“Wow, you guys really have your hands full.”
Is there a day that goes by that a foster family doesn’t hear this statement at least a dozen times? Sometimes it’s said with a smile, sometimes with a look of pity, and sometimes with not-so-subtle judgment. They’re wondering why on earth would anyone choose this life? Seven crazy kids? SEVEN? Clearly there’s something wrong with us….right?
Occasionally we come across that person who is genuinely curious about how and why this came to be our life, and they inevitably will ask us why we chose to be foster parents. For our family it was a gradual decision that was made for a multitude of reasons. When my husband and I were first married we were each told that we could not have children. We joyfully began the process of researching adoption, but we didn’t get far before our circumstances changed, and within the next five years we proceeded to have four biological children. For those first few years, of course, adoption was the furthest thing from our minds…but it had already been driven into our hearts.
Our biological children now range in age from 9-14. They‘re amazing kids, and they excel at welcoming other children into the fold and making them family. We’ve been blessed with physical resources enough to share. We adore kids. We live to share Jesus with others. How could we not open our home and family to kids who needed those very things? Physical resources, adoration, Jesus, and a group of wild and loving siblings to grow up alongside. We know that foster care and adoption are incredibly close to God’s heart, and close to God’s heart is where we want our family to be.
There’s another side to our decision to pursue foster care and adoption, though. We know that our kids are growing up with a very comfortable life compared to the majority of the rest of the world. They have two loving parents, they have everything they need and a lot of what they want, and they’ve never gone to bed hungry or scared. We don’t want our kids to grow up in this bubble of comfort, indifferent to or even disdainful or fearful of the people who live out struggles my kids know very little about. That’s just not who we want our kids or our family to be. We want them to be fearless and passionate in the way that they love and serve others. We want them to see God move. We want them to see people and families who are struggling and to fully recognize that they are no different from us; we are all just broken people in need of help, healing, and redemption.
We recently read a great book, and one of my favorite quotes in this book sums it up so beautifully:
“Our world was too small before. Our faith was too shallow, our theology too narrow, our dreams too temporary, our family too isolated, our Christianity too comfortable, our worries too finite, our relationships too homogenous and our prayers too selfish.”
– Jason Johnson, “Reframing Foster Care”