son asked me if the guy working the front desk knew my name. I answered that he probably knew my name because once I slide my card my information pops up on the computer screen in front of him. “No, Mom. Does everyone here just know your name because they recognize you?” Sadly, they do not. This is not an insult to my gym or the local management of this fine facility, which takes my money on a monthly basis. The sad reality is I do not frequent this establishment enough for anyone to know my name. I am not a regular. I probably will never enter the building and receive a rousing chorus of “Carrie”. Nope! Not likely to happen. We may never frequent a place enough to be remembered at first glance, other than where we work perhaps. I hope I never frequent Wal-Mart enough to have the greeter know my name. Even though I feel like I’m there all the time. Yet, the truth is evident. We want to be accepted and loved by others. We want to be known and we do want others to know our name. The family was created and designed for just this purpose. We were all born into a group, which was formed to care for the needs of each other. It was to be the first place where we would be safe, understood, heard and fully known. Sadly, this is not always the experience. Many children are removed from their families for their own safety. Their family of origin is not a safe place. Foster care is the next step for these children, but it should not be the final step. Foster care should be the temporary safe haven provided for children in need until they can be either reunited with their family or placed in a new family. Either way the result should be the same. All children deserve to be in a family where they are safe, known and loved.