Thursday, June 20, 2013

foster care, poverty alleviation and changing our country...

over the past few weeks, God has really been growing my passion about foster care.

'Cute Baby' photo (c) 2013, Slapix - license:
our social worker just told me today that our agency
is getting numerous calls every day looking for homes for babies,
and they don't have near enough homes to place them all.
now you might think that i already had a passion for foster care.  and that would be true, kinda.  you see, up until the past few weeks, my passion has been for adopting through the foster care system.  this is a great thing.  but i am now realizing the importance of fost/adopt parents being foster parents first, adoptive parents second.  in the foster care system, the goal should always be reunification, and in my sin and pride, i was putting too much emphasis on adopting.

many things have contributed to this.

one thing was the important article from john piper he recently wrote about christian adoption.  i was especially struck by his words "Christian adoption disavows that adoption is always better than assisting a birth family to raise its children." and "Christian adoption disavows that putting a child in a Christian home justifies taking a child away from his or her non-Christian home."  these were important words for me to remember, since i can too easily view myself as a better parent, and our home a better home than the ones our foster kiddos have come from.

another factor was the recent q and a panel that we did at our fostering agency.  because we have been working so well with our baby girl's birth mother, they asked alex and i and her to come speak to foster parents in training.  it was really helpful to hear the things that our baby girl's mom said, and really gave me deep empathy for where she has been in life.  it made me realize that if i had a background like hers, i might also have made similar mistakes that would result in my child being taken into the foster care system.  furthermore, i felt encouraged after the time to know that we have been such an integral part in a few different ways of helping her to get back on her feet.  even without adopting baby girl, we are having an impact on the rest of her life by what we are doing for this first year of her life.

another way that God has been working on my heart is through the book "when helping hurts... alleviating poverty without hurting the poor or yourself".  as i have been reading the book, i have learned a LOT about poverty alleviation, including some ways that i have been doing it completely wrong.  as i have been reading, i have been praying a lot and asking God what our role in poverty alleviation (PA) is.  and the answer was very clear (and obvious)... foster care! (side note: certainly not all foster children come from impoverished families, but many do.  plus, statistics show that foster children usually grow up to be impoverished and those who age out of the system without being reunified or adopted have a pretty high chance of being homeless) by working with birth families in a loving way, and providing a good, gospel-centered home to kiddos, we are helping to rebuild people's dignity and get them back on their feet which will help them move forward in life, including getting out of poverty.  realizing this has made me more eager to minister to and work with birth families of all the foster kids we will be ministering to.

i have also been enjoying these videos and articles from a church in texas that is also involved in foster care.

my passion boils down to this:  there are a half million children in foster care in america right now (200,000 are available for adoption today).  my desire is that christians would leave their comfort zones, step up and take these children in!  oh, how much the future of our country would change if all of these children were being praying for as they were tucked in at night, read bible stories every day, and learning from parents who preach the gospel and repent of sin!  oh how much their families would be changing if the foster parents of their children who have been taken away were helping them, calling them just to talk and show that they care, inviting them to church and buying them bibles!  foster care is hard, but it is whole life ministry with great opportunities for rubbing shoulders with sinners on the lowest rungs of society in the same way that jesus did.

in twenty years, it is very likely that christians will be persecuted in our country, hated by others because of our "intolerant" views.  but what would the government and society do if they realized that the majority of loving foster homes are made up of these rouge christians?  could they so easily push us aside if we are providing such a crucial service?

Lord, please raise up an army of gospel-centered, repentant, spirit-filled foster parents in our country!

1 comment: