Why We Became Foster Parents

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You’ve probably heard us mention over the past few months that we are now foster parents to a teenage girl! We are not pretending to be experts- we’ve only been foster parents for four months, but just wanted to share our hearts and thoughts about foster care. It has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding and growing experiences that we’ve ever had.

This is gonna be a two-part series. In this episode, we’re gonna talk about why we started foster care, and in the next episode, we are going to issue a challenge to other Christians on why they should consider doing it. 

Also, we’re getting sick of hearing our own voices, so we’re gonna have other people come on in the future to talk about it. Be on the lookout for that!

We’re also gonna answer common questions or concerns about doing foster care in next week’s episode, so make sure to tune in next week!

Here’s why we decided to become foster parents…

1. Living Out Our Faith

In our minds, it is one of the most tangible, visible ways to demonstrate the gospel and live out our faith. We have been rescued, chosen, and adopted into the family of God. Obviously, foster care is not adoption, but it temporarily kind of functions like adoption. We are not the heroes in this story- God is and we are just being obedient to be the hands and feet of whatever he wants to do in these children’s lives.

We are told all throughout scripture to care for the widow and the orphan (James 1:27, Psalm 82:3, Matthew 25:32-46).

To be clear, foster kids are not orphans. That being said, in modern-day U.S., orphanages don’t exist anymore. This is one of the best ways to follow this instruction.

Jesus says we will be known by our love for one another (Matthew 13:34-35, 1 John 4:10-19).

Yes, this passage is talking about love for fellow believers. But we should still seek to demonstrate this love to a lost and dying world. How can we demonstrate our love to the world? Come alongside and serve the vulnerable and those who need it the most.

2. Loving Others Unconditionally

We want to model to our kids what it looks like to love others unconditionally.

Our kids observe and do what we do, not what we say. So, we want to demonstrate to them how we don’t just live for ourselves. We live to love, serve, and care for others.

Not only does doing foster care demonstrate the gospel to your foster child, their biological family, others in your life, etc… It also is a tangible example of the gospel to your own kids. We aren’t living for ourselves but for God and others.

Also, we are to steward our children, not to shelter them. We’re going to talk more in-depth about this idea in next week’s episode, so make sure to check that episode out if this is a concern you have. Our goal as Christians isn’t to create a bubble of ease, comfort, and safety! However, you still need to have boundaries and caution. But the potential risk should not keep us from walking in obedience.

I (Nathaniel) once heard a pastor talk about how when other people run out, Christians should be the ones that run in. To the world, foster care is one of the least appealing things to do. But for Christians, what better way to spend our time?

I (Xan) have been reading Foster the Family by Jamie C. Finn (a good, easy read from a long-hauler foster parent) and she talks about how you want to demonstrate sacrifice to your kids, without making them the sacrifice. Yeah, we might sacrifice our bedroom, time, and the “sanctuary” of your home, but you don’t sacrifice your kids’ safety.

3. Following Christ

Jesus tells us to pick up our cross and follow him. We are not called to pursue a life of comfort and ease. This isn’t our goal in life! If the Lord provides it, then it’s a blessing He has given us that we should be thankful for. But it’s not what we should be striving for.

In the West, the American dream has been conflated with the gospel. Yes, the Bible is for our good, but it’s not to make things easy, to retire early and comfortably, or to live without any danger.

In our flesh, foster care certainly isn’t the easiest, most convenient, safest thing to do. This process has been difficult and uncomfortable. In my flesh (Xan), this isn’t what I want to do! It’s a lot easier to just not do this. We aren’t shining saints who are wired differently. We’re selfish and sinful and we haven’t been called to a level of obedience that others aren’t called to.

Yet, Jesus isn’t calling us to a life of ease, convenience, and safety. Instead, our goal should be to live faithfully and pursue obedience from a genuine heart. Lead with obedience and discipline and let the motivation and feelings follow!

4. Meeting a Need

There is a need. A very big need. You’ve probably seen the billboards and signs saying that foster parents are needed. It’s a horrible reality- there are approximately 391,000 kids in foster care in the US.

We’ve seen stats (they differ) that say that if a family in every other church were licensed foster parents and accepted placements, the foster system would be empty. We can’t hear this and ignore that!

The best thing we can do is play our part in meeting that need. This isn’t us being on a high horse. But, this is a sobering reality and an urgent need. As Christians, people called to demonstrate the love of God for each other and a lost world, we cannot neglect to care for the poor, needy, and oppressed. Why aren’t we doing everything we can to empty the system?

We genuinely feel as if the Lord has equipped us to do foster care. You can start by taking up the call and doing it yourself!

One Degree Shift

Listen to next week’s episode- but, before you do, watch this 6-minute clip from Francis Chan titled “The REAL American Dream.” Pray about what it looks like to care for foster children for you!

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