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Faith Focus: How I discovered God's secret wisdom through foster care

Editor's note: May is National Foster Care Month. Join us in prayer each day this month for children involved in foster care, the families who care for them, and for Buckner foster care and adoption staff. This post originally appeared here.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” -1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV)

There are usually two reactions when I tell someone I am a foster parent: they either think I am a rock star or that I am crazy. I tell you, in all honesty, I am neither. I am just an average guy who became a foster parent for selfish reasons and continues to foster for selfish reasons. Let me qualify that statement.

My wife, Kristi, and I struggled with infertility for years. We were ultimately blessed with a daughter after multiple treatments. After her birth she needed emergency surgery, and I was out of options. I prayed for help, giving up control to Jesus for perhaps the first time in my life. Once my daughter was safely through surgery and we settled into family life, I quickly took control back and began to work out my “plan” for another child, house in the suburbs, white picket fence, the whole bit.

Most of my life I have held onto the misconception that I am in control. When my carefully mapped out goals were successful, I would take credit rather than thanking God for showing favor to me and my family.

With that mindset, I looked to foster care —- what I thought was the most convenient and cost effective way to complete my life plan and expand our family. Ha! I knew Jesus, but I didn’t fully trust God. Fostering would soon change that. It is how God taught me his secret wisdom.

And so, for the last four years, my family has fostered seven children. Here are the lessons learned through those placements:

1. God will provide. He is able to do what you cannot. Our first two children turned our house upside down. We went from one child to three, and they stayed for three months. I never thought we would make it, but I saw their need for parents who were committed. We were later blessed to be present at their adoption by a wonderful family who would be theirs forever.

2. I learned to trust God without waiting for proof. Our second placement was a young boy who stole our hearts. We desperately wanted to adopt him, but the state decided to reunite him with his father. Angered, I argued with God (and anyone else, for that matter) that this man couldn’t possibly be a good dad. I am ashamed now of my judgment on him. He and his son recently joined us to watch an NFL game. It had been 18 months since we had seen him, and he was doing wonderful. This man is truly his father and should have been all along. God knew better.

3. God will show you the way. After six foster placements, we wondered if an adoption was in God’s plan for us. The difference is now we are comfortable in that uncertainty. I trust God to know better than I. We are now fostering a little girl who has been a wonderful fit for our family. Her need is for us to commit to her for “right now.” If someday she needs us to adopt her, we will look to God for guidance. And it will be perfect (Proverbs 3:5-6).

David Schwartz and his wife, Kristi, have been Buckner foster parents for the past four years. Why does he continue to foster? “Fostering does more for me than I think I could ever do for anyone else.”


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