One way my family likes to spend time together is to go out to the park. After long seasons of cold weather, it’s just refreshing to get out and release some of the endless energy that is bottled up in my kids.
One day, last summer, we were playing on the playground and a mother came up to me and began asking about my family. This would have been unusual in the past, but after becoming a foster family, this is a regular occurance. Sometimes, our skin doesn’t match the children in our family. People tend to notice, and are truly interested. Once they find out that we are a foster family, one of the first questions they ask is, "Why?"
Why do you go through all the trouble? Why do you put your family into a broken system, with broken families, who have broken children?
That summer day, my first thought was, "Lady, you're totally ruining my hide-n-seek game!" But my second thought was: there isn’t another question I would rather answer.
Why does my family care for foster kids? If you talk to me long enough, you will find out a few things about me. You will find out that my wife is awesome, we have three great kids, we are a foster family, I love crocs, and I’m a follower of Christ. This last identity of mine forms everything else about me. It is as a Christian that I see the world. It’s a really big deal to me.
I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty difficult. One of the last children in our home had significant behavioral issues. He had a hard time functioning in a family with rules. He didn’t know how to interact with my three children, let alone other children outside our home. I couldn’t tell you how many times I had to apologize to the parents of children he bit, pulled hair, or spit on. Fear would strike the faces of children in his daycare when he walked into the room. He just didn’t know how to interact with other people.
As a Christian, why would I immerse myself into the brokenness of this child?
I care for these children because that is what Christ has done for me. He did it at a way bigger scale. He came to this earth (why I celebrate Christmas) to go to the cross (why I celebrate Easter). God saw my brokenness and moved toward me, not away from me. I once was lost, but now I am found. He adopted me into his family, and changed the course of my life forever. This doesn’t really make sense in our natural way of thinking.
This family that I am now a part of is not based on the color of my skin, my culture, or my family tree. It is based on the Spirit of Christ that shows up in less noticeable characteristics like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control (Gal.5:22-23).
The culture we live in now often values boys over girls, one ethnicity over others, and is disgusted by physical and emotional weakness. As a child of God, I can no longer think that way. My worldview is that of my Father. One that welcomes difficult children into my home, even children our culture tells me I’m not supposed to want. These are the children that my Father cares for deeply. And I want to be just like him. This is my identity. This is why my family does foster care.