I met a little boy named Marcos eight years ago. God used him to put a calling on my life that would be my daily driving force: to advocate for, fight for, and love orphaned and vulnerable children as my own. The calling that God put on my life on that fateful day at an orphanage in Guatemala has driven me each and every day, though it definitely has not led me where I thought it would.
Despite our change in location, God’s call for our family to care for vulnerable children has been unmistakable through it all. The wait has been long: waiting for marriage, to finish grad school, to move to Guatemala, and then the unplanned move back to the States. It seemed like being able to love and care for vulnerable children in our own home would never be a reality. However, after a year of sorting through our unexpected move back to the U.S., we finally started our foster care training last night! To say we are excited is an understatement.
We have waited so long to announce that to the world. We are ready and expectant for the big adventure of loving deeper and getting “too attached.” If we receive a placement, our family will definitely have more seats filled at our table and put the minivan to good use. However, though our family will expand for a season, we are not growing our family through foster care. Don’t mishear me. Our family believes fully in the redemption of adoption and its picture of Christ’s love for us, and we will be honored to adopt one day if a child in our home needs us to fill that role, but we are not using foster care as a means to add to the Roberts Tribe.
We aren’t growing our family through foster care. We are offering our family for foster care.
Foster care is not in any way about us. Foster care by design is a safe haven for children while their family is in crisis. It will require sacrifice for each and every member of our family. There will be sleepless nights, traumas that we do not understand, and uncertain futures in the hands of the court. Our boys will have to share their home, their toys, and their Mommy and Daddy. It will be downright hard for all of us. So why do it? Because Jesus did the same for us.
Jesus looked down on our brokenness and helplessness and did not push us away. Instead, He came down into the hard and the broken. He loved us deeply despite the mess. He came to serve and to rescue, moving near to the sick and the outcast. In doing so, He gave us hope and a future. The ultimate love story. If I want to be like Jesus, I have to do the same. Jason Johnson of Christian Alliance for Orphans once said, “I can’t lift my hands and worship a God who moves towards us in our sin and use those same hands to push the broken away from us.”
To offer our family for foster care is an act of worship in seeking to be more like Him. I think that as followers of Christ, we need to change our dialogue about foster care. Foster care is not about us and how our families can grow from it.
When our motive for engaging in foster care is to be like Jesus, it makes it so much easier to get “too attached” and do the hard things. We don’t have to hold our hearts back because we know that He holds our heart and won’t forsake us even through the most broken and painful moments. Children and teens in care need so many more Christ followers to consider offering their families. Will you offer yours?