By Jayson Bronkhorst
Foster care and adoption have been on my mind a ton recently. This may be partly due to the fact that just over a month ago, our family adopted two sisters that we had in foster care for a little over a year.
My mom especially had an excuse not to take on any more kids, as she's still parenting her boys (major shout-out all the moms; you make the world go round)! But my parents took the plunge. My mom quit her job to devote time to it, and we were along for the ride.
For the last month or so, I've thought about this stuff more than almost anything else. I saw this photo the other day, which had some statistics that fascinated me.
It's 2014 data and the numbers are estimated, but the point still comes across loud and clear; for the problem to be nearly eradicated, less than a third of the church needs to say YES to our kids. In no way am I trying to guilt anyone into fostering or adopting, because for one, it simply doesn't work that way. Two, the only reason I'm even writing this now is because I had no say in my parents doing it.
"Wow," people always say. "I can't believe you guys do this. It takes a special kind of person to take care of and love all these kids."
And that's true... to a point. But you mean to tell me that if a cop dropped off a two-year-old boy in your driveway and his birthday was the next day, you wouldn't make him a birthday cake? Here's the only "special" quality you need to be a foster parent:
In Matthew 19, Jesus insists the children be brought to him to pray for. He says the Kingdom of Heaven itself belongs to them. God speaks to Joseph, Samuel, David, and countless other youth throughout the Bible. Why did he pick them? I have no idea, and they didn't either. But they were willing to follow the call, and amazing, crazy, impossible things occurred because of it. Another thing these stories make clear to me is that young people matter to God. If young people matter to God, then no matter what, no matter who, I believe God will take care of those working for this (his) cause.
When people pray for God to 'break my heart for what breaks yours' I'm not sure they understand the full effect. I am reminded of Exodus 33 where Moses is meeting with God and God tells Moses that he is going to show Moses some of his glory, but he cannot look at the face of God, because nobody can do it and live. It's comical, really, that we ask for so many things with zero knowledge of their full meaning, and if God were to answer some of them we would already be dead.I also believe in God's purpose being accomplished through people and things other than devout Christians: from non-Christian humans to talking donkeys to a phantom hand writing on the wall, He shows no bounds.
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
You can do it. I strongly believe in, and believe I have seen, God adminster supernatural strength and hope when the situation has seemed impossible to bear (and all the moms said amen). But even if you don't believe in that, fostering for me very quickly became less of "I have to care for this kid" and more "what can I do to let this kid know that they are worth more than diamonds?" The hardest part for me was learning to set aside my me-focused lifestyle and move my focus to the family--and do my best to welcome any kids we got the best way that I could.
To all those who work with youth and kids:
Youth/kids pastors and leaders.
School bus drivers.
And SO many more...
Your job is hard. It is not easy. Thank you for every good impression that you make. These are our young people, and they matter.
~ If this has interested you ~