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.