A little girl whose name means "Hope" recently touched our lives. After a year of ups and downs, my husband and I completed the process to become foster parents. Just last month we agreed to our first short-term shelter care placement. This basically means we baby-sat a beautiful little girl for two weeks while the state looked for a member of her extended family to care for her during a time of crisis, a kinship placement.

I have worked in politics and with bureaucracies for about 15 years. Through a variety of experiences, I have seen many of us "last of the boomers" grow cynical. That fact was abundantly clear in the choice between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Many of my most respected friends supported Clinton because "they were cynical." They did not believe hope could bring about change.

I respected these opinions and thought about them. I often wondered why, with all my cynicism, I continued to support the candidate who brings hope to so many, including me. I do not believe hope will fix the problems of the country or the world, but I hold hope that Obama brings something different to the table. Yesterday I could not articulate what that was. Today I can.

After two-plus weeks, we became attached to the little girl whose name means "Hope." The afternoon before she was taken to her kinship placement, we went to the park to play in the sprinklers. She smiled and laughed and giggled.

As I started to talk about leaving the park, I looked down into the beautiful eyes of "Hope" and simultaneously saw a huge smile, heard the word "more" and saw the sign language sign for more — a first. It was a skill we had been working on. With pride we once again ran through the sprinklers. The next thing I knew, I was given a big hug and a kiss. In that moment there was nothing but hope — hope for her future, hope for me, hope for our country and hope for our world.

I wondered who was helping whom?

I guess I am a sucker for hope. This is not to say I am not cynical — it is just to say that I treasure the moments when cynicism leaves my mind and hope creeps into my heart. In these moments I gain the strength to be a better person.

I hope that even the greatest cynics among us can find their moments of hope. Perhaps it is these moments that Obama is giving to so many of us. It does not really matter if he changes the politics of our country. By offering moments of hope, he strengthens "We the people," which, in turn, will strengthen and soften our country.


Liz McCoy lives in Salt Lake City.