There was a very special grace needed when we took the first steps to be foster parents. Nearly two and a half years later, knowing what we know now about the system, we’re in great need of grace again as we take a step back from that role and consider other ways we can help the families connected to foster care. This redirection of our plans has come as a surprise to us, but we are trusting that God has interrupted the plans for a good reason. We trust, but our feelings are peppered with sadness too. I had no idea it would be as hard and require as much faith to leave this role as it was to first step into it.
It’s hard to be a foster parent, but it’s a hard we wanted.
I think of my friend Heather who adopted a sibling group of three this summer. Being in that courtroom when the judge officially placed these children into their forever family brought such a deep joy. Adoptions are my favorite kind of worship service. This one was particularly meaningful to me.
As congratulatory embraces ensued, person after person told my friend, “These kids are so blessed.” I have to say I cringed a little. Not because it’s not true. Clearly, God loves these kids enormously and saw their loneliness and set them in a loving family. Witnessing God’s love for the orphan is a powerful thing! It’s just an incomplete statement, and it’s only a small piece of how I’d sum up an adoption day as incredible as this one.
Personally, I was overwhelmed by the impression of how loved my friend and her family are and how blessed they are to adopt their three children! Not blessed because it’s all fun and easy with cute photos and matching outfits. Though there is undeniably a whole lot of sparkle surrounding a day like your children’s adoption day, there’s brokenness too. A heap of difficulty has been with them for the six months prior and it didn’t magically disappear the day these kids became legally theirs.
No, this family’s road has been rough. Theirs is a story far more difficult than any I’ve heard my foster parent friends recount. I don’t believe it gets much harder than what they were asked to do. In welcoming and loving these hurt, hurting children, my friend was called to the deepest level of self-sacrifice I can fathom, and she and her family are better for it.
She was brought to a new low that solidifed her need to live at the feet of Jesus. It was the call of fostering – a gut-wrenching, sacrificial love – that pushed her to the end of herself and made her want more of the grace of God. There is no way a person desiring that won’t be changed.
I am privileged to walk alongside her in friendship and witness how this grace transformed her, made their family even more aware of His presence in their home, and causes her family to GLOW with Jesus’ love.
Everyone near this family has seen more of Jesus, and that’s not because fostering is easy. The beauty shines from the heavy, hard sanctifying work of this amazing calling.
I’m going to miss having those lessons come alive right inside my home. I am so thankful for the discipleship opportunities it has created for my children, and a big part of me doesn’t want that to end.
Serving as licensed foster parents has been one of the most joy-filled experiences of our lives. Following the adoption of our youngest child (our first placement), we fostered a precious infant girl for several months and have provided respite care for other foster children. We fully expected to continue this fall, anticipating a call for a new placement, but the right call never came. Instead, we’ve discovered that this is to be a season of intentionally focusing on meeting the needs of our adopted child, and we’ve placed our foster care license on inactive status for this year and will wait to see what God’s plans include. I’m currently in the process of getting trained to be a CASA worker so that I can devote time to advocating for a foster child in court – another significant need here in my county – and as difficult as it is in some ways to make this transition, I’m grateful for the peace He’s given and that there is also an excitement for this new thing He is doing.
I am drawn to what God says in Isaiah 43:19a – “Behold, I am doing a new thing.” Knowing that such is his character, I’m clinging to his providence and claiming this truth:
New things are good!