The unknowns of foster care
The unknowns of foster care are one of the biggest hurdles that prevent people from becoming foster parents. The other is the fear of getting “too attached” and having to say goodbye. I will save the latter for another post.
When we started the foster parenting process, we knew one thing.
God had called us to adopt and there was a child or children out there that would need a forever home. We knew foster care was the right choice for us because we wanted to adopt to give our family to a child in need, not only to grow our family. We wanted to minimize the moves and trauma on a child in care and when we were saying yes to foster care, we were also saying yes to a potential forever.
So how to say yes to the unknowns of foster care and adoption? Just do it. Educate and gain support but this yes will probably be the most beautiful yes of your life.
We said yes
We said yes, to all the unknowns that foster parenting entailed.
As we are finishing up the last bit of our adoption process, we didn’t know when we said yes, it would be 4 and a half years and 9 kids in our home.
We didn’t know we would fall in love with being foster parents and supporting birth families in getting their child back home.
We were certainly naive to the problems in the foster care system, how isolating it would be and how many mistakes we would make as foster parents (mainly me, Greg is pretty dang awesome.)
We didn’t know how it would challenge our marriage, grow us in spiritual maturity and just how many dang tears would fall from these eyes.
We didn’t know how wonderfully it would affect our daughters. We were so worried about the negative impacts that we didn’t fathom the compassion, intelligence, open arms and empathy it would foster in our children.
I certainly didn’t think I would be blogging, and sharing our story to encourage, and equip new foster parents and to try and normalize this whole foster parenting thing.
Nor did I think I would become someone who wanted to recruit more foster parents.
These precious children just need more people in their corner to love and support them in an incredibly difficult part of their life journey.
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I didn’t know how it would bring out the worst and the best in me all at once.
Despite all the hard, and the uncertainty. The tears and the joy, I still tell everyone I meet that becoming a foster parent has been the best thing I have ever done with my life. Sharing with everyone who has told me they have foster care laid on their hearts to do it, jump in with both feet.
If God had shared the unknowns in the beginning I don’t know if I would have said yes
I love how God pulls us in and gives us just enough information at a certain time. Then how the Holy Spirit convicts us to say yes.
If we knew everything that might happen I think it would certainly have many of us being disobedient to God’s will.
I mean I can only speak for myself but if I knew the emotional roller coaster, the chaos, the hurt that was heading our way I think I would have tried to run far, far away from it.
Knowing these things would have blinded me from the pure joy that was mixed into all that chaos. A little girl we call Rosie, who completes our family in a way we didn’t even know we were missing. If I had known I could have missed this.
I could have missed a smile that makes my heart swell, a little run that never ceases to bring a smile to my lips, tiny hands that cling around my neck and little lips that leave sweet kisses on my cheeks.
I will forever have a broken heart for orphaned and vulnerable children and I pray God continues to break my heart for these kids. I pray I never turn my back, now that my eyes have been opened.
And If you too have a broken heart for these kids and are considering this whole foster care thing, I urge you not to focus on the unknowns. Instead focus on what you do know.
James 1:27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Psalm 82:3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
The Bible is very clear that we are to care for the orphans and vulnerable in this life. To share our resources. It is clear that the fatherless deserve justice and He redeems that injustice through His mighty love.
Deuteronomy 10:18 He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.
He has commanded us to help.
So whether you adopt, foster, support those who do, mentor a child, volunteer or give financially to orphan care causes. Just say yes to the unknown.
Not everyone is called to be on the front lines but we are all called to support these kids.
I believe God is so pleased when we step up to something that is near and dear to His heart. When we are willing. When we choose right over comfort. When we say “I don’t know and I can’t control, but I can be faithful to what God has called me to do.” When we are obedient. Like Abraham, like Noah, like Mary, like Paul, like Jesus.
My prayer for you dear reader is that you learn a little more about how you can help and you feel that call to get involved. There are 153 million children worldwide waiting for your help. 443 000 kids in foster care in the United States. In my province of Ontario, Canada there are over 12 000 kids in care in any given month. These aren’t just numbers and statistics. They are children.