fos • ter (v) : to bring up, nurture, to nurse, cherish, to promote the growth and development of, to cultivate.
When you hear the words “foster care” do the words sound somewhat foreign? Foster care is not something that I knew a lot about prior to the Lord leading us on this journey. If I’m being transparent, when I first heard these words my thoughts ran to images such as, “misbehaving kids,” “sketchy situations,” and “the cold yet overly involved government.”
However, after walking through this journey over the past year, none of my preconceived notions remain. I LOVE this definition of fostering. It’s an active verb with many positive adjectives. Foster care, accompanied by genuine gospel-centered motives, is truly the act of cherishing and nursing many broken, confused, and abandoned children to a place of growth and healthy development. Foster care can be a beautiful avenue to bring the hope of the Gospel to the often unseen of our community.
Currently in Lowndes County, there are 185 children in the foster care system. However, there are only 15 certified homes in our city. Therefore, 5 out of 6 children are sent to group homes or foster homes in surrounding counties. When a child is sent away from siblings and family members, the chances of the child being reunited with his or her family decreases greatly. The number of children being removed from homes grows daily. Without available respite care homes, these children have to sit at the DFACS office all day and stay in hotels at night until a placement can be found. Please take into account that these children did not ask or do anything to deserve being removed from their families. Their current traumatic situations have happened because of choices their caregivers have made. These statistics are related to our community. This is the daily, brutal reality of what takes place in our backyard.
There are a variety of opportunities when seeking to minister to the “social orphans” of our city. As the Church, we understand that the only true lasting hope for any social injustice is the good news of Jesus Christ. The goal of foster care is not only to nurture the children but to cultivate a culture of hope within the entire family unit, local govnerment, and community. This is our desire: to see the Church of our city rise up and foster hope within the brokenness of our hurting community.
We will be hosting an informational meeting this Thursday night (April 9th) from 6-7pm at CrossPointe Church. This meeting will be a relaxed environment. There will be no sign up sheets or DEFACS workers. This meeting is for anyone in the community who wants to know more about the variety of options available concerning foster care/adoption. Gabe and I will answer any questions you may have about this process. Even if you are not at a place of commitment but you are just curious about the concept of fostering, please come! No pressure just information. We look forward to seeing you!