If you read my last post, then you may be a little peeved with me for leaving you hanging. Sorry about that. Well, not really. There’s just so much to say that I couldn’t imagine trying to fit it all into one readable post. Forgive me!
So, without further ado, here is our latest invitation: to take foster children into our home. It feels daunting because we also currently have three small biological children (two of them homeschooled), plus one more baby on the way, a youth pastor job, an accounting job, and a YoungLives job, plus worship team and small group and all of the things that come with being active in a small church.
But we are saying yes. We have known for a while that this was something
that we wanted to try “eventually” – and it finally became clear to us that if you don’t put “eventually” on the calendar, it never materializes.
If you know us personally, then you have known that we have been taking action steps towards this invitation for quite a while now. The home studies, the classes, the background checks… We have completed it all, we are licensed, and we are just waiting for the phone to ring with our first placement.
Before our first little friend enters our life, I need to tell myself (and you can listen in, if you want) why we have decided to do this so that I don’t forget when we’re in the middle of it. Because I am positive that there will be tears and heartache and questioning – just like there were the last few times we said yes to one of God’s invitations.
- James 1:27 sums it up pretty nicely: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” I don’t know if there is any better way to look after orphans and widows than to care for abused and neglected children and to support their parents as they attempt to get back into a healthy lifestyle. If this verse isn’t enough, James 1:22 offers this kicker: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”Oh. Right. How often do I say that I want to care for the poor or the homeless or the orphans without actually ever doing anything about it? We all lead busy lives. I am learning that unless I take a tangible step to build a value into my everyday life, I am all talk and no action. In this case, my husband and I felt like it was time to actually act on our convictions.
- There may not be any better time to take action. We thought about waiting until a “better” time. But then a friend who was in the process of adopting from China asked us, “Why would you wait until later if it’s on your hearts to do now?” Those may not have been her exact words, but they were the words that my heart heard and held onto. I know what would happen if we waited. No “better” time would ever present itself! Pretty soon we will be out of the baby stage of life, and ready to move on. Our kids will get more involved in sports and activities, and our lives will not get any less busy. The more we taste the freedom of having more independent children, the less we will want to go back to having dependent ones.
- I can’t do everything, but I can do something. Sometimes I wish I could single-handedly solve the refugee crisis, or provide clean water for everyone, or provide free daycare and well-paying jobs for all single moms. If only. But just because I can’t do it all doesn’t mean I should give up and do nothing! If there is something that is in my power to do, I want to do it. And this is in my power. We have an extra bed, an extra seat in our minivan, a fun backyard, toys, and caring/nurturing kids (most of the time). We have plenty of food, decent structure, and (relative) peace in our home. We have more than enough to care for one more child who needs a stable family to live with!
- There are close to the same number of foster children as churches in the United States. So… if just one family in every church in America took in a foster child, we could make sure that every foster kid had a family to live with. That is powerful!
- Foster care has been demystified for us by friends who have gone before us. We may never have had the confidence to try foster care had we not had friends who have adopted out of foster care, friends who currently have foster kids, and friends who work for DHS or group homes. When I was overwhelmed by what we were learning in our foster care classes about all of the needs and hurts of foster kids – the trauma, the loss, the confusion, the lack of belonging, the physical or mental disabilities, the behaviors, the attitudes, the grief… I just kept reminding myself of the beautiful kids I know who have been adopted or who have spent time in foster care. Yes, there are many, many hurts that they have to overcome.
But when you get to know someone as a person… or as a child… they are not so defined by their needs as by your love for them.
- Ultimately, the urgency of the invitation generally gets weaker – not stronger – as time goes by without taking action. Just like when I get a text and don’t respond right away… I gradually forget to respond at all. Sometimes I think about what my response would be – and sometimes I even assume that I actually responded, even though all I did was think about responding. I don’t want that to be me when it comes to responding to a divine invitation! We had to take action on this invitation before we lost our will to respond.
So. We are saying yes.
If you known us personally, then we would love your help and support! Here’s a quick infographic I found with some ideas for ways to help:
If nothing else, please pray for us!
And if you’ve stuck with me through all of this, then I just have to ask…
What is it that you are being invited into?