Not All Are Called, BUT All Are Called

Let us explain…We do not believe everyone is called to be a foster parent or even an adoptive parent, but we do believe EVERYONE is called to DO SOMETHING.

“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.” James 1:27

There is not a lot of wiggle room in this verse, ‘pure and faultless is this…” So, if all are called, how can all be involved?

  • Prayer – Absolutely the #1 thing you can do is pray.  Pray for the ‘fatherless’, the ‘orphan’, and the child in foster care.  Pray that they would experience hope, healing, stability, and love.  Pray for the families on the foster care or adoption journey.  Ask God to encourage them, uplift them and provide for them.  Pray for the biological families that no longer have their children.  Ask God to redeem, heal and restore their broken lives. Pray for the case workers, social workers, agency workers, and state workers.  Their job is a selfless one and usually has high ‘burnout’.  Consistency in this piece is essential to consistency for the children they serve.  So, PRAY!
  • Support – We can almost guarantee you a local foster family would LOVE to have support from their friends, family, and church members.  They already understand their the ‘crazy ones’, but they sure would love for people to understand and accept their so-called ‘craziness’.  So offer support via becoming an approved babysitter for them, becoming an approved respite care provider, taking them a meal, being a listening ear, and most importantly affirm they are on the right path and not just crazy!  **most states have requirements for babysitters/respite care workers for foster children and most families do not like asking their families/friends to go through the process, be proactive and offer, so they never have to ask.
  • Awareness – Educate yourself regarding the needs of local and global orphans.  Find ways to plug-in and be a part of the solution.   Engage local agencies and learn more about their heart and their passion for serving children.  There will always be ways to volunteer, provide support, and help create more awareness.  The Christian Alliance for Orphans website has a million resources to educate and engage, www.cafo.org. So grab a cup of joe and start the awareness journey.  **be careful or you might become one of the ‘crazy ones’.

As God’s adopted children, we believe taking care of the child in foster care and the global orphan is a part of our spiritual DNA.  Unfortunately, without exposure to the need many people never experience an awakening of that part of their spiritual make up, and yet, we are all called.

We guarantee you somewhere in the world tonight a child prayed, “God, help me..”  Your adopted DNA is awakening and yearning to do something, so go do it, another child can’t wait.

 

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Foster Care..Really?

Often times when individuals or couples talk about their decision to become a foster parent they hear things like,

“I couldn’t do that. I could never love a child and then have to give them back.”
“Oh, that takes a special person.”
“You’re a better Christian than me.”
“It takes a strong person to do that.”
“But, what about your own children?” and “Why?”

Here are a few of our thoughts regarding such statements.

We are not special, nor better Christians.  In fact, our brokenness, failure, and lack of being a ‘perfect Christian’ has often times paralyzed us from moving forward.

We believe it will hurt like CRAZY to “love and release,” but if we do not do it, then WHO will?

We believe all we have is from God and belongs to God; including our home, our resources and even our CHILDREN.  So why would we shelter them–when God has given us the opportunity to expose them and teach them to live out their faith visibly and wholeheartedly?

We believe obedience is never easy, comfortable, convenient, nor safe.

As for the “Why?”

We believe our story is one of adoption and as adopted children of God, we must live out the love, mercy, grace, hope, and adoption that has been given to us. (Romans 8, Gal 4:5-6)

We believe it is mandated in Scripture for followers of Christ to take care of the “least of these,” “fatherless,” and “orphan” in some form or fashion. (Matt 25:31-46, James 1:27, Psalm 68:5-6)

We believe God has continually broken our hearts for and exposed us to children who need someone to love and protect them, while giving them a safe place to heal.

And, then there is the current Need,

  • Approximately *400,000 youth in the United States will go to bed tonight in a Foster Home, Emergency Shelter, Residential Treatment Center, Psychiatric Hospital or even in the office of a state case worker.
  • Approximately *101,000 youth are lingering in the foster care system, waiting to be adopted.
  • Approximately **600,000 youth are served in the U.S. foster care system every year.

The numbers are HUGE and such numbers are sometimes hard to wrap our minds around.  So, we went searching for the need in our own city and we found that there are over 360 youth in Foster Care, and within a 2 hour radius of our house, there are over 1,000 youth in foster care from all the surrounding communities combined.  That is our backyard, our community, and our children.

We are imperfect, inadequate, and not really special at all.  But, we have a Father whose heart breaks for these children and He seeks to find strong, loving, and safe homes for each and every one of them.

