When you are surrounded by evil things, it begins to take its toll on you. You start to wonder if the world is just broken and if there’s no hope. But then you come across an innocent child. A child who has seen nothing but heartache, trauma and unspeakable turmoil and evil. They have seen the brokenness of this world in ways a child never should.
You welcome them into your home, into your family, and you have the unexplainable experience to show them the Lord’s love, grace and mercy –things they may have never experienced or felt before. You start to pour into them everything you can and slowly, over time, with a lot of patience and empathy, you start to see them soften. They begin to trust you and welcome you into their past and into their world. You start to see things take shape. Things you never anticipated could actually happen, that do happen with the love of God.
You may be judged by others who just don’t get it. In some cases you may even be confronted by close friends and family who do not understand your mission. They will tell you that welcoming these children into your home and your family is not smart. But the Lord is working in ways you – and they – could never imagine. You have an amazing opportunity to demonstrate God’s love not only to children who feel they are not capable of being loved, but also to their parents. You get to show them they have been given a chance to heal. They get to observe you as you watch over their sweet child while they repair their own broken lives and have a new chance at life and parenting.
Sometimes the parents take that chance and they give it all they’ve got. When this happens there is much rejoicing. But, when they don’t, there’s that much more opportunity for you to show your foster children not everyone is perfect, and their past does not define their future.
You can help your foster children transform their present into a future worth living for, a future filled with the hope of unconditional, safe and unending love from a family they were not born into, but will never leave them nor forget them. You show them how to hold onto God’s truth and you model this by your own, ever-growing faith.
God has placed us in some trying situations. Situations that, while we were in the midst of them, we were not sure our faith alone could carry us through. But God never fails. Every time we are placed into one of these situations, we grow stronger and more faithful, and we see God’s love in spite of all the world’s wicked attempts to stomp it out. We see God provide for our large family in ways we never thought possible.
Through it all, God is with us every step of the way. We see these children as above all else, his children. God has called us for this mission and he provides us with everything we need with every turn we take. While we may see the damage done to children by the people who were supposed to protect them, we also get to see God overcome and bring healing we never thought possible. Over time, we get to see laughter and bliss in their eyes instead of fear and distrust. We start to see an actual childhood start to form in children who were previously denied a childhood.
If you are afraid your faith is not strong enough to see you through fostering, you are wrong. Do not be afraid, for God’s faithfulness will see you through. My prayer is that you will find the boldness to answer God’s call. Say yes and see your love of God radiate through you into his children. Your faith will forever be changed, for you will be His vessel.
Written by Ryan and Candace Barefoot, therapeutic foster parents in North Texas.
May is National Foster Care Month. To learn more about foster parenting or how you can support foster families in your community, visit buckner.org/nationalfostercaremonth.