Why Foster Care?

The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength.You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes.
Isaiah 58:11-12

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Three years ago, we were in the process of starting our foster care adventure. TJ and I were both 25, and had been in Texas for less than a year. We had started youth ministry at The Well Church, and we had lived in Denton for almost a year.


We knew very little about foster care, and sometimes the trauma-informed classes scared the living daylights out of us. We heard the worst-case scenarios, the real-life experiences, and the case studies. Other people probably thought we were totally out of our minds with our fresh baby faces and our newly-married bliss. But we knew that we were called to this. "This" can be complicated and messy, and sometimes I find myself asking, "Are we even doing the right thing?!" But my husband, TJ, has simplified it: "We started foster care to give a child who needs one a home. Does this child need a home?" Of course, there is more to consider, but usually, answering that question helps me remember that we are doing the right thing, even if that right thing is really hard and overwhelming.


Many people ask us if we are going to have biological children, and I always just answer with "whatever happens." But I'm sure people have wondered why we have chosen Foster Care. For us, it was never about starting a family, but more about being a family to a child who needs one. But it is also much, much more than that.


Why Foster Care?

If you ever have asked me why we do foster care, this is my answer: I have been profoundly impacted by the Gospel of Jesus. We humans are messy and sinful and broken, but God didn't just look down us from heaven and say, "Oh, those poor things. Will they ever get it?" No, He became a poor thing for our sake. In His life, He risked His own safety, reputation, and comfort to seek out the sick, the poor, the crippled, the vulnerable, and the sinner. In His death, He gave up His own life and took on the curse of sin in order to rid us of it. I will never get over the beauty of His sacrifice.


One of the many principles I heard throughout my youth group experience was: "Jesus gave His life for me, so I will live my life for Him." We talked a lot about being "sold out" or "on fire" for Jesus. If our lives were truly radically changed by the Gospel, we will not stand still. We will become more like Him, we will tell others about Him, we will be His hands and feet. I try (and many times fail) to live my life as an extension of His goodness to others, so that they might get a glimpse of Him.


Foster Care brought this opportunity straight to my doorstep. The brokenness and pain of this broken world is now so physically close to me that I can't look away anymore. (If I did, our neighbors might become concerned!) You simply cannot have a child from the foster care system sit on your couch AND act like they don't exist. Opening your home for foster care forces you to get close to hurting families, grieving babies, and rejected teenagers. You can't just "enter into hard places" when you feel like it. You now live in the hard place.


And when you choose to live in the hard place, you find that your need for Christ is even greater. Living in a home impacted by trauma, abuse, and neglect is a battle that drives you to the foot of the Cross, which is what got me here in the first place.


It is the Good News of Jesus that compels me to care for the vulnerable, and it is caring for the vulnerable that nudges me back the Good News - not just for them, but for me.


Do you think that this is why God calls us to care for the orphan and widow (James 1:27), to care for the least of these (Matthew 25), and to loosen the chains of injustice (Isaiah 58)? Yes, of course, Foster Care is an extension of the Gospel because it allows us to be the hands and feet of Jesus. But Foster Care is ALSO an extension of the Gospel because it allows us to experience the hands and feet of Jesus.


Foster Care isn't just for broken families, addicted parents, and hurting kids to experience Jesus. It's also for US, the Christians, to experience Jesus.


Three years ago, I wrote on my blog:


We choose to open our home

so that little ones with no home

can experience the love, hope, and joy

of the Savior who left His home for us.


But I want to change it a bit:


We choose to open our home

so that little ones with no home

can experience the love, hope, and joy

of the Savior who left His home for us,

AND

so that we can remember that

we also once did not have a home

and that the Gospel is just as much for us

as it is for them





Some Truth for Ya: (my favorite chapter - Isaiah 58)


“No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people.

Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.


“Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.

Then when you call, the Lord will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.

“Remove the heavy yoke of oppression. Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!

10 Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.

11 The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.

12 Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes.

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