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Fostering Hope

Love Worth Giving

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Jun 9, 2015 by fosteringhope

I have spoken with many couples who struggle with the idea of fostering an infant. The thought of investing so much time and effort into that first “sleepless” year or two, only to turn them over to biological family, can certainly be deterring. Further, the likelihood that the child in question will most probably not even remember the foster family who sacrificed so much for their well-being only fuels greater trepidation.

Many things could be said in response to these feelings, but in this post I want to highlight just one: Providing a child with a nurturing atmosphere in the first three years of life will make a life-long impact on his/her life…whether they ever remember the nurturing family or not!

In a recently issued brief entitled “Infants, Toddlers, and their Families in Rhode Island”, researchers for Rhode Island KIDS COUNT state the following:

“The first 1,000 days of life are a time of great opportunity and great vulnerability. The basic architecture of the human brain develops during the infant and toddler years. By age three, a child’s brain has grown to 90% of its adult size and the foundation of many cognitive structures and systems are in place. Early experiences lay the foundation for future learning, and strong, positive relationships with parents and other caregivers are the building blocks for healthy development. All domains of child development – social, emotional, cognitive, language and physical – are intertwined during the early years” (See the full brief here).

Clearly, these years are irreplaceable in the development of a child. While the work is challenging and perhaps even thankless, the impact is undeniable. The emotional, cognitive, and relational development  that occurs during this stage lays a transferable foundation that will bless them for the rest of their lives.

Consequently, these children desperately need families willing to do the difficult work of loving them despite the great cost involved. Such families will be motivated not by what they will gain from the child but rather by what they will be privileged to give to him or her. People of Christian faith have learned this very kind of love in their experience of the gospel. The gospel announces the good news of a God who loves and restores broken people at great cost to Himself. Faith in such a gospel can and must compel us to reflect this very love to the broken around us-including the infants of foster care.

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