When we began our journey into foster care this past year, we knew that there would be hard times. We knew that we were allowing the chaos into our house. We knew that there would be appointments and sleepless nights and unanswered phone calls. And we knew that our hearts would be broken every time we said goodbye. And that is exactly what has happened every. single. time.
But this time it’s different. This time, our hearts have been shattered; our home has been turned upside down; and our family has been shaken and pushed to our knees in prayer. This time, the goodbye wasn’t good. Ripped from our home, the little one didn’t even understand that she wouldn’t be returning. And I didn’t even get to say goodbye.
I was stuck in the hospital 30 minutes away with a very sick nine-year-old when the caseworker came to take her from us. I didn’t even have a chance to pack all of her belongings, and some of her things have remained behind to stab at our hearts a little bit every time we see them.
We have pleaded with her caseworker. We have advocated for her. We have encouraged and supported her parents. We have loved her siblings. We have shouted from the rooftops for her sake, written words to urge reunification, and made phone calls to the “powers that be.” But our pleas have fallen on deaf ears. And our cries echo back at us, empty and useless.
The guardian ad litem has tried to assure me that some cases don’t go well and that most of them are actually really good. But those words do nothing to ease the ache in our hearts and are meaningless to a little girl who doesn’t know why she can’t return home or why she can’t be with us anymore.
Sometimes, foster care is just too much. It’s too much heartache. Too much brokenness. Too much inefficiency of people who are supposed to care for the children. Too much sin. Too much for too many.
After all we have been through over the last few weeks, the main questions I have been asked are, “Why do you keep doing this? Why subject yourselves to this over and over again?”
Why? Because there’s a little girl out there who has no one else advocating for her. There’s a little boy who needed me to help him with his anger. There are children being left in cars while their parents or grandparents go shopping. There are children who are being beaten, neglected, starved, and drugged. There are parents who are struggling to raise their children simply because they don’t know how, or they don’t have the resources.
Society is quick to cast these people aside, declaring on social media that they are worthless and a drain on our resources. But Jesus said something different:
“If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me”–Matt. 19:21
Jesus wants us to give all we have to the poor because we have a greater treasure waiting for us in heaven. He didn’t look on those who had less and turn His back. He said to give everything to them! Help them out! And then follow Him.
I confess that I have been guilty of looking at some people this way at times. But this family–this little girl–has opened my eyes to seeing that things are not always as they appear. Sometimes, life gets hard, and no one has really done anything wrong. Sometimes, circumstances swing wildly out of our control, and we find ourselves in a place we never thought we would be. Sometimes, we just need a little help.
So we as a community need to come together and lend a helping hand. With the holidays right around the corner, I believe that many people jump in to get involved in the community. But once the feel-good days of Thanksgiving and Christmas are behind us, we get back into our routines and forget about the ones who need us. We close our doors, turn our backs, and ignore their cries for help.
Why do we do it? Well, to be honest, some days I don’t know. Some days I want to throw in the towel and go back to our safe, quiet life. Sometimes, I don’t want to deal with caseworkers and parent visits and appointments. But then I remember that some day I am going to have to stand before God and give an account of how I spent my time here on earth. And I don’t want to have to explain why I was blessed with so much but refused to share those blessings with others.
For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3 and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” 4 have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court?–Jas. 2:2-6.
So, tell me–what are some ways you are caring for others? I would love to hear how people are lending a hand during this holiday season!
*By the way, if you haven’t ordered your copy of Why Did You Choose Me? yet, there’s still time to place your order before the release date on Nov. 12th! If you order now, you will be helping another family bring home their child through adoption. And if you submit your receipt to email@example.com, you will be entered into Ambassador International’s giveaway!