A local Pastor recently prayed, “Father you are the author of a better story…”  We believe this and we believe our lives are the tangible pages that He seeks to write His story on.  We also believe children in foster care deserve the opportunity to have their ‘better story’ written——It is our hope and prayer that our family may provide the pages for such a story as we move past ourselves to love and serve others

*http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/afcarsreport20.pdf

**http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/trends_fostercare_adoption2012.pdf

 

 

 

The Evolution of a Statement

“Someday we want to adopt.” This statement surfaced while we were dating in college, but honestly, we knew nothing about such a thing, seriously NOTHING!  It was just something cool & sexy to say.  It was our, “hey we are college kids and one day we will save the world” statement. Extremely naive.  Yet, that is where our foster care journey began. 

A few years later we found ourselves married and embracing the grown up life.  Staci was a Special Education Teacher in a lower income, predominantly Hispanic school and Keith was working as an Investigator for Child Protective Services.  As a couple, we were being immersed in the brokenness of abuse and neglect.  The reality of our college statement began to sink in.  We were starting to grasp how parental choices wreak havoc on children’s lives and it began to wake us up

Our experiences would continue both professionally and personally over the next several years as we were continually exposed to children and families in crisis, all of which, changed the cool, sexy, save the world lingo into hard, messy, real life experiences. 

These ‘real life experiences’ helped evolve the statement from “someday we want to adopt” into our current question of, why don’t we become foster parents and give children a safe home for a season in their lives?

We now find ourselves back where we began, two hearts determined to let their lives count, but this time we understand what we are saying. We have counted the cost, we have seen the children’s faces, we’ve heard their stories, we have been challenged by the Gospel and instead of idealistically talking about it, we are ready to live it out. 

Not for us, but for the children who need someone-ANYONE-to stand in the gap for them. It is no longer sexy, but real life.  And, this time it feels so right.

Kingdom Come

Over the past several years I have read quite a bit in regards to the “theology of adoption”, but today I visibly caught a glimpse of the “theology of foster care.” In preparing to be a foster family we have had several conversations with our oldest daughter (she’s 6) about the journey and path we are on and how it will differ from the adoption path. Things such as,

children will stay with us while their mommies and daddies learn to make better choices,
they may only be with us for a few short weeks or months,
we will probably have the chance to serve several children through our family,
we probably won’t have the opportunity to adopt any of the children who come through our home.

And yet, today she asked something about her “brothers and sisters”. My civilized child welfare instincts wanted to correct her and explain again that they won’t be “brothers and sisters, because we are not adopting them…” But, the Spirit checked my heart and mind and basically whispered, “she get’s it…..she understands that every child who enters this house is her brother and sister.” And, then I got it. We are all living, breathing children of the King and because of that we are intertwined as “brothers and sisters”.

Her heart is pure, it hasn’t been ‘civilized’ yet.  It loves, believes, and takes risks as it should. In fact, her heart is probably closer to the Kingdom than my own and for that I am so thankful.

Father, may your Kingdom come right here in our home and may we embrace all who enter as our brothers and sisters in Christ.

“Can we really do this?”

As we cleaned out our fourth bedroom, affectionately known as the temporary storage room, that was the question that came up. The easy, superficial answer would be ‘yes’. My professional answer would be ‘yes, why of course we can….trust me I’ve worked with plenty of foster parents.’ But, the deep, deep answer from the human soul is, ‘no’. We, in and of ourselves, cannot do this. We do not have the ability to love that deeply, trust that greatly, and hurt that openly. BUT, the One who has called us into this journey does. He loves deeply, He trusts greatly, and He shows us how to hurt openly. So, can we really do this? Yes! Yes, He definitely can do this through us.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

 

 

“We don’t really have an excuse not to….”

The journey begins.  It is a journey we have talked about, dreamed about, discussed, and ultimately put off again and again for one more “excuse”.  But, when it comes down to it, James 1:27 instructs us to take care of the ‘orphan’s’ of our world as a way of living out ‘pure and true religion’ and ultimately, we have no excuse as to why that cannot be done within our very home, in a much more real and meaningful way.  Now we begin–investing our lives, our children’s lives, our resources, and our family in serving those who need us most, children in foster care. After all, we don’t really have an excuse not to.

But, we have are own kids.

I already serve foster children through my job.

We don’t have enough room.

We don’t make enough money.

We are too busy.

What will our family and friends think?

None of these excuses really held up when compared to the Gospel, so here we go.