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On Foster Care

Thursday, March 31, 2022 @ 12:10 PM On Foster Care ATTENTION: Major social media outlets are finding ways to block the conservative/evangelical viewpoint. Click here for daily electronic delivery of The Stand's Daily Digest - the day's top blogs from AFA.

Dr. Robert Youngblood The Stand MORE

When God finally brought me into agreement with my wife, we started the process to become foster parents. I knew fostering would be hard. I hadn’t realized though, what a spiritual battle it would be. As much as God loves families, it has become even more apparent to me how much Satan hates them.

The more I looked at it, the more difficult foster parenting seemed to appear. It wasn’t until nearly two years after fostering that I’ve come to realize that I don’t mind the frustration, the difficulty, and the uncertainty IF God is with us – and the Bible makes it perfectly clear He is.

If you are counting the cost (see here), if you are wondering if you can do this (with God), and if your church leadership encourages people to foster or adopt, it would be wise for you and them to watch this. This hasn’t been easy – even with young children, even with strong church support. Friel even tells a hard truth people don’t want to hear, “Not every person is equipped to parent an adopted child.” This goes for fostering too.

This hasn’t been easy – even with young children, even with strong church support, and even with God’s abundant help.

Just some of the things we had to decide included: Number of children? Ages? Foster only until parents correct the problems they had? Adopt if they lose their parental rights or just foster alone?  Be available to foster/adopt special needs children?

Whether a child or the children experienced neglect (the #1 reason children are pulled from homes – 63%) or somehow experienced the effects of parental drug abuse (the #2 reason – 34%), these children need somewhere safe and loving.

We got our first placement a few weeks before the COVID fears shut nearly everything down. God had answered every one of our prayer requests and beyond our imaginations (Ephesians 3:20). Our Sunday school class and others from church brought food, offered prayers, and more. Our church family helped us as we went from being without children to having two boys – one premature baby who was then three months old and a two-year-old.

“This has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” my wife has said, “but God is so faithful. He has provided exactly what we have needed. We are so blessed to have a strong support group.”

Foster care is more than helping vulnerable children. It is about supporting and encouraging the entire family. In fact, if the goal is the restoration of a family, having foster parents who don’t want to adopt actually takes some of the pressure off the parents. Can you imagine trying to be kind to someone who seems to be trying to take your child through adoption? Would you feel like those people were really rooting for you and on your side?

By God’s grace, one of the social workers recognized this. When she took the boys who became our first placement, she told the parents, “They are not trying to adopt.” I think this only helped create a fairly good relationship with them. Of course, my wife did things like inviting the mom to doctor’s appointments and whatever God led her to do.

However, there are many who do adopt. Just remember it is not required.

The stories of both situations are everywhere.

Some are heartwarming. A young couple in their mid-twenties adopted three and are now fostering an infant – the oldest may already have his driver’s license now. A youth minister and his wife now have a family of nine with their biological and adopted children ranging from newborn to nearly twenty. One single, older woman has fostered so many children – but never adopted – that she has had at least four of her former foster kids move into her neighborhood with their own families!

I cannot dwell on the stories about what happened to some children that caused them to be pulled from their parent(s). Those make me cringe and make me want to call down fire. Instead, just know these workers have emotionally draining jobs.

At one training, we met a young, single man with two foster children who worked for CPS as a social worker. With an average caseload of 60 children, he eventually quit. These workers have hard, stressful jobs, and they often go unappreciated. This creates turnover that affects their ability to help the children and the families.

The foster care world is unlike any I have ever experienced, and I'm on the relatively easy side of it! The need for prayerful, faithful action in every nook and cranny is desperate here. Yes, the world has fallen because of sin, but our Redeemer lives and works today through His people.

Yes, this is a spiritual battle that I had never recognized. At first, I didn’t believe I had been called to this battlefront, but God kept working on me. If you are called here or uncertain, seek wisdom per James 1:5 and then work and rest in Christ's strength. Just live in obedience to where He moves you to where you serve Him best by staying in prayer, in His Word, and surrounded (at least in prayer) by those who love Him.

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