I was asked to share my family experiences through “Foster care with the intent to adopt”. The basic bio of my family is this; I married the love of my wife nineteen years ago this month. Together we do have two biological children (both girls and teenagers now). We have fostered another teenage girl who has been adopted into her “Forever Family”, and currently for the past two years we have fostered a little girl who is presently in fifth grade. I cannot tell you her name, but I call her “Itty Bitty” because of her size. Itty Bitty is entering the process of being adopted herself to a family without any children. It has been a long road for all of us helping her conquer many emotional hardships, but we are closing in on the set goal of getting her to a place where she can successfully be adopted into a family that will pledge to love and keep her.
My journey into this world started about three years ago. When I remember those moments, they relive themselves vividly in my mind. My pulse even now starts to race when I recall sitting there stunned and wavering in my composure to not show emotion and cry publically in a conference room of 1000 persons.
It was the winter of 2013, I was chaperoning a group of churches college students at our collegiate conference with other churches and Christian groups from various universities across our state.
The collegiate speaker spoke on Christian compassion and service in our state focusing on a Christian perspective of Foster Care. Foster care with a bunch of 20 year olds? The speaker’s desire was to open the students’ minds for the future. Amazingly as God seems to always do, the topic was fresh and raw in my life. By then my wife had patiently been waiting on mea full year to make my decision concerning foster care. I had my excuses mainly focusing on cost and how can I upgrade our tiny house for another child? Do I want to put us in that emotional zone? So many fears rushed through me then.
The statistics were first very general (again this was 2013 and I’m sure they are larger now)
3.4 Million People in the world have unsafe drinking water
There are 27 million slaves in the world
2 million of those slaves are children in the commercial sex slave industry (by the way this sex slave industry is very alive and well in the Good ‘ol U. S. of A.
Children below age of 18 represent 50% of the world’s slaves.
There are 2 Million homeless people in the United States.
In my home state of South Carolina there are 1,451 orphans
There were 9,479 churches in our state.
The room was silent, or at least I heard no one else at the mention of those last statistics.
My home state, a buckle in the Bible belt, had that many houses of worship and we the individuals of the body of Christ were allowing it to happen. If just one family from 1,400 of those 9,000 churches opened their homes and lives to a child we’d eradicate the parentless in our state.
These children would not only have a home to feel safe in but would have a loving Christian influence!
And here I was worrying about my comfort zone- me a student minister, who just got done teaching our youth James 1. The very last verse of that chapter states in my paraphrase “pure and undefiled religion before our God is that we take care of the widows and orphans in their afflictions and remain true and undefiled to Christ while we reside in the world.” I knew there was no getting around the fact that I had to practice what I preach. If you are reading this and you consider yourself a believer in Christ, will you practice that pure faith before God as well?
One argument that I continue to hear is that people want a child of their own biological D.N.A. not someone else’s child. I completely understand the desire of having a child that is the product of you and your spouse’s relationship. However, I stand in amazement when people who desire a child refuse the options of adoption or fostering. Please let me clarify that I understand that I have two biological children and cannot lecture on the pain, confusion, and anxiety that one who does not may experience. I do understand deeply the pain of a miscarriage and the missing and empty feelings-- I still get sad when I think of when that happened to us five years ago. Conversely, I encourage you to think upon this point. A child doesn’t care that you are his or her own blood. She only wants to feel loved and to give love to a mommy – her own mommy. He doesn’t care if you are the best baseball player only that he has someone who will want to keep him and he can run out to greet when you drive into the drive way. These children want to be worthy of someone’s love and fight through their rejection and pain holding out upon hope after hope that someone will call them son or daughter.
As a Christian I also understand that my natural sin nature kept me from my spiritual father, making my sinful spiritual DNA contrary to His very being. Yet Christ bore my sin
upon the cross and spiritually made all those who call upon His name, true sons and daughters. He adopted us unto His own. How can we accept this adoption from Him yet let our lack of personal DNA be a road block to opening our heart to a baby , a child or a teenager who wants and needs love? Your longing for that child is proof that you also want the same.
I believe that my family is fostering for not only possibly being able to adopt for ourselves, but possibly for your future child. Maybe not your specific child, but someone like me somewhere may be helping him or her right now. If you are exploring the issue of adoption then I just maybe am helping your future child get to the place where he or she can slip into your arms without fear of rejection or pain. I don’t know you but am praying for your journey.