My heart has been restless for weeks now because of the foster care crisis happening in our area. Lots of kids, but not lots of homes. There are so many factors at play between policy changes, big staff rollovers, tragedies in the news, investigations into departments… it's just a perfect storm and the only people caught in it without shelter are the children.
Children. They've done nothing wrong.
I know and love lots of these little ones. They're my friends' kids. They've come into our lives, into our church, into our community, into our classrooms, and we love them. Horrible things have happened to them. I know kids who…
- have cigarette burns on their bodies
- were beaten with extension cords
- were forced to eat dog poop
- weren't fed
- had adults touch them in unspeakable ways
- still smelled after multiple baths because they'd not been bathed in so long
- needed dental surgeries because their teeth fell out from neglect and malnutrition
- came into care with open, bleeding, untreated wounds
- were in elementary school but were left responsible for their siblings' wellbeing and safety
- were born addicted to drugs and abandoned in the hospital
- were completely abandoned at public transportation stops
Not just that I've heard about them. I know them. They've sat in my lap, played with my kids, eaten dinner with us, shared our things, and they call me Ms. Kate. I can match precious souls to the stories I just listed.
Make you sick? Mad? Sad?
Make you want to help? I hope it does. Please, say it does. Please. You can help.
We're saying yes to Clover Baby's half brother. He's 7, sweet, and probably very sad and scared. He's being separated from his 3yr old brother because there are no homes that can take them both. None. Not one. They've been looking all week. For legal reasons (among others) we can't take the 3yr old. Foster homes can only have a total of 6 children in the home. We only have one spot left and there are rules about ages so that small children get the care they need, so we aren't able to say yes to the 3yr old.
This boy has been torn from his family and put with strangers, in a strange city, at a strange school, and will also be torn apart from his brother who he has been with always. He's old enough to understand some things, to have questions, fears, and big feelings.
And I'm terrified. What if I mess up? What if I don't have the right words or the right answers? What if he doesn't like us? What if he doesn't get along with our kids? I could, quite frankly, fill a whole day with my "what ifs" and never use the same one twice.
When we were asked if we'd take him, I immediately had 392 thoughts about why it's not going to work… but not one of those thoughts could I bear to utter to his little face, or, bigger still, to the face of my Lord when I stand before Him and give account of my life.
"Well, it would be even harder to get in and out of our vehicle and he'd fill the last seat in it."
"It would mean all 3 boys would have to share a room."
"He might know things and say things we don't want our kids exposed to."
I couldn't even utter my own objections because they felt so flimsy on my lips. I picked up my phone, called James, and told him we'd been asked. All I did was lay the situation in front of him to see how he responded. He sat silently for a moment and then said, "I mean… we don't have a GOOD reason to say no. Not one that actually matters enough or that we can't work around." Unity is a beautiful, wonderful gift.
We called our agency, got the approval, said yes, and the worker was elated. He has to be separated from his brother, but at least he could grow with his brand new baby sister. It's the smallest of consolations in the most broken of situations.
We sat down with our children and explained, prepared for "I don't want to share," and "but it's MY bed" and "for how long?" but instead we got excitement, empathy, meekness and willingness to be flexible. Now, they're kids- how long that will last— who knows, but, their immediately open hearts encouraged me.
Here's where I'm resting—
How do we know the will of God? First, we refer to scripture. And He's made it VERY clear through much of the bible that caring for orphans is a command, that caring for orphans and vulnerable children is at the very heart of who He is. That we should love people, even if it's hard or uncomfortable. (Psalm 68.5-6, Deut 10.18, Psalm 10.14, James 1.27, Deut 14.29, Matt 25.40, Mark 12.31)
So, we're looking at something that was put before us, and is at the heart of God. When you are asked to do something that is good and right, and you don't have a real, sturdy reason to say no, I feel like that means you say yes. You say yes to the good and right things, and if it's not what the Lord has for you, in His goodness, He will protect you from it. Not everything that's good and right is good and right for everyone at the same moment, and the Lord knows what is best for us at each moment. Saying yes to good and right things isn't sin, but it might not be what He has for you, specifically. If you say no though, you might be being disobedient.
I'd rather be mistaken than disobedient, and I've learned that when I pursue good things but it isn't the path God has for me, He redirects me and guides me out of my good intentions into what He knows is better. I trust that He would do that here if it wasn't right for all of us. We said yes, and tomorrow afternoon a sweet, scared, 7yr old boy will be at my door. And, truthfully, I'm terrified.
Please pray for us all, mostly for him and his bother who will be going to another home.
And, please forgive me when I'm never on time again.