The first foster kids I met were friends of mine in junior high. They were actually living in a children’s home rather than being sent to live with a family full-time. These kids were just like me. There wasn’t anything strange about them. They didn’t act out (that I was aware of); they weren’t addicted to drugs; they weren’t “bad” kids. They just had the unfortunate lot of being children of parents who had made some choices that were detrimental to them living as a family.
When I met my husband, we began serving together in our church’s bus ministry. The basic idea behind this ministry was to send a bus into some of the less fortunate neighborhoods, pick up the kids who wanted to come to church, and “give them Jesus”–apart from the “normal” church attenders. After all, we didn’t want them to associate with our church kids! I even know one person who was about to put an offer in on a house–until she found out that a foster family lived next door. She didn’t want her kids around “those” kids.
There are over 400,000 children currently in the foster system in the United States. They come from all cultures, backgrounds, and home situations. Some of them have simply lost their parents due to tragic events (cancer, car accidents, etc.). Some of them have parents who have abused them or neglected them. Some have one parent. Some don’t know who their parents are. Some come from wealthy families. Some come from impoverished families. They have black hair, blonde hair, brown hair. They are Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian, African American. But they have one thing in common–they need a safe and loving family to call their own.
Unfortunately, we Christians have forgotten that it is our job to care for the fatherless. We have forgotten that Christ called us to meet the needs of “the least of these.” We have become a society that is so afraid of “inconveniencing” our children that we lose sight of our responsibility to reach out to those who need us even more.
God is not honored by the fact that there are over 400,000 kids currently in the foster system in the U.S. Every time we turn our backs on these kids, we are turning our backs on God. But every time we reach out to one of them and love them as Christ has loved us, we will receive such blessing from Him!
Then the King will say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed Me, 36 I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.” 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, “Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger and welcome You, or naked and clothe You? 39 And when did we see You sick or in prison and visit You?” 40 And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me.”
41 Then He will say to those on His left, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome Me, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.” 44 Then they also will answer, saying, “Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?” 45 Then He will answer them, saying, “Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.” 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life–Matt. 25:34-46.
May is Foster Care Awareness Month. How ironic that this is also the month when we celebrate Mother’s Day. What do you think the children in foster care feel when their classmates, friends, and neighbors have plans to celebrate their moms? Who is mothering these children?
There are over 400,000 kids in foster care! That number pulls at my heartstrings, making me want to add one more chair to our table, one more bed to the kids’ rooms, one more carseat to our already-packed van. These kids need me! And they need you!
Foster care isn’t a disease. Your kids won’t “catch it” just because you decide to foster. But they may just find a way to open their own hearts and look to the care of others. They may learn to have compassion for someone in need. They may start appreciating the family and things they have and stopping taking their world for granted. And they may just find that they can make a difference in the world–one child at a time.
In my state alone, there are over 5,000 children in the foster care system. Some of them have had to sleep in social service offices, some have been placed in homes that are already overflowing, and some are simply moved from one home to another. These kids need a place to call home. They need someone they can rely on. Is it you?
I implore you to help these children! You can be single, married, young (at least 21), or old. You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be open to love. Do you have room at your table?