A Home for Every Child

26
Aug
2013


After sharing last week that our family was doing respite care for a 9 month old for another foster family, I was led to share more on Fostering – so today and tomorrow I will give you some information, some food for thought and also prompt you – are you ready?

Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. – Psalm 82:3-4

I’ve shared about our journey with foster care before, but our story gets lost in all the posts.  For those new or unfamiliar, you may want to read these posts:

The Beginning of Trusting God

Opening Our Heart Again

Adoption Success

This will give you some background on how we entered into this God ordained journey and how we also fought it along the way.  

I will clarify a few things, because I do not want my post to come out wrong or offend anyone, but I do have some strong opinions and this is my place to share and create a place to have a conversation.

1.  I am not better than anyone else or some fabulously “Godly” person because I am involved in caring for children in the Foster Care system.

2.  There is no guilt to be given or carried with what I am sharing, but I will say that I do strongly feel we ALL can do something – but sometimes it has to do with not knowing there is something that we can do.

3.  I pray this will ignite fire in some of you to seeks God’s will for where he would like you to serve and care for our orphans.

“We Christians have a biblical obligation to care for orphans. And while not every family is called to adopt, everyone can play a role through prayer, personal support, mentoring, giving or mobilizing their church.”  ~ Jim D. Daly (President and CEO of Focus on the Family)

I do feel that  not everyone should adopt, not everyone is in the season to adopt or even have the resources to care for another child in their home full-time – but everyone can do something.  Christians have a responsibility to care for the orphans and we need to take this command seriously.

I love what Francis Chan shares here, take a look it is only a bit over a minute long:  {If you are viewing in email or a feed reader, you will have to click through to the post to view it}

 

 

FOSTER CARE FACTS

  • Children in foster care in the U.S.:  400,540

  • Children in foster care waiting to be adopted: 104,236

  • Average length of stay in continuous foster care of waiting children: 35.8

  • Children “aging out” of the foster system annually without being adopted:  Approximately 26,286

  • Average age of a child in the foster system:  9.3

  • Average age of a child waiting to be adopted:  8 years old

  • Average length of stay in the foster system:  23.9 months

  • Number of children whose parental rights were terminated in FY 2011:  61, 361

  • Approximate number of children adopted from foster care in FY 2011:  50,516

  • Number of caring adults it takes to make a life-long difference for a child in the foster system:  1

Fact link

If those numbers don’t touch your heart about the magnitude of the situation – I am not sure what will.  Each of those numbers are a face of a baby, toddler, teen or young adult waiting for a family to care for them.  My stomach hurts when I truly think about it.

I do not believe that taking care of orphans necessarily means adopting them. There are so many ways to take care of orphans, such as fostering them, providing financial assistance or materials to orphanages or families who are fostering,  mentoring or tutoring children in foster care, sending/donating Christmas presents, babysitting for a foster family, being a transporter or visit supervisor, or being licensed to provide short term or respite care.

For many it can be a battle of a spouse who does not feel called to enter the foster system and open their home.  I can totally relate to that, I faced the same situation.  I had to pray about this and honestly if this was a path our family was to venture down, God was going to have to change my husband heart.  I would never want to try to ‘make’ it happen without my husband being on board 100%.  That would have been a recipe for disaster.

For some, it is fear, the unknown and finding out more information is all they need.  You may not feel your home is big enough or you might not have enough in your budget to accommodate one more around your table.  The first thing I would suggest is you pray earnestly about God revealing to you information or resources to help you make informed and educated decisions.  It can take some digging to get good solid information and unfortunately I am only familiar with what Washington State offers for fostering.

Here a few other interesting facts to ponder regarding adoption from the foster system.

  • Adopting from foster care is affordable. Most child welfare agencies cover the costs of home studies and court fees, and provide post-adoption subsidies. Thousands of employers offer financial reimbursement and paid leave for employees who adopt and Federal and/or state adoption tax credits are available to most families.
  • Every child who’s parental rights have been terminated is adoptable. Many children in foster care have special needs. All of them deserve the chance to grow up in a safe, loving, permanent home. Support and other post-adoption resources are available.
  • Adopting from foster care is permanent. Once a child is adopted out of foster care, the birth parents cannot attempt to claim them or fight in court for their return. A family formed through foster care adoption is forever.

Source: Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System; Department of Health & Human Services (September 2010), with thanks also to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

I pray your heart is open to hear how you may participate in caring for the orphans.  My heart is for all orphans, but I am adamant about caring for those children within our own country who are just sitting, waiting for someone to care and give them a home.

The past 5 days I cared for a 9 month old while another foster family took some time away.  This is the first ‘respite’ care I had done and it was really me doing it all, even though we decided to do this together as a family.  My husband was out of town 4 of the 5 days, which left me caring for my 3 1/2 year old as well as this 9 month old on my own.  I am always up for a challenge, but you just never know the state that the child will be in while they are in your care.

I wanted so badly to say no when I got the call asking if I could help.  Let me just say, I am selfish – I like my time, I don’t want to give up extra time and I need my own downtime too.  I didn’t want to sacrifice in order to serve.  But I knew I was being led to give up my selfish desires in order to care for this little boy that God so dearly loves.

I am in awe of how wonderful and heartwarming of an experience it has been.  My soul has been deeply touched by this little guy and how I can make a difference, even now – just a few days – I am making a difference.  You see, the work of many hands does make the work lighter for us all.

I challenge you – how are you going to be able to make a difference?

 

 
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Help Susan Help These Children!
  • Shelly Foster

    Thank you for your article! I was adopted from foster care at 2.5 yrs old and we need loving forever homes. But there are always ways you can help! Wonderful article!!!

  • Debbie Embury

    I just want to say, thanks for doing your part! We have been fostering for 8 yrs now. It is a family affair for sure. We have 3 bio kids (19,21,24) a grand son 2 yrs old, 1 adopted son from foster care (5) and 5 foster kids (ages 2,3,4,8 and 11) that we a adopting. Our house is a melting pot of many but under Gods love and mercy we are a big happy family. Do some have needs above and beyond absolutely! But the joy of giving them a stable loving home is great! I love to hear stories of people who are following what God wants us to do…take care of orphans. God bless you as you continue to do so! I wish we had a good respite person to lean on when needed. Not much down time in our house but wouldn’t change it for the world

  • Oh Debbie, thank you for sharing your story. It can seem that we might feel we have excuses to NOT follow God’s leading, and you are an inspiration!!! LOVED reading this tonight – made my heart sing! Yes, little downtime, but it is so worth the gift of giving for a life time – words cannot express. I will pray for your growing family!

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