I’m going to tell you a secret. Are you ready? Here it is: I’m nothing special. I don’t eat kale or quinoa, my floors are sandy, my kitchen is sticky and sometimes I drop my bundle over spilt milk. Why tell you this? Because I also foster.
Often when I tell people that I foster, especially that I’ve cared for nearly 100 children, the response I get is: “it takes someone special to foster”. I disagree.
My husband and I started thinking about fostering when we were engaged. His sister was in the process of adopting and we thought it was wonderful that the child was not just being adopted into their human family but also into God’s family because they are followers of Jesus. We thought ‘we will do something like that one day’.
One day came about five years later, we were married with small children and we were ready to change the world. We wanted to show God’s love to children who may not have felt much love in the past. Were we idealistic? Of course. Did we know what we were getting into? Not a clue.
After a year of interviews and assessments we were approved and handed our first foster child. A caseworker came to my door, handed me a precious baby, crafted in God’s own image, and was gone. I cried a lot that first month. I cried about the brokenness of a world that leaves a baby in the arms of a stranger, I cried for the unique intrinsic value of this little soul and I cried that I couldn’t fix things for her.
And then I got over myself.
God is in control. 'The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it’. This little one was not on her own. She belonged to God (and so do you), she was precious to God (as are you) and Gods will would be done with or without my help or interference. This realisation was very freeing. It allowed me to love each child who came into my care deeply without owning the abuse they had suffered or the outcome of their case.
I remember one older child in particular who came to stay while our kids’ mission week was on at church. In the mornings he went to the kids’ program and in the afternoons he would beg my older children to read the Big Picture Bible to him. He was desperate to find out more about this Jesus character. Soon it was time for him to move on and I worried that no one would read the Bible we had given him. But God reminded me again that these little ones belong to Him when his new family turned out to be followers of Jesus too. Not all placements work out so well, but God is always in control and has the authority to carry out his perfect plan for their lives. I can trust that and carry on.
Are you nothing special too? If so, then let me encourage you to consider with your family whether there is a spare bed and piece of your heart that you could give to a child who needs to know God’s love for them and be adopted into God’s eternal family.