Being “salt and light” (Matthew 5: 13-16) in a dark world is not easy. There are so many issues that need light brought to them. It’s hard to listen to the still small voice to find what path to be that light on.
PLANTING OF THE SEED
I couldn’t tell you when foster care fell on my heart but I could probably guess when the seed was planted. There was a group of girls that took a trip to Pennsylvania when I was a teenager. One of our missions was we were helping some nuns in a foster care house. I talked to one of the boys there (I think he was 8 or 9) that was removed from his mom. He opened up to me and was confused on some aspects of why he was there. I tried to explain to him the best I could at that age what was going on. I fell in love with that place. I asked one of the nuns what I would have to major in to work there and she told me “Emotionally Impaired” because it was a house for wards of the court. Hence, I went to school for that. (The funny thing is I never did work there.)
Also, around that same time frame, I got a message to “gather my lost sheep”. Yup, it confused me. I didn’t know what the heck THAT meant. I just assumed that it tied into teaching. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. I remember playing school in our basement with my sisters and I taught them what I know. (That’s why they are super smart).
NOW, it is all coming together. God’s timing is not our timing that is for sure. NOW, I realize, all my schooling and years of teaching were just preparation to be a foster parents.
It is no secret that my husband and I are Pro-Life. I had a friend ask me what we were doing to support females that decide not to have an abortion and not just preach to them. At that time, we were trying to gather our paperwork and meet fire code in SC which I told her. She said “At least you are trying to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.” That made me stop and think. How many times as Christians do we just preach and there is no action behind it? Jesus surely didn’t do that. He loved the unlovable and healed those that may or may not have deserved it. He prayed for his enemies and forgave those who did not deserve it all while he hanged, broken and tortured, on a cross.
Sure, we could have donated money to an organization that houses foster or abandon kids but kids need love, wisdom and support to develop into decent human beings. Now don’t get me wrong, people that work in those types of housing situations are good people but I’m sure they are spread quite thin. I tip my hat to them!
Anyway, my point is there are some issues that you cannot just throw money at it. You actually have to take action.
I’M GETTING TO MY POINT I SWEAR!!
According to the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, there is really no official directory of church congregations. It is hard to actually count churches because thousands of churches open each year. They estimate that there are roughly 350,000 religious congregations in the US. They pulled their data from the Religious Congregation Membership Study from 2010 census. (http://hirr.hartsem.edu/research/fastfacts/fast_facts.html)
An article written by Mary Fairchild has that there are 247 million (about 78%) of the US adults identify themselves as Christians. (http://christianity.about.com/od/denominations/p/christiantoday.htm) I did not see when this article was written.
According to the Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Your and Families and Children’s Bureau November 2013, Issue 20 “The AFCARS Report”, on September 30, there were 397,122 children in foster care. Only 108,379 of those children are with relatives. (http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/afcarsreport20.pdf)
This is my point and if my math is correct. If less than 1% of those self-identified Christians took in one kid, we wouldn’t have a foster care issue in the United States.
I realize it is easier said than done. Trust me; it’s crossed my mind and my husbands about our safety and our future kid’s safety. I’ve taught at least one foster care kid that chilled me to the bone. HOWEVER, think about this. How many kids have lost their parents from death, drugs, or stupid behavior but have the potential to be good kids with enough love?
Anyway, I am going to attempt to blog about our journey as much as I can and the law will allow about the process of becoming a foster parent. After seeing those stats, it’s pretty obvious there are plenty of lost sheep to gather. I hope that this will encourage some people, with good hearts to look into fostering a child.
I’m just going to leave these here: James 1:27, Deuteronomy 14:29, Ezekiel 22 (read the whole chapter but really I’m referring to 6-7)