We tried to stop fostering. After adopting Joshua and Jeremiah, we moved from Washington State all the way to North Carolina. They were both toddlers. NC said we had to live here a year before being allowed to take classes to do foster care. While waiting, we were asked to host a Chinese student coming to go to school here. I thought, “Oh boy! We could host her all three years she’s here and then look into foster care again. Isn’t God good for showing us He wants us to focus on our family! He wants us to have a nice, long break from the hard work of fostering.” LOL! I’m so silly sometimes. Our exchange student told us she is transferring schools and won’t be coming back in January. That also happens to be the month we will have lived in North Carolina a year. Coincidence? Yeah, I don’t believe in those.
I’m scared. Maybe dreading it? Also, I’m so excited and can’t wait to get moving. I guess that’s called an oxymoron. Dreaded anticipation. Excited fear. Energized weakness. The list goes on. I know that there are hurting kids out there who are going to be placed with our family and they are going to experience the most amazing love they could imagine. They are going to see how a family that loves Jesus Christ operates. They are going to learn that siblings aren’t for fighting with-they are the best friends you could ever ask for. Most of all, they are going to leave our home having heard and seen, Lord willing, the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ. They will have sat in children’s church and learned of a Creator and sang songs of worship to Him. They will have sat in our living room for family devotions and heard HIS STORY…from the very beginning to the anticipated return of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I am hardly able to sit still as I type this! I want to start now, Lord!
Please don’t take my excitement for pure joy. Anyone who has been my friend or even an acquaintance can tell you how extremely difficult doing foster care is for me. I cry almost daily…sometimes because of the parenting, often because of dealing with difficult biological family members and the system that placed them with us. However, those difficulties are my cross, something I gladly bear for the sake of a Savior who loved me and gave himself for me.
I have heard many times believers say they could never do foster care-that it would be too hard to say goodbye. If you’re someone who has said this-please don’t feel judged by what I’m about to say. Many people say it and I know they don’t mean any harm by it. Allow let me take this opportunity to help you see how that comes across to someone who is doing foster care. We know that the only way we are able to do foster care is by the grace of God. We know that the only way we are able to say goodbye to a child and send them back to their families is because we have to. The state literally tells you they are leaving, and so you pack their things and bring them to the office. We are not stronger than you, we are not closer to God than you, we are not better people than you. We are broken, hurting and wretched. We cry every night after they leave and the ache in our chests feels like it’s going to explode. It is like grieving a child who died, only they aren’t dead. They aren’t safe with Jesus. They are back in the place where you have no control and there’s a completely different set of standards being used for their care.
When you say that you could never do this because it’s too hard, it almost feels like an insult. Do you think so little of our God that you think it’s all about you and your feelings? Is living a life for Christ about our comfort and joy, or about reaching out to those in desperate need and showing them there is hope in Jesus Christ? Don’t think for a moment that it’s easy for us to say goodbye. That we’ve tapped into some super strength we were given by God to do this job. We are doing this out of our weakness and then trusting in a MIGHTY GOD for completion of His work. When we say goodbye and grieve for days, weeks, months…it’s so that He will get the glory.
So yes, my friends, foster care IS hard. But we serve a GOOD God who is able to complete the good work He started in those little ones’ hearts and minds. Don’t say you never could…because we serve a God who hears that as an invitation to do mighty works through you!
2 Corinthians 12:9(NLT) says: Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.