“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 email@example.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.