Monday afternoon, we received word that a newborn baby girl was at the hospital who needed a foster family to take care of her. We said yes, and the next day, we brought her home. It was her first few days of life and already, she was in the middle of a family crisis so bad that we needed to be her parents for a little while.
My family and I have been on a circuitousness path that has brought us to foster care. We were a pre-adoptive foster home that ended in a mess, and we have been through a failed private adoption. Finally, God opened our eyes (mine in particular) to how foster care is actually the place we need to be right now.
The big difference between fostering and adoption is that foster care is all about “reunification”. The big goal of fostering is to see the child’s parents restored to the point where they can be reunited with their child. If that doesn’t work out, the team of professionals looks at the other options for the child like relatives or an adoptive home. I had always backed off of foster care because I knew our desire was to be an adoptive home. I thought we can’t work toward reunification when we actually wanted to adopt. It’s a conflict of interest.
God opened my eyes after our private adoption last year failed. We lived out the worst case scenario that everyone dreads. We had taken this little boy home, given him our name, and then he was taken away. At the same time, we got to know his mom and saw how much this adoption broke her heart. No mom or dad should ever have to lose their child. God showed me that my kids, Joanna and Sam, would never be taken from us. He showed me that if we sacrificed the promise of adoption as the end goal, then fostering fit much better with our abilities, opportunities, and desires.
Kids need help from the church. Kids without parents need to be adopted. Kids with parents who have decided that it’s impossible to be a parent right now need to be adopted (not killed in the uterus). Kids who have been abandoned by their parents need to be adopted. Kids who have parents who are in trouble need people to help their parents through fostering. My point is that the happy ending for a child isn’t always adoption.
So we have this beautiful baby girl living in our home now. We have to be her parents right now so that her parents can get the help they need to be safe and nurturing parents. We are happy to see that there is a good outlook for reunification. We are happy to share that ministry with our kids. We are happy that we can be used for the kingdom. We are happy to follow Jesus’ words and deeds by caring for the orphan (even if “orphan” is only temporary state).