Written by Jon Sampson
Foster care is a battlefield. It’s a fight between good and evil, light and dark, right and wrong. By nature it is reactionary – We didn’t throw the first punch. Foster care is a response to what is broken motivated by the desire to see healing and renewal prevail. It is a commitment to see the heart of God demonstrated and justice triumph over what is tragically flawed.
It’s easy to think that the enemy in foster care is whoever did the bad things to the kids. The person who abused or neglected the child is the bad guy, right? Wrong. The person (or people) who caused harm to a child is not the enemy, Satan is. He is the one who ‘seeks to steal, kill and destroy.’ (John 10:10) Satan’s goal is to wreck everything that God made to be good, and that includes families. Yes, the birth parents did bad things, but like Ephesians 6:12 says ‘we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.’ The hope is that the kids that come into our home are able to go back to their families, so we can’t have the mindset of us vs the birth parents. Everyone should be on the same side: The side of the child.
Just like the birth parents aren’t the enemy, foster parents aren’t the heroes. You aren’t saving or rescuing the kids that come into your home. You’re not ultimately responsible for them during or after when they are living with you. They are God’s kids. He’s the one who rescues them and is responsible for them. Your family has a very important role to play in these kids stories, but it should take some pressure off to know that there’s someone much bigger and more powerful in control of their lives. There are many stories in the bible of how God is in control of stories that are much bigger than the people involved. The story of Moses is a perfect example, but I’ll write a whole post about his story.
There are many places in scripture where we are told of the importance that God places on caring for orphans, but I want to focus on 3 really quick.
- He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow – Deuteronomy 10:18a (NLT)
- Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. – Isaiah 1:17 (NIV)
- Defend the weak and the fatherless – Psalm 82:3a (NIV)
Those verses have one word in common. Defend. Children and families in the foster care system are under attack and it’s the job of foster parents and anyone else who follows Christ to stand up for them and fight for them and alongside them.
There are a lot of ways you can be involved in doing that. Consider becoming a foster or adoptive parent. There are over 1000 new foster homes needed across the state, and hundreds of children awaiting adoption. It’s certainly not easy, but it is 100% worth it to be a part of changing the trajectory of a child’s life forever. If you can’t foster or adopt, you can support foster and adoptive parents. Heritage has a foster care resource closet that is available to foster parents in Laurens County. We also host the foster parent associations monthly training meetings. You can offer to help set up, tear down, or provide the meal for the foster parents that attend. We would love to begin a wrap around ministry, where a group of people supports a foster family through providing meals, babysitting, groceries, tutoring, lawn care, or anything else that can make life easier for them.
If you’re interested in any of those things, or you have another idea for how Heritage can fight alongside foster and adoptive families, please let us know!!