Often people will ask me when I knew I wanted to be a foster parent. They are usually quite surprised when I respond with…never! In fact, if you had asked me 10 years ago if I could/would ever be a foster parent I would have told you, “NO WAY!” I would get too attached. Adoption was our plan, but foster care was out of the question. God had other plans for our family.
Foster care was supposed to be a way for us to adopt a baby or help a child start a new life. Little did we know that we were the ones who would be starting a new life. We had no idea how much we would learn about compassion and respect for the birth family. Or how much these families love their children and are simply doing the best they know how.
Sure, there are the extreme cases that you hear about on the news of parents locking kids up without food, or extreme physical abuse. What we have found are parents who are caught in a cycle of addiction and can’t get out. Parents who are young and never taught how to parent and left with no support system when they are exhausted…doing the best they can. These families need our help. They don’t need us to swoop in and “rescue” their child, or judge them for how they have parented. They need us to love their child in a way they couldn’t, until they can.
We’ve been licensed foster parents for the past 8 1/2 years. What initially started as a process to adopt children has turned into a ministry and a calling to care for orphans. We have had God confirm for us over and over again that this is what He has called us to do. Over the past 3 years we have had 8 foster kids and numerous kids we have done respite for. Each of these kids has a unique set of circumstances that has brought him or her into care. One set of siblings stayed with us for only 13 days while our current kiddos have been with us 14 months.
Have I gotten attached? Of course!! They are innocent children who have been removed from all they know and love. But no matter the abuse or neglect they have suffered…they still love their family. We have learned to rejoice when families are able to be reunited! That means that the system, as flawed as it may be, has worked for those families. We are not naive to the fact that many kids are sent back to a family that is not a good situation, but we know that our God is bigger than those situations. We pray for those kids, we fight for those kids, and we let those kids go, trusting that God loves them more than we do and He has a plan.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. – Romans 8:28 (NLT)
Have you thought about becoming a foster parent? What’s stopping you?
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.