Shifting and squirming in his chair, Frankie whispered to Clarissa, “These chairs are hard. I’m bored.”
Sister Peterson, the Primary teacher, asked, “What did you say, Frankie?”
“Oh, nothing,” Frankie answered. He continued squirming.
Sister Peterson smiled. “It’s almost time to go home.”
“Home,” Frankie thought. He had been in so many homes he had to stop to remember which one he was in now.
After the closing prayer, Frankie sprang from his chair and raced into the hallway. As he skidded around the corner, he ran right into Mr. Adams—or “Dad,” as he was trying to remember to call him.
“Hi, Frankie, I was looking for you. Let’s go home.”
There was that word again—home. Frankie climbed onto the back seat of the van. Most of the foster families he had lived with drove vans. If he sat in the back, everyone usually forgot he was there. Then no one asked him questions. Questions made him nervous because he didn’t always know the answers. Then he felt—well, slow. The kids in the other places he had lived had made fun of him and called him names. Even the adults usually got annoyed when he didn’t understand everything right away. So Frankie chose the back row. It was safer that way. The problem was, it wasn’t working with this family.
“How was Primary, Frankie?” Mrs. Adams asked.
Frankie thought hard. He wanted to be honest. “Well,” he said slowly, “I tried to listen, but it was really hard.” He felt his whole body tense up. He was afraid that Mrs. Adams was going to be upset with him for not understanding. What she said surprised him. “What did the teachers say? Maybe we can help you understand.” She sounded very gentle, like she really wanted to help.
She listened patiently as Frankie tried to tell her what he heard in Primary. “Well, it was about God being my father, or something like that,” Frankie mumbled. The idea sounded strange to him. He thought for sure it would sound silly to Mrs. Adams. (“Mom,” he silently reminded himself.) He figured the other kids would tease him for giving the wrong answer, but they didn’t.
“That’s what Sister Robbins said in sharing time,” Taylor said. “She talked about how we’re all children of God, and about how He loves us—just like you do, Dad—and how that should help us to be good and to choose the right. Then we sang ‘I Am a Child of God.’”
Ashley waved her hands in the air and said, “That’s my favorite song!”
Frankie listened closely. They had heard the same thing he did, but they seemed to understand it. And he could tell by their faces that they believed it. Mom must have seen the confusion in his eyes because she said, “Frankie, we’ll talk more later about what it means to be a child of God.”
After dinner, the kids all plopped down on the big rug in front of the couch. Reaching for his scriptures, Dad said, “Let’s talk about what it means to be a child of God. Here is a scripture that might help. It’s in 1 Nephi 17:36, and it says, ‘Behold, the Lord hath created the earth that it should be inhabited; and he hath created his children that they should possess it.’” Dad paused. “What do you think that means?”
Ashley’s hand flew up. “It means that Heavenly Father is the Father of our spirits. He made this beautiful earth for us and sent us here to grow.” She nodded her head, as if agreeing with herself.
“That’s right,” Mom said. “Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to come back to Him, because we belong to Him.”
“Even me?” Frankie asked timidly. “Do I belong to Him?”
“Absolutely, Frankie. He loves you and wants you to come back,” Dad said. “He wants you to come back so much that He will help you in any way He can. One way He has already helped you was by sending you to us, so we can teach you about Him. If you will pray and ask Him, He will bless you and help you.”
Later that night as Frankie snuggled under the covers, he thought, “I have a Father in Heaven.” In all the foster homes he had been in, no one had ever told him about Heavenly Father. It felt good to know that there was someone in heaven he belonged to, someone he could always talk to. He had never felt like he belonged anywhere—until now. In his heart Frankie knew that Mr. and Mrs. Adams—Mom and Dad—loved him.
“Maybe that is why I am in this home,” he thought. “Maybe God wanted me here.” For the first time Frankie slid to his knees and started to pray. It felt funny at first, but he felt like it was the right thing to do. “If He is my Father, I bet He would like to hear from me. I bet He’s missed me,” he thought as he bowed his head.
“Never forget, my dear young friends, that you really are a child of God who has inherited something of His divine nature, one whom He loves and desires to help and bless.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley, “You Are a Child of God,” Friend, May 2003, 6.