We all have an “inner voice” that sometimes whispers to us and sometimes screams at us. Mine is usually preaching a message of fear and doubt when I sense God leading me in a certain direction. Maybe yours is too. It’s asking, “Who are you to think you can make a difference?” or “What if you don’t have what it takes?” or “What if you fail and look foolish to others?” or “Are you sure you’ve heard correctly from God on this?” Your voice could be asking you a million other things right now.
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There’s no “just” or “only” in what you are doing. You haven’t “just” fostered a few or “only” adopted one. Rather, you have significantly altered the trajectory of a life forever. Generations to come will never be the same - not just in the life of the child you are loving but in your life as well, your kids', their kids' and their kids', and even in the lives of those at your church or in the grocery store…
Foster and Adoptive Parents: God is using you to love in some of the hardest places and through some of the most difficult situations. In the midst of all the uncertainties and unknowns that surround what you're doing there are some powerful promises and truths for you that are constant and sure and worthy to be reminded of. Here's just a few...
In the gospel God says, “I see you where you are and I’m coming after you.” This is the whole redemptive story of scripture – a God who sees the distress of His people and moves towards them, not away from them. Hovering over His people like a cloud by day and pillar of fire by night – God was close, but out there.
It was only a few years ago. We had three young daughters, a new church plant and a conversation one night that will forever change the course of our family. She was ready for us to become foster parents. I was not. It had been an on-going discussion for months. A very cordial one. We were on the same page, just different timelines. While I had been dismissing it in the name of it “not being the right time” she had become prayerfully convinced that in fact it was. The conversation that day was a carbon copy of the many other discussions we had on the subject up to that point. She believed now was the time.
You don't have to be perfect parents to be perfect foster parents. Inherent in the role is the pressure to be amazing because you are doing something amazing - an expectation no human can live up to, nor should ever have to. Foster parents are not saints or heroes or spiritual rock stars. We are humans. Real moms and dads that struggle, stumble and mess up. We get annoyed, frustrated and exhausted. We don't have all the answers and don't even know the right questions to ask most of the time.
I'll never forget the first time we found our girls playing "orphanage". It was our oldest's idea, eight years old at the time, and her two younger sisters followed suit. They had gathered every doll, blanket, book and toy paraphernalia they could find including bottles, bibs, high chairs and food. They spent their time feeding, rocking, reading books to and even singing lullabies for these "babies".
While orphan care undoubtedly involves changing the life of a child, it inevitably brings about significant and profound change in our own lives as well. For whatever change we may bring about for them, they will no doubt change us in ways we never knew possible.
It was a Wednesday. We received a call from our foster care agency at 3:30 in the afternoon - a newborn baby girl had been taken into custody by Child Protective Services at the hospital and was in need of placement. "Are you interested?", they asked. Of course we are.
No one is called to do everything, but everyone is called to do something. This is what it means to be part of the Body of Christ. The imagery of a human body is consistently used throughout Scripture to illustrate the identity and activity of the Church – how the people of God relate to one another and function together. Some are hands and some are feet.
Adoption is less about getting a child for your family and more about giving your family for a child. Caring for children without families does not begin with what they have to offer us but with what we must be willing to offer them, no matter what, at all costs.
Orphan care is not a distinctively Christian cause. Similar to feeding the homeless, bringing clean water to those who do not have access or any other number of humanitarian and justice related efforts all around the world, Christians and non-Christians have a mutual interest and shared passion on many issues.
We met her for the first time in a downtown courtroom - the same place we would see her for the last time nearly one year later. Although we most likely will never know her beyond that, a piece of her will always be a part of us - literally. It was the first court hearing since her baby girl had been removed from her custody by Child Protective Services and placed in our care a few weeks earlier.
Christmas is the story of a good Father going to extravagant lengths to adopt those who were once separated from Him. It is the celebration of God seeing the plight of His people and responding with the greatest gift of love this world has ever known - Jesus.
I recently spoke at a church in Alaska where there are more than 700 children waiting to be adopted state-wide. Earlier this month thousands of churches recognized "Orphan Sunday" where they prayed for and called their people to respond to the crisis of the nearly 150 million orphans worldwide.
Orphan care is spiritual warfare. It is a battle between good and evil, light and dark, right and wrong. By nature it is reactionary - a response to what is broken motivated by the desire to see renewal, redemption and restoration prevail. It is an effort to see the heart of God demonstrated for the hopeless and justice triumph over what is severely and tragically flawed.
When I was nine years old I learned that the man I had grown up knowing as Dad was actually not my biological father. While this naturally produced many questions in me, it certainly answered one that had always confused me - "Why do I look nothing like my dad?" Now, I knew why.
We recently sat with friends over dinner who shared with us that God was calling them to adopt. They said they always had a sense this would be in store for them, but were hesitant on timing - life had become comfortable for them again with good jobs, two children and an overall healthy rhythm for their family. However, while the benefits of comfort had settled in they began to question to what end. Where would a comfortable life ultimately lead them?
As lawyers, case workers and court clerks scurried around the court room, we sat waiting - ignorant of the process but eager to see it end. We assumed our role would be minimal, more as a silent presence than an active participant. We were wrong.
It was trial day. Nearly a year had gone by since a beautiful 3 day old baby girl was brought to our house by child protective services.
he headline recently ripped through the nation - "Doctor Accused of Severing Babies' Spines With Scissors in House of Horrors" - leaving a wake of shock, disgust and outrage, as well as resurfacing a never-fully-gone but all-too-often-forgotten discussion in the Church over protecting the rights of the unborn. acebook and Twitter blew up with trending condemnations of Dr. Kermit Gosnell's actions and a new wave of debate began over abortion amidst the fresh wounds of the most recent scandal.