calling in the troops

I saw that a friend wrote recently that Foster Care is equal parts good and bad. It’s joy and sorrow. It’s beauty and brokenness. So much truth in that.

With Baby I being placed in our home.. I am reminded of the blessing it is to be a foster mom. God uses our family to provide safety, security and gives us an opportunity to love and care for a child in a way they likely would not have had available to them otherwise. But, along with that comes the reality of their story. Their past. Sometimes those stories are full of hurt and brokenness.

While the opportunity to love these kids is good, no doubt the circumstances that brought them to us are usually not. And that’s a lot to take in at times.

We choose to love a child, as our own, whether it’s for days, or years, or a lifetime. The unknown is so hard…but in the same, a blessing, because it keeps us focused on God. He has already used our new placement the last two months to teach me so much (I hope to blog about some of those lessons soon).

And, yes “our hands are full” (as I have had a bajillion people tell us, and then look at us like we are crazy). We are super busy. I hit the pillow exhausted every night. But, you know what? So do most people. Most of us are really, really busy. In a lot of ways, I was just as busy before we started fostering… but probably with some things that weren’t as important.

I read this on a foster parenting friend’s blog recently… when he was talking about the need for more foster parents…

“Your life is probably crazy busy. But you are far more brave than you realize to say yes, despite all the reasons you have to say no, and you are capable of handling far more than you could ever possibly imagine – even if it doesn’t feel like it right now. The good news is that Jesus does not call you to control everything in the foster care or adoption process, nor does He expect you to. He actually wants you to be okay with the fact that you can’t. Your success in this is not measured by your capacity to keep everything in order; it’s determined by your ability to trust that even in the chaos Jesus is beautiful – and even in the mess, so is what you are doing by loving these kids the way that you are. He doesn’t expect you to understand it all now; He’s simply asking you to trust Him with the next step, and then the next, then the next…

Now, the challenge. Kids in crisis can’t afford to wait until it’s most convenient for you to care for them. They don’t have that luxury. They need you to stop rationalizing what you know God is calling you to do – and just do it. Your “no” is a lot more difficult on them than your “yes” will ever be on you. Perhaps these kids needs your family as much as your family needs these kids. One is given comfort and security for likely the first time in their life while the other is freed from comfort and security, and as a result, actually finds life. Jesus Himself said, “Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:25) In perhaps one of the most counterintuitive and countercultural statements He ever made, we find what life is all about – losing ourselves for the sake of someone else’s gain. Hard? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely. What you stand to lose pales in comparison to what everyone, including yourself, stands to gain. There’s never really a perfect time to foster or adopt; just a lot of opportunities to say yes to losing yourself despite the many reasons you have to say no. 

Before someone pulls the Jesus card on this post and says that there is in fact a perfect time to foster or adopt – when God says to – let me be very clear: I agree, the perfect time to foster or adopt is when God says to – but be aware, He may tell you to when it’s not the easiest, most convenient or comfortable for you. Obedience for you, then, is about considering the costs and choosing to believe that Jesus is better – that what He wants you to do for these kids is worth it and that He will take care of you every step of the way.  Let me end with this: If you’re someone who keeps wondering about it, talking about it and praying about it then you’re probably someone that just needs to do it…and most likely somebody that would be great at it.”

Anyways, I am not trying to guilt anyone in to fostering/adopting. I know it’s not for everyone. But, if you have been (like I have been before) guilty of rationalizing, justifying and delaying for the sake of convenience or even because of fear, I ask you to pray about how you can get involved.

ALSO.. I wanted to add something else today. Not everyone is in a place to personally foster or bring a child in their home.. but there is SO MUCH you can do to support those who do. And that is so important.

Even this past week… I had a friend come by for a couple hours… she watched the boys, and I was able to go for a run and take a shower (two luxuries I don’t always get these days). My mother in law took our new foster baby for me this weekend so I could have a morning to myself. And, I even had a friend approach me this morning, asking how she can support us. THIS is what the church should look like. Those acts of service are a huge blessing to us. HUGE!

So.. here are some other ideas for you guys..

You can:

–  Treat foster parents with a new placement the way you would a family that had a baby – it is JUST as exhausting and stressful. And really an adjustment for everyone in that family (children and parents).

           – offer to bring them dinner  

           – help out with the children

           – lend a hand in running errands

(In the same…this applies to a family that has just lost a placement as well. This can be a time of adjusting too. Bringing them dinner, or helping out during that time could be important).

–  Offer up your children’s outgrown stuff to pass on 

          – baby items

          – clothes

          – toys 

–  Offer to babysit.  Foster parents have lives. And they need date nights. Or take some of the kids and give them a chance to spend more one on one time with their children (especially families with multiple children).

– Be an extra pair of hands when foster families go somewhere challenging – offer to come along to the zoo, to the playground, etc. 

– Be mindful of what you say. Please don’t ask every time you see a foster parent the details of their child’s case. Or when they are adopting that child. Most of the time not much has changed and we don’t know. And better than hearing, “Oh, you are such a saint…” “Is, how are you doing? How can I support you?”  I don’t know about other foster moms, but when I hear the words..  “You are a saint”.. it puts this unsaid pressure on me. I feel like I can’t ask for help.. or be sad.. or say it’s hard. 

And last… please PRAY for the children and the families involved.

As always, if you are interested in helping or getting involved… send me a note at capturedjen@gmail.com

And.. for fun.. some fall photos from the past couple weeks… 😉

3R4A3041 3R4A3058 3R4A3062 3R4A4137 3R4A4180 3R4A4143 3R4A4147

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Comments

  1. Such beautiful kids. They seem so full of happiness. Thanks to you! And from the bottom of my heart I want to personally thank you for doing what you do. Every day you are making a difference in the lives of the kids that are in your home. And when you collapse from exhaustion at night, you can rest assured that because of you, one or more children are currently lying in a comfy bed, safe from harm. those kids will be better people because of you. That my dear, is something you should be proud of.
    💜

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