As of last week, I am officially a foster care recruiter. I say officially because I feel like ever since we became Family Teachers 2 and a half years ago, we have been advocating for foster care and have shared the joys and hardships with anyone who will listen. We’ve been unofficially recruiting people for years, but now I have a business card that says it’s my job. This has forced me to think about and answer the question of why foster care is important. 3 years ago, my answer was “because my wife said so.” Since then it has taken over my life in the craziest and best way.
We were at a conference this weekend, and the opening speaker, Jason Johnson, spent Friday night talking about why we do foster care. It boiled down to this – Why foster care? Because Jesus.
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God, but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantage of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death – and the worst kind of death at that – a crucifixion. (Philippians 2:5-8 MSG)
We can do hard things because Jesus did hard things. Foster care is hard, no doubt. But you can do it.
What if you don’t love Jesus? Why should you do foster care? I believe whole heartedly that everyone should know and love the Jesus that I know and love, but I’m also wise enough to know that not everybody thinks like me. There are plenty of reasons to do foster care that aren’t spiritual. Foster care is a chance to love someone who has never felt loved. It’s the opportunity to meet a need in your community and show love to neighbors and coworkers by caring for their kids when they’re struggling. Being a foster parent exposes your children to a life of service and teaches them to live for others, not just for themselves. Maybe your childhood wasn’t great, you can use that experience to help a child who has gone through some of the same things, and to provide a positive, loving, home environment that you may have never had.
It’s said that if you can help raise a child, you don’t have to spend years repairing an adult. Regardless of your motivation, whether it’s spiritual or not, you have the chance to make the world a better place. Helping kids now will reduce the likelihood of serious issues when they’re adults. Teen pregnancy, violence, homelessness, and many other societal problems can be reduced or avoided if we can give kids the best start we can. If they experience appropriate love and acceptance from birth, they will have better views of themselves and others, which will make the world a better place.
Long story short – You should be involved in foster care. As us how.