We ran into our certifier (our fabulous assigned "go-to" person at DHS) at the store a week or so ago. She mentioned that she has been following our story through our blog and is excited about what God is doing in and through our fam. Hi Judi! :) She asked if she should just go ahead and close out our file, and we had to tell her yes. If we were to stay certified we would have to have DHS come out and check out Luke's house, Luke would have to be fingerprinted and all that jazz. That would all be okay, except for a promise we made to ourselves when we first started fostering.
Back in 2006, when our foster parenting journey began, we promised ourselves if we took a child into our home we would keep them in our home, no matter what, unless someone else decided they should move. We wouldn't give up on a child when the going got tough. That was tested a time or two, but with God's help we kept our word. If we were to take a child at this time I'm not sure we would be able to keep our word. When you receive a child from DHS you never know how long they will stay with you. Seth was supposed to be a "short placement", and here he is, 2 1/2 years later, our son for life. :) We plan to move in a year, so we just know we can't take any more foster kiddos at this time.
|Foster Baby #1- always extra special to us|
So, I guess this is so long to an era. Our foster parenting era has been life-changing, to put it mildly. I've said it before and and I'll say it again, foster parenting is one of the best and definitely the most difficult thing we've ever done in our lives. (Yet!)
It shaped our family, it grew us as people, it taught us reliance on the Lord instead of our own strength (still learning that!), it built our faith, it gave us a son.
Yes, there are problems with the foster care system. Yes, it is tiring. Yes, it is putting yourself out there, knowing your heart will be broken. Yes, it is infuriating. Yes, it is worth it.
Because if you can look past the broken system and see the broken lives that God has given us, the church, to care for, it's a no-brainer.
The children are worth it. They are worth fighting for.
The parents are worth it. They are worth loving and believing in.
The system is broken and it fails people every day. That is a problem. But the bigger problem is that God has given the responsibility of caring for these lives to His Bride, the church, and we have passed them off to the state. People will fail. BUT God's love never fails, and no matter who they are and what they've done or have failed to do- no one is beyond hope. No one is beyond His grasp. The state can't fix these lives and these broken situations, but God can. He can mend, heal, lift up, restore- and He asks us to be His hands and feet.
We have come to the end of our fostering journey (for now!). As we exit stage left, I would just ask you to prayerfully consider your part in caring for the orphans in your town. How can you be His hands and feet to the broken lives around you?
Could you foster?
Could you give respite for a weary foster parent in the thick of it?
Could you bring a meal to a foster family?
Could you donate clothes or gently used children's gear to your local Child Welfare office?
Could you pray?
Our torch is being set down, will you take it up?
Trust me, if we can do it, broken and human as we are, you can do it too!
Just be prepared to never be the same. :)
You can read more about our story of foster care here:
Foster Care Ponderings: Part 1, Our Story
Foster Care Ponderings: Part 2, Our Story
Foster Care Ponderings: Part 3, Biological Parents