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…
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jason johnson blog
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...
Stories are redemptive. They humanize powerful messages and help people personally internalize transformative things through the lenses of someone else's experience. It's important that your foster care, adoption and orphan care ministry is consistently sharing stories of how God is moving in the lives of families in your church. It's even more important that your use of stories is helping, and not unintentionally hurting, the broader vision of your ministry. When using stories – whether video, print or live interview style – to undergird the vision and mission of your ministry, ensure they are reinforcing your message and deconstructing false paradigms of your people.
We recently found one of our daughters crying in bed. She seemed fine the last we saw her before going upstairs, so this took us a bit off guard. In a home with four daughters there always seems to be something to cry about, but when she calmed enough to share with us what it was this time, we were shocked. Hitler. That's right, HITLER was on her mind, and apparently had been for the past several weeks. What?! She told us her class was doing a research project at school and each student could select any topic they wanted to learn more about.
The questions, comments and curiosities about foster care come with the territory when you bring a child into your home. They're an ever-present part of the whole experience. While most encounters are hugely encouraging and civil, some are not so much. Yet even in those, although it may come across as such at times, I'm convinced the majority of people are not intentionally malicious or insulting. I believe people are wondering - wondering what they are seeing, how to make sense of it and if they can go on with their normal lives as if they did not know what they have now seen to be true.
It's virtually impossible to fully prepare someone to become a foster parent. It's too nuanced and complex of an issue to prescribe a certain formula to it. This doesn't mean parents shouldn't be properly trained and prepared; it just means that while certain things are universally true and can be anticipated, most things are not when it comes to the messy and hard and raw of real peoples lives. You simply can't script it; you can only live it - discover it - piece by piece, a little bit at a time.
It was trial day for the baby girl we had been fostering for nearly a year up to that point – the day the court would rule on who would retain parental rights over her forever. But it was more than just a legal proceeding; it was a spiritual one. What was taking place in the courtroom that day, just like in many other courtrooms everyday all around the country, was more unseen than the negligent actions of birth parents, the hustle of lawyers and case workers and the proceedings of an overrun and under resourced legal system. It was by nature unseen – an attempt of the Enemy to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10) this innocent child’s life, and to perpetuate the systemic brokenness of past generations into hers.
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.
When it comes to writing, some people say "stay in your lane" - specialize on a few topics; do a few things well. Others say diversify - write a lot on a variety of topics; keep things fresh and different. With over 90% of my blog posts in 2014 being foster care, adoption and orphan care related, I've chosen to stay in my lane this year. I am by no means an expert on these topics and am in no way "specialized". I have found, however, there are conversations to be had regarding how the Gospel informs our care of the marginalized, neglected and orphaned and how we, the Church, can most effectively steward the mandate of God to intercede on their behalf.
Perhaps we have overcomplicated the process of trying to figure out what "God's will is" for our lives when really it can be much simpler. Maybe it's not a formula to dissect or a mystery to uncover but rather the process of understanding how God made us and trusting in the purpose for which He did.
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.
The people of God have historically thrived in oppressive, resistant and hostile societies. The Israelites lived under the cruelty of an abusive Egyptian king, yet "...the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread..." (Exodus 1:12). Despite the systematic attempts of indoctrination into an Egyptian worldview, Daniel refused to compromise his allegiance to God and in the end "...the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom..." (Daniel 6:3).
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.
Moms: The onslaught of blogs and social media outlets say "good" moms breast feed, make their own organic foods and never buy microwavable anything...especially dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets. They are crafty, don't work outside the home and spend their days sewing quilts and embroidering keepsakes, baking pies and cooking gourmet dinners while never getting frustrated with their kids. They establish traditions in their home that their perfect children will pass on to their own perfect children one day. The house is never messy and the hair is always fixed.
Jesus came into this world immaculately, lived extraordinarily, died excruciatingly, rose victoriously and ascended gloriously back into Heaven, promising to one day return and take us home. All for the explicit purpose of rescuing sinners and reconciling them back to God.
Jesus was the ultimate Church planter. He gathered a core group of followers, navigated the nuances of leadership and effectively started a movement of the Gospel that continues to thrive today. While He didn't plant a "church" per say, He did plant THE Church by planting the Kingdom into the hearts and lives of people.
Throughout Scripture the marriage relationship is used as a picture of God's relationship with His people. The bride and groom imagery highlights not only the covenantal love of God for His people but also their position within that relationship as the beneficiaries of His redemptive pursuit.
In 1973, John Darley and Daniel Batson, two Princeton University psychologists, conducted a social experiment inspired by the biblical story of The Good Samaritan. This New Testament story is a familiar one - a lone traveler has been beaten and left for dead by robbers on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho.