I’ve written a lot about foster care on this blog over the years.
It’s something that I never expected to be a part of. As someone who attaches deeply to the children in my life, caring for children long-term with the intention of one day re-unifying them with another family is a daunting and heartbreaking task. I will never down-play the difficulty of this job or conceal the fact that I still really miss all the children I’ve loved who now live far away.
While there are many realistic concerns associated with foster care, I’ve never really felt like any of them could be used as an excuse to say no. One of the great privileges of life with Jesus is that we get to (as my friend Debi says) “be his friend” in the most painful and messy parts of our culture.
And one of the messiest parts of our culture is fatherlessness. Mine, yours, and theirs.
My own heart often reacts to my Father God (and even my community) with an orphan spirit. That just means that sometimes I forget to live life according to the truth that I am a loved and treasured daughter. Learning this about myself broke my heart for the double orphans in the world today – the ones who have temporarily or permanently lost their earthly parents and do not know they are loved by their heavenly Father. I long to introduce them to the security I’ve found as the daughter of my Heavenly Father.
Obviously the ideal place for these children in foster care is a two parent, long-term family situation, but often a season of healing in their lives is facilitated by having only one female parent-figure. Over the past 7 years, I’ve had experiences in foster care with children ages 2 weeks, 3 weeks, 4 month old twins, and 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 11 year olds. Each was rewarding, heartbreaking, exciting, frustrating, and full of alternating peace and anxiety – but never without joy.
One of the things I love most about foster care is the way it taxes me beyond my physical and emotional capacity. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that without Jesus, I wouldn’t make it through a single day. Which is why, in the midst of still missing the children who are no longer in my life, in the midst of knowing it will be hard, in the midst of feeling frustrated with my own imperfections – I’m pursuing foster care once again. One of the best ways I’ve found to discover areas where healing is needed in my own life is to live it next to children who are healing, too.
As of September 2012, I’ve finished the training I need to be a therapeutic foster parent, but I’m working as a photographer and waiting until I have enough money to rent a home large enough to accept sibling groups and older children. It’s my hope that I will be able to support myself through photography (& my Etsy shop) alone, which would allow me more time to be home and invest in older children who may come into my life. In the meantime, I’m providing foster care to infants, which is a delight.
Thanks for stopping by. If you’re involved in foster care, I’d love to have you contact me! Sometimes this community feels really small.
For other posts I’ve written about foster care:
– No Fear