What Can I Do to Help? Part 2: Foster
Nov 25, 2013 by fosteringhope
Hopefully, the first post in this series compelled you to begin to pray regularly for those impacted by the foster care crisis in the United States. If so, be careful. The Lord has a funny way of working in our hearts as we pray for something. You may find within yourself a growing desire to do even more.
If so, consider foster care. We believe more Christians ought to become licensed foster care providers. Before I continue, let me make the required disclaimer: Foster care is not for everyone. In fact, there are many good reasons why a person or family should not pursue it. That being said, I think a LOT more Christians ought to give it serious consideration.
Why? Well, for one, because there are thousands of kids in need of safe foster families. Today, approximately 1200 children and adolescents will join 400,000 of their peers already in the system. These children have been removed from their homes due to some experience of abuse, neglect, or abandonment. The first goal for the child, rightfully so I would add, is to see the child safely reunited with his/her biological parents. To promote this outcome, state and private agencies develop a plan to help the biological parent/s overcome the problems that led to their child’s removal. Sometimes the problems are solved and reunion occurs relatively soon. More typically, the process takes longer (13 months on average).
During this period, the children desperately need families willing to open their hearts and homes to provide them a refuge of safety, nurture and love, i.e. foster care. Providing such care can be a challenge and will most certainly be inconvenient at times; however, such difficulties pale in comparison to the opportunity to make a life-long difference in the lives of both foster children AND members of their biological families. If anyone has the capacity to persevere in such selfless love on behalf of foster children, it SHOULD be the very people who profess to have experienced that very kind of love in Christ.
Two, there is a chronic, nation-wide shortage of committed and compassionate foster families. I think Christians need to ask themselves collectively, “Are we comfortable with the fact that there are kids in crisis right in our backyard?” And, “Are we comfortable with our current engagement on their behalf?” Or, “Are we comfortable shrugging it off as someone else’s problem?”
So, do you have room in your home and, more importantly, your heart? Are willing to at least pray about the possibility of becoming a foster home for children in need? Remember, I am not trying to guilt anyone into foster care (see disclaimer above!). But, I do humbly ask you to think about it.
Imagine a region in which the glory of God’s adopting love blazes brightly through a people known for selfless love for foster children! May God bring it to pass.