The Bible calls us to be missional. The entire preface of the Bible, the story of the gospel, is for us to GO. We are called to talk to people, invite people into our lives. So much of my life has been spent not being missional. Sure I've worked in positions that allowed me to help people. I've been a social worker. I've fought for children and families. I've helped individuals get through the tangled web that is the foster care approval process. But I've done all those things as my job, as what I say I am called to. Still I've been able to clock out and leave it all behind.
Stepping out in faith and beginning the approval process for foster care has shattered my ability to leave it all behind. Instead, I'm constantly fired up. I'm ready to take on this challenge. I want to share my story with people. I get angry when people say things about wondering why we're fostering. And I get protective of the 9,000+ children in the state custody of Oklahoma.
This is why I went to work for the state right out of college. This is why God entwined my story with Justin's. This is why I've been placed at the church we attend.
My heart is for the orphan. All of them. For the children who are forgotten. For the children who have never been loved. For the children who need someone to fight for them. For the children who, at no fault of their own, have been born into situations more difficult than we can imagine. And I've tried to think of how to express my heart without hurting people's feelings. I've tried to be understanding that foster care is "new" to people we know. I've tried to accept that we are weird because of how we're growing our family.
And so I've had writer's block. Because all I can think about is foster care and orphan care. I'm consumed with fear, excitement, and God's peace over inviting two children into our family. I'm distancing myself from people who don't support us because I simply find it hard to be around them. And I'm determined to make sure that these kids, the ones in our home and the others in custody, know that they are loved.
If people are going to say hurtful things to me, ask me questions that sting, chances are I won't want our kids around them. Because I refuse for any child to feel that they are less than simply because of how they joined our family. And I feel like a lot of people look at those of us who foster as less than. Which is not how it should be. (NOTE: We have a lot of wonderfully supportive people. I thank God for them every single day. We could not do this without them.)
Just because you don't give birth to a child does not make you less of a mother. Just because a child may leave your home does not make them less a part of your family. Just because we're not having a baby of our own right now does not mean we are not parents.
I could honestly go on and on. I know not everyone is called to foster or adopt. But everyone is called to care for the orphan. So if you aren't one who wants or could foster or adopt, then support those who are.
(PS: For those of you who don't know, we will have two children in our home by the middle of May. A teenager and a toddler. We start our classes in May, we finally got our initial house assessment approved, and all of our paperwork is turned in. Any questions about our decision to foster? Feel free to email me. Want to help us? Feel free to email me as well. We have quite a few needs as the children that are in foster care generally enter homes with nothing. Want to help in other ways? Feel free to email me. I can give you a whole list of ways to help in Oklahoma.)