As a foster and adoptive family, we have heard so many different comments from people regarding our choice to reach out to these vulnerable little ones.
Some of them have been very encouraging and inspiring, and we are thankful to have a great support network of people who are behind us in this venture.
But along with that, I think we have heard every reason in the book why someone might NOT want to adopt or foster. People seem to think they need to explain to me every reason why they can’t or won’t get involved. I often stand there quietly, silently struggling for words as they unload on me. Most of the comments seem to be guilt or fear driven.
“I would get too attached.”
This is the most common statement I hear in regards to foster care, specifically. I know where this comes from, because I used to say it too. While I always had myself convinced I could never foster because I would ‘love the child too much to give them back’ I now understand the arrogance and selfishness of that statement.
“Too loving to love” is the idea most people want to convey in this statement. This is completely unbiblical.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (1 Cor. 13)
True love is not based on what may or may not happen. True love is a choice: to commit, to sacrifice, to put someone else’s needs ahead of my own. True love rejoices in good things…and healing broken families is certainly a part of that!
Yes, I know…things can go horribly wrong. You will be working with a broken system and broken families…but that is no excuse! As a believer in Christ you must believe that God can bring beauty from ashes and is fully in control over all of life’s circumstances. We will not always understand, but we are commanded to trust and obey.
Many families have walked heartbreaking journeys beside children in their care, and many times things did not turn out as they hoped or planned, but as followers of Christ we need to believe that His purposes will not be thwarted. We are working for the Potter who can redeem even the most shattered of vessels.
“I have my ‘own’ children to love and care for.”
While I understand our commitment to guide, protect and nurture the children God has placed in our care, I think our idea of what this looks like is often twisted. There are many children who have been taken all over the world on the mission field, living in less than ideal conditions, being exposed to life threatening illnesses, residing near war zones and being exposed to all kinds of danger physically, emotionally and spiritually. Is this a reason not to go? Do the positives outweigh the negatives?
I will not pretend to think that every family can easily begin fostering or adopting additional children, but I want to challenge your perceptions and ideas on this.
What is it that you dream of for your children? Do you dream of health, wealth and happiness…or do you dream of something more?
Do you dream of seeing your children evade the materialism and entitlement so prevalent in our culture today? Do you dream of them becoming world changers? Do you dream of them developing a deep compassion for the less fortunate, the marginalized, the oppressed? Do you dream of them understanding that all we are given is to be used in service for Kingdom Building?
What is more important? That their personal comforts and privileges are guarded and protected? Or that they are given opportunities to build character qualities that will prepare them to be used in spreading the gospel?
Yes, you need to keep them safe.
Yes, you need to place them above your own ambitions.
Yes, you need to be prepared and have a plan.
But know this.
If you are called, you will also be equipped. And it just might surprise you what fruits you see emerge in your children as you serve in this way together.
Oh, and one more thing. Please don’t use that word…”own.” It’s time to extend your borders and start calling someone else your “own.” Love is a choice. Choose it.
I am not ‘cut out’ for that. That takes a special kind of person.
I understand what you mean when you say this. But I can’t help but think it’s a pretty easy way to let yourself off the hook while millions of orphans around the world wait for a select few people to be ‘cut out’ for this job.
What is this job exactly?
This job is parenting.
This job is sharing generously your time and resources.
This job is being willing to love the least of these…with no expectations in return.
This job is caring.
What exactly about this job do you need to be ‘specially equipped’ for?
What about this job is so much harder than any career path or ministry you may pursue?
What about this job does not line up with exactly who Christ asks us to be, and the example He left us to follow?
It’s time to stop waiting to be ‘cut out’ for this job!
It’s time to pray and ask God to equip you for this task!
He can and he will.
“But I’ve heard that…”
Oh the stories!
Everyone has a horror story about adoption, foster care or the local child protection agency.
Are they true?
Some of them, yes.
But please…don’t make your decision based on somebody’s story.
Do the research.
Find out for yourself what you need to know from a reliable source.
Don’t believe everything you hear.
There are always two sides to a story, and the worst stories are only ever one sided.
I believe Satan is using this tactic powerfully to keep people from pursuing foster care or adoption.
I’ve been disappointed at the number of Believers that will gladly join the bandwagon of complaints, criticism and disgust. This is not helpful.
We need to be wise.
We need to pray for discernment as we engage the world and it’s brokenness.
We need to be prepared to give an answer for what we believe and we need to be firmly rooted in Truth, so that bitter stories and angry rants will not sway us from what we know to be true.
All I ask is that you choose to believe and repeat only things that you know for certain are true and valid.
Horror stories passed on through friends and acquaintances do not fall into this category!
If the story does not honour all involved, including the birth family, adoptive family, children and professionals…please take a deep breath and keep silent. Try to imagine what the opposite side of the story may be and realize that almost all situations in the foster and adoptive world carry grief, loss and trauma. They are complicated, sad and easily misunderstood.
God never promised that His plan for our lives would be easy, comfortable or even make sense in our worldly vision.
In fact, He promised the opposite!
Our task here is to daily ‘take up our cross’ and follow him.
Our retirement will come in heaven.
As long as we are here, we are to be busy building his Kingdom, reflecting His character and taking the gospel to the broken.