Celebrating Every Role
I have seen so many stories on the news lately that are genuinely inspiring. They are accounts of individuals and families who have fostered children for countless years and helped hundreds of children. As someone deeply passionate about our foster care system, I am always excited to hear their wisdom and so thankful for their years of love poured into children and families.
We must tell these stories. But I would also add that we could share many more. We need to celebrate every person who serves in whatever area God has called. I know many families who fostered with a heart for family restoration. In the end, even with the best of intentions and care for biological families, it isn’t always possible. They adopted children, offering them a forever home. As they adjust and manage trauma, it can take time to provide a safe healing place. Sometimes they take a break and get back in. Other times, they turn in their license and focus on the children God has brought to their families. In the end, they were obedient to what their Creator had asked them to do.
When it comes to foster care, God doesn’t compare our numbers.
Not everyone is called to do foster care, but we are all called to care for the orphan and the widow. That doesn’t always mean that we will all bring children into our homes. Some will become caseworkers and work tirelessly for little pay with large caseloads. Celebrate them for getting up and pouring their heart and soul into our families in crisis every day. Tell them thank you for their thankless job. Our CASA and Guardian ad Litems provide a voice for children in the courts. These selfless volunteers carry stories in their hearts that keep them awake in prayer at night. Child protective investigators, licensing specialists, judges, attorneys, and countless others who serve in our child welfare system should be recognized and prayed for consistently.
If God called you to support a foster family, then serve there and love well. You are doing the work of James 1:27. You are obedient by loving these families. You may offer a refreshing night off to feed their marriage or allow a single foster parent a few hours of peace to refuel their soul. Your work in this role is so important and never to be discounted. They cannot sustain in caring for these children without you.
When our church became involved in the foster care movement, we saw many joining as foster and adoptive families. Others became advocates, and large teams rallied around them. One woman raised her hand and said, “I am great at meal planning!” She used that gift to create a ministry called: Filling the Freezer for Foster Families. In three years, that group has prepared over 700 meals that are being delivered to our church and community! The offering of her talent has blessed so many. I have heard of others who build bunk beds. Some send cards of encouragement that arrive at just the right time. Individuals drop off diapers and gently used clothing and toys. It is a beautiful picture of the body of Christ. Everyone had a part. Not all were the same, but every role equally vital.
Ultimately, if we are going to begin a movement in the Church to serve our child welfare system, we have to dispel the myth that the only way to make a difference in the foster care system is to be a foster parent. 1 Corinthians 15:58 says: Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. When we give ourselves fully in whatever way God is asking us to love these children and families, we all get to experience pure and faultless religion. Just as Jesus pointed out the widow’s offering, when we give everything we have in this mission that is the very heart of God, it is always seen. Even though it may feel small in comparison, God will multiply it.
The way you serve may seem small: I only adopted one child. I am just a caseworker. I drop off meals to foster families when they have had a long day, but it isn’t that much. But, if you are obedient to the way God asked you to serve vulnerable children and families, I can promise you this: You are front-page news to Him.