Rethinking Foster Care

“I really didn’t want to foster because of the emotional ups and downs of caring for and losing children. But then it hit me, how much did God love me? That thought changed my mind.” -Jason Riggle 

Entering the glass entrance and down the hall I arrived in a sun-lit sanctuary. 8 men huddled there and one spoke up,

“Welcome, we were just talking about you!” -Mark Fleschner

I supplied updates on Isabelle and we got to work. The hearts of pastors prayed the needs of Terre Haute for the next 20 glorious minutes.

Leaving I caught up with Jason Riggle, a friend and pastor. He recently adopted two children bringing their total of foster-and-then-adopt-kids, to four. Fostering one more they parent quite the crew at five!

Since Ashley and I want to explore fostering (Someday yonder post Leukemia) I asked Jason how he started. He agreed with my sentiment that first he just wanted to adopt, not foster. Then he shared what changed his heart.

“…But then it hit me, how much did God love me? That thought changed my mind.”

I’ve always leaned more toward the idea of adopting to keep life simpler (And protect my heart). Jason’s question left burning questions on my heart.

“Could I open my heart to the pain of foster care? Could I love with the sacrifice that God loved me? Could I love a child with abandon and then lose him/her?”

A good friend in Terre Haute fostered a little boy for over a  year. They loved him and the situation opened for them to pursue adoption. They invested heart and soul into the hope of adopting this boy. Yet weeks before completing the adoption a formerly unknown relative showed up claiming the boy. Broken-hearted my friend posted this,

“I will pray for this little guy every day for the rest of my life.”

16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 
18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
-1 John 3:16-18 (NIV)
Model
Jesus died for me. Could the inconvenience and pain of foster care ever compare? No.
God doesn’t call everyone to Foster care. He does call every believer to see those in need and act. If we don’t, we lack God’s love.
God calls us to more than words, He calls us to actions.
He doesn’t call us to safe love. He calls us to sacrificial, risky, all-in, love.
Foster Care
I don’t yet know if we can or will foster ever. I do believe the church of Terre Haute must form the heart of caring for hurting kids. We should own the responsibility of making Terre Haute a town with good foster families waiting for kids in need.
Conclusion
I don’t write to announce our intention to Foster. Yet talking to Jason today reframed my entire thought process on the pain of caring for these kids. I hope this encourages you and I pray these words sink deeper into my heart.

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