Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Why Foster Care?

Because of the fall into sin we live in a broken world.  Children are born out of wedlock, divorce has become prevalent in our society, addictions to drugs or alcohol are out of control, and the 5th commandment gets broken daily through the abortion of innocent babies. Watching the news or reading about it on the internet is becoming unbearable. From hit and runs to the murder of innocent people the news, these days, is just heartbreaking.

I often watch the news wishing there was something I could do. I once told my husband that I wish we could go to all the pregnant women in the world, considering an abortion, and tell them that would adopt their baby if they would just carry that sweet life to term. Obviously that isn’t an option because over 1 million babies are killed each year through abortion. My husband and I believe that life begins at conception. Our Lord has already formed that life and that little tiny baby has a heartbeat often before you even know you’re pregnant. To kill that small baby growing inside of you is just devastating to us.
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While we can’t save those aborted babies there is something else we are able to do. We can help children that weren’t aborted, but have parents that are struggling to care for them; we can be foster parents, and that is precisely what my husband and I have chosen to do. In my head I can judge parents all day about they way they parent or care for their children. I can sit around and wonder why some people have children when they don’t actually interact with them or feed and cloth them properly. Rather than judge these parents for their shortcomings we can thank them for not killing their children in utero and help the children in ways that their parents have fallen short.

We get a lot of comments and questions about foster care. A comment we hear quite often is, “Oh, I could never do foster care. It would be so hard to give the children back,” or “I’d just want to adopt all of them and we just can’t do that.” 
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Of course it’s hard when they leave. And yes, I want to adopt all of them, but guess what? It’s not about me. It’s about them. I can’t fix or change their parents, but I can help the children. I can teach them their shapes and colors or how to ride a bike. These might seem like small things, but in the big picture we are able to care for these children like they are our own. Even if it’s just for a short time, hopefully they will remember the time they are with us, and maybe it will have a small impact in their lives when they leave.

My friend, Edie, recently wrote an article in the March issue of The Lutheran Witness on vocation. Like her I was a Christian in the evangelical church movement. I always felt like I needed to be an overseas missionary and save the world to serve God, but then again, is that enough good works? Being Lutheran I’ve learned that just serving others around you is how God works through me to bless and serve others. Edie nails it when she says, “God is at work through you, meeting the needs of those around!” I don’t have to be missionary overseas and save the world to please God! My vocation, while sometimes mundane, is in my home taking care of my family, and now 3 foster children, and those are the people who need me. “He doesn’t need your good works, your neighbor does.” 

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Becoming foster parents is Lord’s way of using us to serve our neighbors. While our time with them may only be a year, more or less, we’ll cherish the time we have with them, watching them grow and learn new things alongside our own children, and thank the Lord for placing them in our home and continue to pray that the Lord blesses them and keeps them in His care.

6 comments:

Rhonda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rhonda said...

My husband and I raised 5 children and felt like we weren't finished yet. I looked into foster care and over about 3 years, we fostered 10 kids. One of them was a 3 day old baby girl we got right from the hospital. At our ages we weren't looking to adopt. I was 47 and my husband 50. But we fell in love with her and it didn't work for her to go to her parents, so we got to legally adopt her. she is now eight and has 11 nieces and nephews. Some older than she. You never know what opportunities come to you. We have been very blessed.

Kristen said...

Beautifully written, Jan! Your family is my thoughts and prayers. We started the foster care classes before we recently became pregnant, so that plan is currently on hold - but we shall see what God has in store for our lives in the future!

Adriane said...

This is why we love you . . . and all the little people the Lord is caring for through you.

Anonymous said...

I wish we were able to do this. we live in Indiana and according to the law here, we cannot do foster care if we have 5 or more children living in the house. We have 7 children so I guess we will have to wait! What is the law where you live I am just curious? Amy from Indiana

Jan Melius said...

Amy, our county regulations say we can only have 8 children, total in our home, but we currently have 9, so it seems that they are pretty lenient with their regulations. Are you sure that is a state law or could it be a county regulation? Out here, different counties have different regulations. It's pretty confusing.