I have often been asked why we made the decision to foster and adopt. When we started the journey our oldest was sixteen and our youngest was seven. As a result people will often ask why would you want to start over with three little’s under the age of three? For our family it has always been a calling that God laid on our hearts some time ago. The longer we stay in this world the more we see the need and the pain the world is inflicting on the innocent. The need just keeps on getting bigger and bigger.
Is the foster/adoption world for everyone? I would say no. However there are a large number of children out their hurting and lost. The shelters sit at capacity with children waiting for a safe place to sleep and start to call home. I think the following lines from Dorothy Nolte paint a good picture of the impact we can have on the innocent.
Children Learn What They Live
If Children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to be shy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with tolerance, they learn to be patient.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with praise, they learn to appreciate.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with acceptance and friendship, they learn to find love in the world.
-Dorothy Law Nolte
These are children that have had their innocence stolen from them for only the simple reason that they were born into hard places. Often our lives are impacted (for better or worse) by the choices we make. However, the key lines are “the choices WE make”. These children out there did not ask to be abandoned, abused, or neglected. They only ask for the opportunity to love and be loved. To live a life free from fear and shame. I hope it shows that my family and I have a passion for these children. I believe it is a passion that God calls us to do in obedience to Him as well:
“Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)
“Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” (Mark 9:37)
We as believers are also orphans that were abused, neglected, and abandoned by the world. Yet, our heavenly Father opened His heart to us when we were at our worst. He gave us a future filled with love and hope when we had nothing but darkness. He adopted us into His heavenly family apart from the “hard places” we once called home. What better model of the Fathers love than to welcome these little ones into our families. There was a time when the chruch was bore the responsibility of caring for the orphans. During the great depression the number of orphans became more than they could carry and the goverment became involved. The problem is that the chruch left that role and never came back. Now is the time for God’s people to get back involved and fulfill the plan that God has laid out.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. ” (James 1:27)
There may be some who feel the call. There are those who want to choose to be radical for Christ and step out of their comfort zone into the unknown. I say to you “go for it”. It is not an easy journey. It is one filled with stories of pain and tragedy. It will truly take you out of your safe and sterile places. Just as a good friend once said “If they can survive it, I can hear it”.
Some of you may not yet be called to leave the comfort of where you are. Can you spare some of your heart and time to rock a lonely infant at the shelter? You may not be yet called to open your home to the least of these, but can you walk alongside those who do? Offer support and respite to those who stand and face down the evil and darkness that threatens to engulf these innocent souls.
The wonderful people at Faithlinks in Oklahoma put together this great list:
Top 10 Things You Can Do For A Foster Child
10. Pray for the children in foster care and their families.
9. Collect birthday gifts for the foster children in your community.
8. Have a baby shower to collect baby essentials.
7. Donate luggage for foster children in transition. (Many are forced to use plastic bags for the few things they hold dear and treasure.)
6. Collect school supplies
5. Volunteer for a foster care organization.
4. Contact your local OKDHS foster care specialist about specific needs in your community.
3. Provide occasional respite for foster children.
2. Mentor a foster child.
1. Become a foster parent.
If you want to be involved or just have questions, please feel free to message me. For those in my area I have included some links as well.