Monday, February 17, 2014

Why Foster Care?

We've been asked this question more times than I can possibly count. Sometimes it's asked in an innocent way, "what made you choose foster care?" and sometimes it's asked more like "why would you choose foster care?" Both questions are essentially the same, but are asked with two different tones. More often times than not, this question is followed up with "have you ever considered just adopting instead of going through all of that?" or "don't you want to have your own children?"

I've begun to not take offense at questions like that, because I'm starting to understand that unless you are called to follow a certain path, you'll never understand why someone else makes the choices that they do. I'll never understand how people can choose to become international missionaries, it's just not my calling. I'll never understand how someone can not want to have children, because I so strongly do. I'll never understand how someone can have the desire to become a doctor, because the sight of blood makes me pass out. I'll never understand so many things about life and how people end up where they are. But one thing I do understand, is that when you finally answer that call, nothing has ever seemed so right.

If you had told me 10 years ago, 5 years ago, or even 3 years ago that I would be sitting here talking about how we've chosen to become foster parents, I would have thought you were crazy. Foster parenting is something that other people do, not us. It's all nice and good, but it's for someone else. I am a planner, and my plan was to be married a couple of years, spend the next few years having babies, and stay at home to raise those kids. Clearly,  I am not doing any of those things right now.  It's funny how life doesn't turn out the way you had planned. Foster care is not a path that we planned to go down.

God had other plans for us. It never ceases to amaze me, that the God of the universe, has a plan specifically for me. He has things that he wants accomplished on this earth, and he chooses the exact people to accomplish those things for Him. Have you ever stopped to think about the fact that God created you for a specific purpose, that you were designed entirely to fulfill that purpose? He could have have chosen anyone…but He chose you.  He loves you that much. 

I will never understand why He has chosen the things for me that he has, but I'm so thankful that He did. I'm grateful that He has given me a husband that shares the same goals as me and has a heart for the lost. I'm grateful that He made our marriage strong enough to withstand the trials and stress and chaos of foster care. I'm thankful that he's provided us with a support system of family and friends to help us through the inevitable hard times. I'm thankful that He's chosen us to be a part of something so important and eternally consequential.

Now don't misunderstand me, I did not come to this realization over night. I spent many conversations answering the question, "why foster care?" with "well, we just thought it would be fun" or "it just seemed like a good idea." In all honesty, I didn't really know how to answer. I didn't spend years dreaming about the day I could become a foster parent. We began this process blindly with simply the knowledge that we felt God telling us to. For some people, that answer is too vague and seems a ridiculous reason to start something that is so life changing. But for us it was enough. 

As more time passed, I became more comfortable with my answer. But a scary thing happened: I noticed my answer changing as my goals changed. Goals that I didn't even know I had, were changing into something I never would have imagined or chosen. We went into this process as a hopeful means to an end. We figured, we want kids, what's a few more?! Obviously we knew that not all children that we fostered would end up adopted by us, but I like to live in ignorant bliss. It was a situation that we decided to deal with when/if it arrived. However, I never stopped to think about all of the people that we would come into contact with through being involved with foster care. Why should these birth parents be forgotten about because they had their children take away? Don't they deserve Jesus just as much as you? They're hurting people, just like everyone else. They may have not had anyone to tell them "I love you" and to show them how to be a decent human being. I've come to realize that we may not be called into foster care to adopt every child that we come across, as much as that may hurt. But maybe we're being called in order to be a witness to everyone that we meet because of these children. Birth parents, extended birth family, case workers, judges, lawyers, therapists, agency staff...and the list goes on.

We are being called to show Christ to these people, and it's not going to be comfortable. It's out of my comfort zone and it messes with my picture perfect life. There will be tears and heartbreak and countless sleepless nights. I want to run and take the easy way out. But we've been chosen for this higher calling, and we choose to say yes. 


  1. Oh my goodness! What a beautifully written blog. That was just incredible and I have goosebumps just thinking about how God will use you. Thanks for sharing your journey so we can have the privilege of joining you through prayer.