Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Why Have We Chosen Foster Care and/or Adoption? PART 2

If you missed my last post Read Part 1 HERE.

The thing is when we say we're pursing foster care and adoption many people respond with something like, "Oh, how exciting!"  Others respond, "Oh!" with a confused and concerned look on their faces, but we'll address that later.  For now, let's address the "exciting" comment. 

You know, it is kind of exciting in the sense that we're following God's lead; we're going to have the opportunity to invest in the lives of children; there is a huge need and, God willing, we're going to do something rather than just talk about it.  Yep, that sounds kind of exciting, right?  But, the truth is, most often good, worthwhile things are also not easy things. They stretch you. They require self-sacrifice. It's hard work. 

At first, it was all a little scary. Yes, we had faith (and still do). Apart from that faith, this all seemed crazy.  Although we have nothing to hide, having "the government" invade (not really, but that's how it felt at first) our home and analyze our every move, seemed a bit taxing and intrusive. Undergoing background checks, turning over our tax records, going through 10 weeks of 3 hour classes ~ a one hour drive away, piles of paperwork and 3 home studies, all seemed inconvenient and a bit overwhelming. We worried about the safety of our own children. We were concerned that "they" would discriminate against us because we're a bit "outside the box"...conservative Christians, homeschoolers, etc. We're not dealing with a Christian agency. In fact, that's not even an option in Iowa. I wish it were.

As time has passed and we've connected with the people of the system, it doesn't seem like they're "out to get us". The more we learn, the more we understand just why all of these rules, guidelines and procedures are in place.  It's to protect the kids. So I'm thankful they're in place, even if it does seem a bit crazy at times.  I really question how any unstable couples/individuals ever manage to make it through without being detected. 

So pursuing foster care and adoption is about as exciting as being an overseas missionary. It's not glamorous.  But it is important, necessary, gospel spreading...and not for everyone.

Announcing you're doing foster care/foster care adoption isn't like announcing a pregnancy.  Although we will welcome a little one with joy into our home, LORD willing, for all the joy and excitement we will feel, that little one will most likely feel just as much sorrow and loss.

You see, every foster child in the system represents a broken family.  It's sad.  For every child we have an opportunity to nurture and protect there is a devastating reality of neglect and/or abuse behind them being in foster care in the first place.  There's nothing exciting about that.  Every child, no matter their age, wants to be with their birth family.  This is something we knew, but understand a lot better now that we've taken the PS-MAPP classes.  Although it's wonderful to have the desire to help children, the very fact that foster care (and adoption) is even necessary is a sad reality.  As foster and adoptive parents we will need to help children work through much pain, confusion, loss and grief. 

When you have a better understanding of the things many innocent children are facing in this modern day world, your heart can't help but feel burdened for them, these beloved children of God. 

No matter what type of orphan care, foster care or adoption you pursue or support, it represents the dark realities of this fallen, broken world where children are mistreated or unwanted or abandoned...or all of the above.  And there are repercussions. 

International adoption, domestic adoption, foster care adoption, embryo adoption...all come with their own set of challenges and triumphs.  All are vital and important in nurturing LIFE!  If you're not familiar with any of these types of adoptions, I urge you to Google them (I added a link to embryo adoption since it is perhaps the least well known option). 

I've had a few people ask how they can help us through this foster care/adoption process.  My first request is PLEASE PRAY!  Pray for:

Us (our family) ~ for protection, wisdom, strength, open hearts that will follow the LORD's leading and move as He directs us, and only as He directs us, so that He may be glorified.

Children in foster care and those who will be entering care, all of them, but especially for those the LORD will bring to us.  We are trusting God with every detail!

Parents and families of the children in foster care ~ as I mentioned in my previous post many of these parents faced the same neglect and abuse as children themselves.  The cycle needs to be broken.  Many are facing addictions, incarceration or mental health issues.  They need to know that there is hope and a better way.  They need JESUS.

Social/Case Workers, Licensing Workers, Adoption Workers, Judges, etc ~  They have a huge weight on their shoulders and the decisions they make effect the lives of many.

Secondly, I ask you to pray about getting involved.  I'm NOT saying everyone should do foster care or adopt.  I AM saying: find a way you can help.  (Get ideas on how you can help by following the links below)

We understand today, even more than when we started this process, there is a great need for Christians to step in and be the nurturing arms of Christ.  Not so we can pat ourselves on the back.  So that we can live out the Gospel, impact lives and honor God.

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. James 1:27 (NLT)

I recently started following the Jason Johnson Blog.  Jason Johnson and his wife are adoptive parents and foster care providers.  He has some wonderful insights.  Here are a few links I highly recommend; ones that echo my own heart!

Orphan Care, the Church and Evangelical Fads (Zeal without Knowledge is dangerous and Orphan Care is not a Fad)
Orphan Care: You Can't Do Everything, But You Can Do Something (Can't do foster care or adopt at this time?  Other ways YOU can support children ~ modern day orphans ~ and adoptive families). 

Adoption: Giving a Family, Not Just Getting a Child

Once you are on Jason's blog you will find all kinds of other links to good, relevant blog posts!!


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