Thursday, October 24, 2013

Foster Care, Adoption, Davion Only, and the Church

Warning: This post has been written from my soapbox.

Will the real body of Christ please stand up?  Will God's children please put down your hymnals, and live out the words you're singing: "Hast Thou, O Lord, a work to do?
Here am I, send me! The field is white, the lab’rers few, Here am I, send me."
Why do we, who claim loyalty to Christ, who preaches the gospel (the adoption of the lost and hopeless into the family of God through His sweet amazing grace), and who are supposed to be known for our love - lack the faith to open our home, our hearts, and our lives to the lost and helpless little souls who need us most?  Why does a 15 year old boy need to borrow a suit and tie and march into a church to advocate for his own needs?  Shame on us that the hurting need to come hunt us down in our pews and appeal to our guilt.  We are Christ's body - his earthly members.  We should be obedient, attentive, and seeking ways to minister one to another.
Yes, foster/adoption can be scary, intimidating, and complicated. But, perfect love casts out fear.  We find perfect love only in Christ.  We are to be His vessels - willing vessels. Willing to take risk, take action, and take on the burdens of others in obedience. When Peter told Jesus he loved Him, Christ challenged him to prove it with his actions. He commanded, "Then feed my sheep."  So, how shameful it is that we sit singing "O how I love Jesus" with nothing to show for it.  There is work to be done, church.  If we can't taken an orphan in, we should be praying for those who can. If we can't offer a bed, we should offer a meal, clothing, supplies, or encouragement to those who will.  We shouldn't wait until Davion Only comes strolling in to our congregation and begs for a home, for his own pillow, for someone to love him. 

I pray that the Lord will work through the publicity afforded this young man in his search for a family.  I pray that it will be an awakening in our sleeping churches - that we will rise in obedience and show our love for Christ in our care for others.
Please read this amazing testimony of an adoptee who has benefitted from Christ's healing power in the home of those willing to love:  Thirty

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Adoption Update: Going In To Battle - 10.9.2013

I know this journey with us has been a wild ride. We have tried to obey the Lord's call each time we've been asked to take a step in faith. You have all been so gracious to follow along with each change. Most recently Charlie and I described the risk in the term “legal risk”, assuring you that the hope of adoption would be worth it in the end. Now, two months out, our hearts have been turned again.  Not away from that risk as logic would dictate, but straight toward it - in faith.

Charlie has felt the draw to enter this spiritual battle for some time and in response to some news articles regarding the typical caliber of foster parents in some states, the quality of care offered these temporary orphans, and the brokenness of the system itself, Charlie finally declared “This is war. We need to foster.”

My heart took a little more tugging.  This past week I was led to Psalm 10:18: Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear: To judge (vindicate) the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress (terrify).”

My heart soared as I thought of our great God vindicating the fatherless and oppressed… I thought, Charlie is right – this is war! The enemy must be defeated! Send in the soldiers!  …But then I realized we were the soldiers.  I cowardly listed off as many excuses I could think of to disqualify us for battle.  Fostering is a deep, dark world. We’re not ready. We can’t do it. It’s too risky.  It’s too hearbreaking. Aren’t there other soldiers you can send?  I read Psalm 11 and hid behind David’s apprehension: “…how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain? For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart.” See? It’s too dangerous.  It’s hopeless.

 As I struggled with the fear that came naturally and the faith that had failed, I glanced again at Psalm 11:1 and realized I had totally skipped the first line. The conviction came immediately: In the Lord I put my trust.” 

The Holy Spirit continued to work on my heart… until I turned from the fear….until I stood in faith...until I was ready to put on the armor and fight.  Tuesday night when Charlie got home from his FBI (Faith Bible Institute) class I shared with him how I had spent all evening in the Word and God had given me courage to face our new battle.  He looked surprised and said, “That is so weird. The whole time at class tonight I just had this feeling of peace, like we are ready for it now.” 

We meet with our caseworker on Thursday (the 17th) to open our home to foster placements.

To clarify the difference between our original license and this one….A foster home is to be ready for emergency placements upon need.  These children come in to care for refuge while the courts work out their home lives -for better or for worse. They need immediate care and comfort; some will arrive with only the clothes on their back. We see this is as an opportunity to teach Tessie the principles of Matthew 25:35-40 and purpose to share as much truth and love with them as we can while they remain in our care – whether that means 2 days or 2 years.

Letting go of the hope of forever and focusing on the need of today is bigger than we thought we would ever be ready for. It is something God has readied our hearts for bit by bit as we grew in courage and faith.  Tess is older now. She understands the process and has healthy expectations of potential loss. We believe she will gain great strength from the trials ahead as we all grow. Since her temporary siblings will all be younger than her, we are hoping that Tess’ calm nature and example will be a benefit to them as their hearts are healing. 

We ask for your prayers.  Please pray for victories, for resolve, for faith.  Pray that we always remember to put our trust in the Lord – no matter the circumstance, no matter the enemy.  We know our God is bigger than this system. We know as His soldiers, we don’t get to choose the battle we are called to.  We are simply to lay down our lives in obedience to the great Commander.

Our prayer for each child we care for will be for a miraculous restoration of their family and a healthy reunification.  We know this will mean heartbreak for us each time we have to say goodbye.  We are trusting the Lord to use each transition/loss to grow our faith and show us a little more about what it meant to give up His son for us.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)