Before Dave and I got married, we both had a heart for children, both our future ones, and other people's. I had read an article about prisoners with children, who after a certain period of time, lost the rights to their children. So I thought, hey, let's be foster parents for prisoner's kids, and keep them involved in their parent's lives until they get out, so they can keep the connection. So, we went through foster parent training, along with regular parent training (aka having kids.)
We were advised by some prison ministry workers not to follow through with our idea of helping prisoner's children maintain contact. So, we kind of let that thought go, and just went into the regular foster care system, where you get a call at any time of day or night to come pick up some kids.
Despite many challenges in our lives up to that point, foster parenting is the toughest thing on earth, it just is. Maybe not for everyone, but for Dave and me, it was the hardest thing we've ever been through. The hard parts included, but were not limited to: the amount of time to attend to each foster child's needs for parent visits, counseling visits, doctor and dentist appointments, school appointments (since you can't homeschool foster children in Illinois) etc.; the implact of the foster childrens' behavior upon our children; the significant emotional turmoil the foster children go through, and dealing with that on an almost hourly basis.
Now, God, who has adopted us, does not go through these things. Even though Ephesians 1:5 says he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—, he does not have time constraints, love constraints, mercy constraints, or wisdom constraints. We do, and we don't. James 1:5 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."
This past Saturday, we received a letter from a case worker in Pennsylvania, asking us to give an account of a sibling pair we had back in 2002, so they could have this information when they were adults. The letter broke my heart. The last we had heard from these children, they had been returned to their home and their mother and older sister. Apparently, that is no longer the case.
Dave and I both, separately, had the same inclination...get those kids back! Let them know they were missed, and loved, and can have a home here. So, we decided to pray for a month for the Lord's wisdom and guidance about this weighty matter. We took out a pile of photos we had taken of them with our family, and will send copies of those along with the paperwork.
Having three children of our own, and seeing how much they each depend upon us for love, acceptance, learning, daily needs, etc., it's heartbreaking to even think about a child who does not know the stability and love of a permanent home with their parents.
But then again, this is not our permanent home. Philippians 3:20-21 "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." Still, the Lord allows us to have earthly homes and wants us to love and teach our children. So, in Christ, we are adopted, and this is a saving adoption, a redeeming adoption, a life or death adoption. The other kind of adoption, human to human, should be no less saving, redeeming, or life affirming. The only way to do it is through the power of God. James 1:27 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
So, stay tuned to see how the Lord leads us in this matter…and pray, please pray.
Next Time: Our Reverse Garfield
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