Fostering

The Call

If you’re a foster parent or refugee caregiver, you know the call. “We have a _____year old child from ______ and we need to get him/her somewhere safe/secure by this weekend.”

What the heck am I supposed to say!?

Here’s my first thought: YES!!!!!

Here’s my next thought: My husband’s going to kill me for that. Or at least take away my phone and forbid me from receiving any future calls from ANYONE.

Now, this is not at all because he doesn’t love children, mind you. But more because he loves our “already” children so much that he’s protective. He considers how the shift in dynamics will change our current kid’s lives and hearts. This is why I need him SO desperately!! I want to rescue any and every single child I ever hear about. I love them so fiercely without needing a name or face. (This is obviously Jesus in me because it is NOT normal.) I picture them in a Foster Agency office, twiddling their thumbs wondering which bed they’ll sleep in tonight and with whom they’ll have breakfast.

How could I possibly say “No”?

Because they’re not just “my” kids. My husband’s hesitation gives me time to remember that they’re God’s children. I don’t have to rescue every kid who experiences trauma and fear, because I would most certainly fail. I simply can NOT take in every one. And even the ones I do take, I need Jesus every single minute to love them through their “stuff.” It’s not an easy task, my friends. Kids can be so innocent and sweet and adorable… but not every minute of every day. Oh no, they have ON buttons and OFF buttons with their cuteness. Then they discover MY buttons. Oh-my-lanta. (By the way, just a short time into this phase I go completely cukoo and Collin is required to step in and save the house before I burn it down cooking dinner while sobbing or fuming- either one is equally dangerous.)

No, I’m not capable of saving a single one of these children. But thank God, He is. He has the wind and the sea at his beck and call. He orchestrates families and parents and beds and breakfast tables. And he doesn’t stop there! God alone can deliver crazy nurturing capabilities in the middle of the night (16 times) and meals the next day to boot! He surrounds the orphan and their caregivers with love and support that can sustain them on the desert island of transitions…for years if need be!

He brings grandmas and grandpas, aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings who can love a kid they’ve never met before. Even shower them in Christmas gifts BEFORE they come into a house. God alone can put the lonely in families like mine who love so fiercely even when I want to “send ’em back”. Like that one time Missy Mya was completely shattering my dreams of children slumbering through the night in the van on the way to the best family vacation of all time. (For three weeks of roadtriping with three kids!? I need new dreams.) Makenna stopped my inner seething after 6+ hours of Mya’s screaming with “Mommy, do you think her heart hurts?” Yeah, even a 5 year old can love an orphan with Jesus’ love.

And it doesn’t have to be me. I don’t need to deliver that Jesus love. I don’t need to provide the bed. I can, but God doesn’t ask me to every time. A child’s life doesn’t fall apart if I say “no” because God holds them in HIS hands. Any other hands in the mix are just tending to the precious one as He protects them in the shadow of His wing. Think about that. It’s a beautiful picture! Actually, I want my “already” kids there too, so before I drop THEM off for foster care I’m going to place them there with all the other kids God loves and let my white knuckles take a rest. In the arms of the one who holds life and death and healing and trauma I’ll place each child I love and each child I hear about right into the very safety I long to provide for them. I’m not God and I don’t need to be. Thank you Jesus!

One last thought.,.

Of course the catalyst for this train of thought was one such phone call. I heard of a 4 year old babe who’s dad was dealing drugs from a condemned house while she lived in it with him. He run away with her after the situation was discovered by CPS but when they found her again she needed someplace safe and warm and away from Dad. He’s going to prison and Mom’s already there. This girl has nothing. And there’s bleak hope for her future. I received the call and knew this child wasn’t for our family in this season, but you know what I said? “YES!!! (just for the weekend of course…or forever?)” Yet with God’s orchestration, in less than an hour we got a call back that there was a mix up at the agency and another family had already been found for her. God didn’t need me to take her in, but maybe He just needed me to pray over her, to place her in the arms of the one who knows right where she belongs.

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