The Complicated Emotions of Foster Care and Why We Have Chosen this Path

sleeping

I have felt many things thus far on our journey, but last week as I drove our little guy home from visiting his birth father, I couldn’t hold back my tears. Never before have I had such conflicting emotions. I so deeply desire to make this little boy a permanent part of our family, to have him forever as our son, to give him a new name, and to raise him in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Yet, when I see his mom and dad, I am burdened by their brokenness and overwhelmed with a desire to see them come to know Jesus, be healed by Him and overcome their addiction. I want them to be able to know and raise their son who they love. I want them to be able to see the sweet grin he gives when he wakes up each morning, the “milk coma” he falls into after each bottle and the way he kicks like crazy while being read to. While I cherish every moment we have with this precious boy, I am grieved that these are moments his mom and dad are missing.

Foster care is a messy and complicated process, filled with messy and complicated emotions. And yet, diving into this mess is exactly what Joel and I have chosen to do. This is not “plan B” for us-we are not doing this because of an inability to have biological children. We are also not doing this because we are special and have a unique ability to remain unattached from children. In fact, attachment is our goal. The children that come into our home need that from us (more regarding attachment in a future post.) Our hearts are not unbreakable or unaffected by pain. Trust me. The thought of our sweet foster son leaving our home fills our hearts with great pain.

So why are we doing this? We are doing this because God cares for the orphan and for those who cannot help themselves and He has given us the desire to do the same (Psalm 68:5; James 1:27). Even more importantly, we are doing this because we have been loved like this. We have been loved with a love that didn’t demand anything in return. Christ gave of himself freely for us, lost and rebellious sinners.  It was for our sake that Jesus, who was perfect and knew no sin, took the punishment that we deserved in order that in Him, we would be given the righteousness that God requires (2 Corinthians 5:21). God, through Jesus, has given us the gift of eternal life and we don’t have to earn it, we simply receive it.

Jesus says in Matthew 10:39, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Because of what Christ has done for us, we want to lose our life for His sake. Every dirty diaper, every night time feeding, every heart wrenching visit with his birth parents, every court date and call from his social worker-we are losing our lives. We are giving a piece of our heart away each day to this little boy who we have no promise of keeping.  But in the losing we gain. We gain a deeper knowledge of the love of Christ. In giving of ourselves to this baby, we grow in our understanding of how Jesus loved us and gave Himself up for us. Furthermore, our prayer and hope is that through the demonstration of our love, this little boy would grow up and one day put his trust in Jesus, the One who gave him far more than we ever could. Christ has given His life away for us and He is worthy of us doing the same. May many be given life in His name as we seek to lose our lives for His sake.

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4 comments

  1. I also go through the same complicated emotions regarding fostering, and now also in adopting. And God is slowly teaching me to foster for the same reasons you have given. You are not alone in your unique position as a foster parent!! Thank you for writing.

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