time, in addition to our own 4 kids, we have had 14 children
in our home. Looking over this period, there are a few things
that I hear over and over again from non-fostering families.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about how to respond. I
would like to share my heart for fostering and why our family
continues to do it.
The number one comment I continue to get is “I could never
foster, it would be too hard to give them back.” Here’s my gut
response, “Oh no, not for me! It’s easy. I am heartless and
have little emotion.” But that probably would not be Godly or
compassionate. We recently sent our foster son back home to
live with his biological father. He had lived with us for a
year. He came to us when he was 14 months old. I am the only
mother he has known! This was one of the hardest things we have
ever had to do! It hurts.
So, instead, here’s what I want to say to my non-fostering
1. It’s not about me. It is so easy and natural to
act selfishly. Christ is our greatest example of
selflessness. Fostering is painful, hard and rewarding.
I have to take myself and my emotion out of the equation,
as much as possible. Remember the big picture. It’s
about these precious children not myself.
2. I am not guaranteed tomorrow. I am not promised my next
breath. If I invest everything I am into these kids and
they leave next week, I have to be okay with that. Every
moment counts. What am I pouring into these children
that they can carry with them for a lifetime?
3. I need Christ every moment, every day! I am selfish. I
am weak. It is HARD to love people who can be so
unlovable. I can only show Christ’s love by begging Him
to give me compassion, patience, wisdom, joy. I not
only have to do this for the children in my home, but
for their moms and dads as well!
4. If I didn’t take this child, where would he be? I have
to accept that Christ never promised this life to be
easy. Of course, I want to be content and things to
be simple. But, the reality is that this is a fleshly
desire. I don’t know many ambassadors for Christ that
had it easy.
Another redundant comment I hear from non-fostering families is
the “I’ve always wanted to foster, but……” (now isn’t the right
time, our kids are too young, our house is too small, I need
to do such-n-such first). Yeah, I get it! I can promise you,
there will never be a perfect time. I think sometimes this
comment comes from a place of inner guilt. They see us acting
on what God has called us to do. Not everyone is called to
foster, but we are all called to reach out to those in need.
The fact that we foster has a tendency to make people feel like
they have to defend their reason for not doing so.
I haven’t lost friendships since we’ve started fostering. But,
the dynamic of many relationships have changed. My marriage
has been challenged, but strengthened. It can be confusing
and frustrating and lonely. But for us, every heartache has
been worth the reward. I am a better person because of this
journey. I am closer to Christ because I’ve needed Him more.
My children have compassion for the hurting. Our hearts break
for what breaks God’s.