foster care, orphancare, Respite care

Weak Made Strong

“…they are weak; He is strong….” 

Four kids under the age of four years old. What were we thinking when we said yes to a respite placement this past week?! Respect to all the mamas out there who keep their sanity while bathing, feeding, and carpooling multiple children!

This week was a bit of an adjustment as our normal routine became quite different with two additional little cuties in our home. The Lord did a sanctifying work in our hearts. It easy to conceal idols of comfort and convenience until the Lord chooses to give you an opportunity for obedience in which He is really using to squeeze out your selfishness.

It’s been a while since we have received a respite care placement but we felt led and trusted God would provide (which He graciously did through many ways including the rice crispy treats my neighbor delivered, the items our friends purchased for our new kids, and the much needed cultural advice and hair help from one special friend!!) It was beautiful and a bit challenging to help our children open their hearts and home to others. We loved being able to tangibly demonstrate with our kids how to love our neighbors and those in need.

I’m continuing to learn this journey is one of joy and sorrow. It’s not always easy, comfortable, nor convenient. It doesn’t feel heroic or glamorous. It’s tough, real, and broken. Yet, just as we are all weak and were enemies of God, in His infinite grace and mercy He chooses to enter into our brokenness and wrap His arms around us with the safest, most secure embrace. He is the hospitable and kind Father who welcomes us into His family through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus.

Today, the children transition into a more long-term placement. As we were driving to daycare for the last time, I wanted to use this opportunity to speak life and the Gospel into their young hearts. We prayed together then began to sing “Jesus Loves Me”. It seemed like a new song to the kids, but they so wanted to learn it. I have the worst singing voice -seriously- but she asked me to sing this song with her about 7x before we arrived at school. I could feel her soaking it in and I fervently prayed this truth would shine into the deepest wounds of her heart.

As I was starting to feel anxious about their future and their hearts, I heard her whispering “they are weak but He is strong.” God gently and sweetly through the voice of a vulnerable child reminded me that HE IS STRONG for her. He is aware of every detail of her life. He created and knows her more deeply than anyone in this world. He loves her so much He sacrificed His own Son’s life for hers.

I may not be able to walk with her through this life but I can point her to the One who will always hold her hand no matter where she goes. I am not the Savior. Jesus is the strong Savior who reaches into the brokenness and saves the weak making them strong through His steadfast love. This could not be more comforting as I drive away knowing our paths will most likely never cross again. This journey and moments like this are possible because when we are weak, He is strong for us and we are forever connected through the love of our good, good Father.

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foster care, orphancare, Orphanprevention, Respite care

Safe Haven

“It is important to realize that we care for orphans NOT because we are rescuers but because we are the rescued.” -David Platt

There is nothing within our sinfully depraved, selfish hearts that would cause us to care for others (especially others who have suffered traumatic loss through very unique and challenging circumstances.) All is grace. Grace to love and grace to sacrifice. Without the grace of God in our hearts we would not be doing what we are doing today.

I pray that knowing this truth is comforting and encouraging to you! We are not special. We are not more qualified. We are not more spiritual. We are just like you. We work jobs, we love serving our church, we love traveling, and we love spending quality time with our friends and family. I pray if God is prompting your heart to pursue orphan prevention through foster care that you would have the grace and confidence to step out in faith knowing that your Father will be with you every step of the way.

I understand that everyone’s calling to orphan care will look very differently. That is the beauty of the Gospel. We are all unified by our love for Christ and his creation; yet, our obedience to this love has many diverse avenues within the Church. Encouraging, advocating, and providing meals and resources for adoptive/fostering families are all beautiful avenues of this ministry. Just last night, I needed two pencils so that our current foster children could finish their homework. My next door neighbor not only provided the two pencils but also brought over homemade chocolate chip cookies. However insignificant this may seem, it was huge act of love for the two young girls who were removed from their home earlier that day.

In this blog, I do want to highlight one specific avenue of orphan care/prevention: respite care.
We have been able to host two respite care placements in the past two months. Both of our experiences have been wonderful!! In respite care, the certified parents are called and asked (you do have the ability to decline if the requested placement does not fit with your current schedule) if they would be willing and able to receive a placement for a night or a couple of nights until a more permanent placement can be made. To my knowledge, many calls are made in urgency of needing to remove the children as quickly as possible for their safety. If the parents choose to accept this short-term placement, the social worker explains the details and coordinates their arrival later that day. The duration of the stay is very brief, but we have learned that it can be the most wonderful time to intentionally love these children.

Last night we received two of the sweetest girls (7 years old and 9 years old). I have to be honest, I have been amazed with all our foster children’s politeness and genuinely kind attitudes. (I know that this is not always the case and that is okay too). But, I want to debunk the myth that all foster care children are emotionally unstable and have pretentious behaviors. I love doing respite care. Because the time of their stay is so brief, it causes us to be very intentional with our attention and affection towards the children. We enjoy the opportunity of providing a safe haven, a warm meal, a clean bed, and childhood fun (movies, wii, reading books, etc.) to children who have recently suffered traumatic loss that is in no way a result of their own fault.

Just like any other calling in our lives, respite care does not require perfection or a completely clean house. Respite care just requires a willingness to care. If only you knew how often I would say “Hospitality just isn’t my gift. I can’t cook. I hate cleaning. Our house is our haven from work and ministry. I just don’t think I could ever let someone come live with us.” Yep, 100% verbatim what I have said in the past. Like I stated earlier, “all is grace”. God’s grace in my heart allowed me to see past my “self” and learn how to host little children in my “haven” despite my imperfections. I pray that God continues to allow us to offer our “haven” as a safe haven for children in need.

If you ever have any questions about any of the ministry opportunities concerning mentoring, respite care, foster care, adoption, etc., please contact me via email calliegbailie@gmail.com. I may not know that answer, but I would love to learn with you! We want to be available as a resource for all families.

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