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Loving Jesus by Caring for Orphans – a foster care crisis

“I could never do foster care, my heart would break too much when I have to let the children go.”

I’ve heard this statement more in the past 2 years than in the previous 30+ years of my life and the sting of if never gets easier. I spoke these same unassuming words before we began our journey into foster care 2 years ago, but now that I’m on the other side and have been caring for orphans, the words that once seemed so easy to say now take on an entirely different meaning. You see, the Lord has opened my eyes to the fact that foster care has nothing to do with my heart, my feelings, or my sadness, but rather, everything to do with His precious children. Simply put it’s not about me, it’s about them.

Every child on this planet deserves a parent who will drop to their knees and weep when their child is removed from them. Every. Single. One.

A majority of these little ones have experienced more grief, trauma, and abuse in their few short years on Earth than most war veterans. The only difference is these kids didn’t choose to sign up for it. Kids that have been forced to grow up too early and missed the the carelessness of childhood. Kids that lost their innocence to domestic violence, substance/physical/sexual abuse, and pornography way before any child should even know what those things are. Kids that instinctively took on the role of parent as they learned to protect and provide for younger siblings who needed to eat.

It wasn’t until my husband and I were praying about growing our family again that our eyes were opened to foster care. 18,000 kids who don’t have a permanent place to call home. Kids who can’t expect the same person to come home to everyday, or to have breakfast on the table each morning. Kids who desperately need to know that the creator of the universe loves them and knows them by name and cares for them, despite their circumstances. They need love…

I didn’t know any foster kids or families that provided foster care until High School. I took for granted that I lived in a home with parents who loved me and my pillow to rest my head on, and I had no idea how many children were going to bed at night dreaming of that luxury. When my husband and I learned statistics of the crisis going on in our own state, we were heart-broken. It was our turn to answer the call.

I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point in history, the government took on the church’s responsibility for caring for the most vulnerable. I believe that shift deeply grieves the heart of God, whose goal is to create and sustain a relationship of love with His children. With such an overwhelming number of kids in the system and very limited involvement from the church, creating and nurturing those relationships becomes immensely more difficult to accomplish. Dear friends, we are not doing enough.

James 1:27 instructs believers to “care for the widows and orphans in their distress...”  

We were created to have fellowship with the Lord and to be His hands and feet on Earth until He returns. We feel sorry for the disadvantaged, but we often assume that it’s someone else’s job to take care of them. When we naively, or knowingly, ignore the basic human needs of people, what example are we giving them of a loving, caring, relational God that gave it all for us?

So what now, what are we to do with this knowledge? Do you know how many foster kids are waiting for a home in your state? Do you know the crowded intersection where the homeless lie down to sleep at night? Do you know the immediate physical needs of the domestic violence shelter a short drive away? Ask and then listen to the Holy Spirit – your obedience could change the course of another person’s life.

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