November 20, 2015

Foster Care Fridays: First Placement

Well, it's been a whirlwind week.  We found out last week that we would be getting our first placement early this week.  After a crazy mix-up of dates, we had 2 kiddos placed with us on Tuesday evening.  This week has been fun, exhausting, exciting, overwhelming, joy-filled, and heartbreaking.  We've been so grateful to friends reaching out to us, for being covered in prayer by our community, and for making it to Friday night!

So as we just finished tucking our new kiddos into bed for the fourth night in a row, I thought I'd share this excerpt from The Beauty and Brokenness of Foster Care.  I've only read the first chapter of the book, but as we prepared and waited and talked to people about this next stage for us, I felt like this summed it up pretty well.  I had lunch with my best friend on Monday and we talked about the fact that they were excited for us, knowing that this was the culmination of a lot of prayer and work for us, but they also knew that for these kiddos it's not an exciting time.  And that's the heart of it all--it is beautiful and it is broken.  I'm thankful to have a God who can make broken things beautiful.

Everything about foster care is equal parts good and bad, joy and sorrow, beauty and brokenness. It’s a good day when a child is placed in your home. It represents safety, security and an opportunity for a child to be loved and cared for in a way they likely would not have had available to them otherwise. It’s indeed a good day when a child is placed in your home – it’s also a really bad day. It’s a day marked by hurt and brokenness, although so much gain has been made available to a child, it’s ultimately loss that has led them to that point. Generational cycles of brokenness within families have perpetuated themselves now into the next generation – abuse, neglect and abandonment have become a part of their stories. They didn’t ask for this; it was unjustly handed to them by those who were responsible to protect them from the very things they’ve now been harmed by. While the opportunity to love these kids is good, no doubt the circumstances that brought them to us are probably very, very bad. This is where the call to foster care begins and the perspective it demands we keep in order to rightly and lovingly care for vulnerable kids well.

As excited as we may be about fostering kids, they certainly aren’t excited about being foster kids. Our personal sense of excitement does not drive our efforts. Their personal tragedy does. Heartache does. A desire to see good come out of bad does. A willingness to embrace what is broken and do whatever it takes to bring healing does. There may be days that aren’t exciting. Quite frankly, there will be days that aren’t exciting at all. They’ll actually be very, very hard. You will be forced on several occasions to step back and ask yourself an important and necessary question – “Why are we doing this?” ... It’s in moments like these that you must press more deeply into your belief that the gospel is nothing if not a demonstration of Jesus’ ability to bring great beauty out of tragic brokenness. That’s why you’re doing this. This is why we do foster care. It has to be. Our personal level of excitement cannot sustain us in this. The gospel can. …the gospel is nothing if not a demonstration of Jesus’ ability to bring great beauty out of tragic brokenness. Foster care is interceding into dark stories in order to bring light into them. It’s advocating the cause of the helpless, seeking justice for the defenseless and maintaining the rights of the oppressed. This is what Jesus has done for us. We, therefore, are compelled to do the same for them. What you are doing is beautiful, not in spite of the brokenness that surrounds it but because of it. It’s upon the backdrop of darkness that light shines the brightest. Know that if it’s for just a few days or for an entire lifetime, you’ve been given the unique opportunity to offer a child something very, very beautiful in the midst of their brokenness – love. God is using you, a mere human, to solve a seemingly insurmountable human problem. Confusion, frustration and exhaustion are inevitable and unavoidable – but God is faithful and good and right there with you.
From The Beauty and Brokenness of Foster Care by Jason Johnson

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