Before I begin, let me make the disclaimer that I am by no means an expert on foster care. If you are reading this and you happen to have foster care “expertise,” then call me! I have questions. 😉
My husband and I are officially licensed foster parents through the county we live in, although currently we are providing weekend respite care through a Christian ministry for three precious children. Respite care is exactly what it sounds like: providing respite for the children’s full-time caregivers.
The need for foster and respite care is a real one. So many children are in need of temporary homes while their families are given a chance to get back on their feet. We, as the body of Christ, have the opportunity to rise up and give these children and their families a chance to regroup and, hopefully, reunite. If we can provide a safe and loving home for children in need, with the ideal goal of partnering with their parents for ultimate reunification, then why wouldn’t we?
I can think of a few reasons why, and I have probably wrestled with all of them:
› Foster care is inconvenient.
› It’s messy.
› It’s full of uncertainty and potential heartbreak.
It also involves putting your heart right out there in the open in all of its vulnerable glory. As CS Lewis wisely said,
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one…”
As foster parents, the alternative to loving these children placed in our homes is keeping our hearts shut tight, sealed off from real relationships or emotions. I don’t know about you, but that is not how I want to live my life, and I don’t think that’s how Jesus wants us to live either.
It’s sort of mind-blowing to me how Jesus says that whatever we do for the least of these, we do for Him (Matthew 25:40). Foster care looks a lot like loving what our society considers “the least of these.” It involves putting your whole self out there, knowing you may get hurt.
It calls us to love someone fully, not knowing if that love will ever be returned. In fact, it looks a lot like how our heavenly Father loves us, with no expectation or guarantee of reward or reciprocity. While we as humans certainly cannot embody that agape love perfectly, we can at least point to the One who does.
Not everyone is called to foster care or adoption, but we are all called to love, and the beautiful thing is that there are millions of unique ways to do that. If you do feel called to foster care specifically, I would encourage you to attend an interest meeting, reach out to a foster parent, or just start doing some reading on it. Like a lot of things in life, there will probably be no perfect time to get involved. You might as well begin now!
Our weekends these days often pass by in a blur of baby giggles, diaper changes, runny noses, and trips to the park. To be honest, I never could have predicted how much I would love these children.
At times I feel sad thinking that I may never see them grow up, but then I reorient myself to why my husband and I started this journey in the first place: It was never about our own personal comfort or convenience. It was, and is, always about showing the love of Christ to others, no matter the end result. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Megan Hogg is a follower of Jesus, a wife to Josh, and a speech-language pathologist living in Raleigh, North Carolina.
She is learning to navigate her twenties with the help of her friends, iced coffee, and lots of grace.
You can find her blogging at A Continual Feast.