It was 2016 and I was on a 10 hour ride to Indianapolis to The Gospel Coalition National Conference. My car mates were two younger women, both involved in foster and adoption. As the older woman in the car, listening to all they had on their plates, it was easy for me to remind them of their “priorities”. I could tell they were both stretched thin. But they were passionate about foster care. One of the moms had adopted her nephew and was fostering, bringing her family to one of 6. Her husband traveled extensively, and she was a home school mom. It sounded impossible to me! However, by the end of the trip, I realized that “in my self-perceived wisdom” I was forgetting about God and how He had empowered me in my own life to do very hard things, things that did not make sense to others. Their passion was infectious, and God was teaching me many things.
When I got home, my husband and I signed up for an Orphan Care 101 class sponsored by Mid Atlantic Orphan Care where we were reminded of God’s deep love for the orphan. His love is so great that He sent His Son to die for us and to adopt us into His own family. Orphan Care 101 is a platform where families in churches can hear about foster care and the great need. Following that class, we attended foster care classes at Children and Families First. We both desired to be in the middle of this ministry one way or the other.
God answered our prayers but not in the way we expected.
In the beginning, we were simply the “older couple” in a community group of foster care parents in our church. It was our job to be extra hands for people who were in the day-to-day trenches. We prayed for them as they anticipated court dates. And we wept with them as parental rights were terminated. We prayed, and still do, for those biological parents whose lives are not able to sustain their very own children.
With friends from our church, we were the babysitters when children were placed in foster homes and the parents had court dates. Many of us organized a meal team who gathered at the church to prepare chicken tortilla soup, chili, pasta and other dishes that could be frozen for those especially hard days when families are in survival mode. We were instrumental in the organization of a resource room (Andrew’s Closet) where foster families could request clothing, car seats, and other items for the first 48 hours of placement. This was the vision of one of the moms in the Indianapolis car!
We all attended adoption hearings in courtrooms where judges and court officials broke down in tears over children. It seemed like every 18 months there was a new adoption. Through Mid Atlantic Orphan Care Coalition, we attended Orphan Care 101 classes where we were reminded of God’s deep love for the orphan. His love is so great that He sent His Son to die for us and to adopt us into His own family. Orphan Care 101 is a platform where families in churches could hear about foster care and the great need.
And then the Pandemic hit in March 2020. Everything was shut down. We couldn’t visit foster families. It was eerily quiet. One of the saddest things was knowing that families needed help and being helpless to do anything. Covid did that. BUT GOD showed our team other ways to help. First of all, we could pray. There were Zoom meetings and Face Time calls. We purchased ready-made Costco meals and dropped them at doors. When the church building could be accessed, we picked up resources from Andrew’s Closet and made drop offs to families.
And then, in the September of Covid, God brought 3 foster children, under the age of 5, to one of the mothers from the Indianapolis car trip. This placement would bring their family to a family of 8.
The needs were great. Both parents were first responders. This placement seemed unwise. How would they manage with their crazy hospital schedules, random daycare Covid closings, not to mention managing their older 3 children who were doing school at home on Zoom?
He brought them there and He would equip this family. 2 of these children had been placed in their home before.
The 3 of them did not need a foster home, they needed THIS home and this family said YES.
And so we got to work. Our team delivered meals, clothing, and car seats. As we talked to the mom, it seemed like one of her greatest needs was reorganizing her home for 6 kiddos. We started in the kitchen and asked lots of questions about meals, snacks, etc. We moved into the bedrooms, bathrooms, mudroom and linen closets. And finally, we were in the basement. Anyone with kids from 0-18 knows that clothing storage is a big deal. This mom had sorted all of the spring/summer/fall/winter clothing by age in bins. We went through everything to purge and select items that would fit all of the 6 kiddos for the year ahead. It was not work. It was fun!
When you know that you are in the center of God’s will for His people, there is a joy and peace that is like no other. And our God is all about the orphan, the immigrant, and the widow.
As Believers, we are called to love others. James 1:27 says “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.”
It is an active love where we enter into the lives of those who are weak, hurting and helpless. Because, after all, that is what He did for us.