Foster Care and the Gospel

The biggest thing I hear when others hear that I am a foster parent is “I couldn’t do it” or “how do you do that, it must be so hard.”

My answer. Jesus. 

To me, foster care and the gospel are very closely intertwined.
Jesus is why I do it, how I can do it and the way I get through it.
Yes, I said, get through it. Nothing about foster care is easy, except loving the kids and even then that can sometimes be hard.
You are tied down. You are in a role not many understand. You live day by day, never knowing when the next drop on the roller coaster will happen. You fight a broken system, trying to advocate for the children in your care but your opinion doesn’t really matter all that much.

You love a child like your own but you have no control over their future.
You have people constantly coming through your home, judging every parenting decision and judging you as a person.
Complete strangers know the most intimate details of my life, my faults, my struggles, my passions, my hobbies, my past, my future. They judged me on all that and wrote a very detailed report about me. Determining if I was qualified to be a good mom.
I parent children and love them in every way but cannot make ANY decision for them…not even a haircut.
I am isolated because if you don’t foster you just don’t get it. I am not allowed to talk about it with family or friends. I have to hide my kid’s faces on social media and have to always hold myself and my world together because theirs are falling apart.
So I can understand when people say “I couldn’t do what you do”. To be honest some days I don’t think I can keep doing it. I feel like I am always failing someone because foster care consumes me. My husband, my biological kids, my foster kids.
I internalize all the emotions of our foster kids and their families. Their struggles, burdens and hardships sit like a heavy lump in my stomach.
I cannot unsee the things I have seen and I cannot unhear the things I have heard.
Domestic abuse, babies with broken limbs and bruises, children so filthy the scent of them burns my nose. Stories of children locked in closets and left alone for hours and even days, fending for themselves, no one answering their cries.
Extreme abuse and neglect I have to fight my mind not to focus on.
Adults so caught up in addictions and mental health issues that they just can’t…or don’t want to…or don’t try to, get help.

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We live in a broken world.

Our next generation is being more and more affected by it. Our future slips away.
So you know how I do what I do? How I foster parent?
I look into these children’s fearful, intense, broken, sad eyes. Eyes that tell horrible stories of things that no child should have to see or experience.

Eyes full of Trauma.

Adults decisions which have forever changed them.
They will never be complete again.
I look at them and I drop to my knees. These are God’s children. They are loved and cherished even if it’s not by the people who should love and cherish them the most.
I simply cannot turn away. I cannot just live a comfortable life and close my eyes to the issues of these innocent children.
Foster parenting has been the most meaningful thing I have done with my life. It brings me to the feet of my saviour every single day. I can do it because I’ve got the Lord on my side. He loves these children and wants those that can help to help.
Foster care is our ministry. I am thankful for every child I have been able to pray over, bring to church and teach them about God’s love.
I fail as a foster mom over and over. I lose my patience when dealing with trauma behaviours.
Sometimes I want to scream at the judges and social workers and everyone else who sees my children as just another name on a piece of paper.

I feel trapped in a system I cannot change. I want to yell at some of the bio parents I deal with. I neglect my marriage for the sake of foster care.
My anger and short temper rise up when I am having a difficult day.
I am wrecked for days every time a child leaves.
Foster parenting gives me every emotion. I cry and cry. I need Jesus in every part of my life but especially as a foster parent.
The Lord is using foster parenting to refine me. And I need refining.
I pray daily for God to continue refining me, bring me beyond myself and make it about them. These beautiful children.

I foster because I believe the gospel.

James 1:27 CEV  –  Religion that pleases God the Father must be pure and spotless. You must help needy orphans and widows and not let this world make you evil.