Posts Tagged Foster Care
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).
- My kids are completing their 3rd week of school and I have never been more thankful for the work of righteousness being fulfilled at the Freedom School.
- Last week, I was able to share music at the wedding of a former drug dealer and gang-banger who is now walking in faith and living in grace. He requested one song in particular, “What’s Gonna Make Me Long” by my dad.
- On Sunday, my wife had the first of what we hope will be many dinners with our Music Team volunteers. She hopes to have everyone on the team over for dinner in groups of 3 or 4 until we’ve hosted all of them. We are so thankful for the work of righteousness that God is doing through the NCF music ministry.
- On Monday, we met with our friend Emily Nienhuis, who works for One Heart Family Ministries. The Lord seems to be leading us back into the world of foster care. As a family, we have been through a lot of disappointments in the past 2 years. It’s been so hard to trust our Good Shepherd in the “valleys” as well as in the “green pastures”. More and more the Lord is bringing us to a place of complete dependence and trust for daily grace. We are going to get re-licensed to foster hopefully in the next two months. We plan to complete 9 weeks of training in 6 weeks, so there’s that to look forward to.
- On Tuesday, my wife and I went downtown to buy the empty lot next to our home at a land tax sale. This process has brought a deeper sense of community with our neighbors who purchased the other half of the lot. It’s also given me a new appreciation for my neighborhood and the works of righteousness that God is doing in the great city of STL!
- Yesterday, I led a group of NCF musicians who shared their gifts at the St. Louis University School of Public Heath Convocation. We had a great time, and it stretched us all to play our music in a different context. I’ve already said it, but I am so thankful for my team!
- What’s next? Choir rehearsals start next weekend as well as NCF’s 20th Anniversary Celebration.