Julie and I are now licensed for foster care in the state of Ohio. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that we would be headed down this path.
Because we are licensed care givers, we will occasionally receive a call for respite. Respite care is simply to take a child into our home for a short period of time to give the foster parents a much needed and deserved break.
This past Tuesday we received a call. A 10 year old little girl needed a home from Tuesday night through the following Monday morning. We’ll call the little girl Mary (not her real name). As you can imagine, this is a very busy time for our family. Tuesday night through Monday morning seemed like an impossibly long time to open our home and care for a troubled child. Not to mention, she lived 45 minutes away. We would have to drive her to school each morning and then pick her up in the afternoon. She had her school Christmas program on Thursday evening as well. We thought that we could easily turn this one down.
Until we began to pray about it. And then, independently of one another, both Julie and I came to the same conclusion: If following Jesus really is about caring for orphans in their time of need, then how could we even think about closing our home? We called our caseworker and told her we would be happy to have Mary in our household.
Tuesday afternoon our caseworker returned our phone call to tell us that Mary would only need respite care from Friday afternoon through Sunday evening. Strange, but we were disappointed.
Friday came, and in the middle of the afternoon our caseworker called us once again. Mary would not be coming to stay with us after all. The caseworkers felt it in her best interest to place her in residential care at the Christian Children’s Home of Ohio. CCHO is an amazing place that provides cottage group living to troubled children. Ten year old Mary will be there at least through Christmas.
What does a ten year old have to go through to act out so intensely that she can’t live in a “normal” caring home environment? She has been placed in and removed from three foster homes in the past year. I find myself praying for Mary’s healing. Praying that she will find a forever family.
Julie and I both realize that this journey will be filled with challenges, pain and much, much prayer. We are also absolutely convinced that this is exactly where God wants us. It is very, very close to the heart of God.
Your blog has really touched me this morning. My heart is literally aching for Mary. I sit as I write this in a beautiful home which is decorated with all the warmth of Christmas. My 105 lb. yellow lab, Buddy, lays on my feet and the smell of cinnamon fills the room. Oh how I would love to have Mary sit by our tree, petting Buddy’s soft coat, tell her the Christmas story and show her the love of Jesus. I think it is amazing what you and Julie are doing for these children. Oh how that Wes Stafford and God has changed us. I will put Mary on my prayer list of children that I lift up to God to care for and protect. I know it is not her real name but as Tommy Walker says HE knows her name.
So my brother,
God leads us down the same path again. A friend of mine Brian Mavis who now works for Ric Rusaw and ran sermoncentral.com for awhile. Got me to really praying about and pondering this issue. We just talked about the foster care/adoption issue in America less than 2 weeks ago. He and his wife are intimately involved in this type of missional work.
He referred me to a government run website, and pointed out the fact that ALL children needing homes were to be listed on this site. However, his real point was that of the 800 kids in Colorado alone, only 90 were listed on the site. It is a sad, sad situation. Being a product of the foster care system and having lived in a Children’s home for 7 1/2 years myself – these stories just tear at my heart.
Then just last night I had a discussion with a couple in our church who are adopting twins from Haiti and just found out their pregnant too (That’s going to be fun! :-)), and we talked about adoptions of American children. They brought up an issue that I was not aware of, and that 70-80% of the original parents petition to get the kids back years later; and the problems that brings up for the adoptive parents. I have to verify that, but that was a problem I did no foresee or was aware of? My counterpoint was to them however, was that God gave those children to any adoptive parents for a period of time for a reason. Make the best of whatever time you get with them. In a strange way, I could feel that way about our daughter Megan. Her real Dad called her home, and we as her adopted parents were to Love her as He would – that is all we can do.
Anyway.., it is my hope that our local community mission work in the Lehigh Valley will be heavily involved in this area; and globally working with Orphans of Aids in Africa and beyond.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I Love the heart God has given you! Rock on my brother!
So many times we have such good ideas and intentions, but we don’t follow through with them. When the time comes to deliver, we cut and run instead. Yep, there’s a difference between talking the talk and actually WALKING the talk.
Feels good to pass a test, don’t it? =D