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What Foster Care Teaches Me & My Family

My wife, three children, and I are a resource family with a local foster care agency in Delaware. Our family has experienced this world for over five years now and have had the privilege of seeing multiple children reunified with their families during that time. Our social worker has even labeled us the “Reunifiers,” as this is not always the norm. I have found that after each reunification, the waiting period for the next child leaves something missing in our home. It was difficult to explain until I understood what foster care has taught my family.

Foster care makes me look differently at the vulnerable

Last week, one of the children in my home got his report card. He is failing in every category in school. In one sense, this was expected because he has never had this type of structure in his life. In another sense, it’s pretty sad to see such a bright, young boy struggle in areas he would probably have succeeded in with adequate love and support. We know that kids entering foster care are the most at-risk population in the United States. Just google “foster care statistics” to see what I mean.

As Christians, we have a God who cares for those who need help the most (Ps.68:5). Anyone who has read through the Scriptures easily sees that His great love for the vulnerable is one of the central themes of the Bible. It’s a big deal to God. Yet, why wasn’t it a big deal to me? My family supported orphans through Compassion International. My family has helped with food drives for the homeless. Yet, it wasn’t very personal and I wasn’t losing sleep over it.

Bringing these beautiful children into our home has changed our perspective.

They became family to us. We lost sleep over how we were going to advocate and fight for them. It became a big deal! We don’t always do foster care well, but when we do, I know of no better example of my children seeing their Father’s compassion for the hurting.

Foster care makes me look differently at my neighbor

One of the most difficult parts of foster care for us has been biological parents coming into our home. Reunification was a scary word for us. I would think things like, “These parents don’t deserve to have their children back.” I found myself rooting against their success in returning to their children. It was selfish of me and I needed a change of heart. Thankfully, I had to look no further than Jesus Christ. The story of my sin and His removal of it at great cost is the foundational belief in my life. Why isn’t this reflective in how I live? Asking questions like this has made me change. It’s not easy. I fail sometimes and have to catch myself. But what better way to teach your kids mercy (the greatest and hardest type of love)? Having Christ-like compassion and forgiveness towards parents who have done wrong but are growing will show my kids love and mercy.

Foster care makes me look differently at my church

While we are called to do difficult things for Christ, we were never called to do it alone. Christ sent us help in the form of his Spirit and through his church. I tell parents not to get into foster care without a strong support system. There is no greater support system than the church family and the person that gives life to it: the Holy Spirit. God has literally designed us for this work! Having these children in our home shows my kids the importance of a relationship with not only the Holy Spirit, but also the family of God. That’s a big deal!

Do you want to teach your children about God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit, and His people? I invite you to jump into foster care with us. It’s a wild ride, but you will be blessed!

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