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May was foster care awareness month. And I wanted to write something all month. But the words would not come. I wrote and re-wrote and trashed posts in my head all month attempting to come up with just the right words. I am finally convinced that the right words just do not exist. And I have to write this anyway. So. Here I am again. Baring my soul and my convictions for all to see. And as I do, my prayer is that you see Jesus.

A few months ago, I wrote this post about how you can participate in foster care without being foster parents. These things are just as important as the role of foster parent. And while I still believe that not everyone is called to participate in foster care as a foster parent, I firmly believe more people have been called than are currently offering their homes to children.

There are approximately 314,000 protestant churches in the US. I have attempted to find the approximate breakdown for Louisiana and Lafayette parish. Based on extremely scientific research, there are a lot. You’re welcome. Let’s just say there is an average of 100 people per church. And get real. Some of those churches average thousands. That totals somewhere in the neighborhood of 31 million people. I wrote this post about 2 years ago with the most up-to-date foster care statistics at that time. I have been working with our home development worker to get current statistics for this post but haven’t had any luck. But things have not changed much in regard to the numbers since that post 2 years ago. And in case you’re like me and rarely click the links in posts, the short of it is this: There are over 400,000 kids in the system with over 100,000 of those free for adoption.

All of the numbers talk to say this: This should not even be an issue. DCFS should be turning people away because they have too many people wanting to care for these children. With the number of churches and professing Christians in the US, we should be doing more. Praying is not enough. Giving clothes is not enough. Giving food is not enough. There should be more men and women in the middle of the battle. There should be more homes than kids, not the other way around. All the people in all the churches in all the land might not be called to foster care and/or adoption.

But I’m willing to bet that a whole lot more have been called than have answered.

I did some extremely scientific research and asked my friends on Facebook what fears/concerns/questions they would have if someone called and said some kids would be coming to stay for a while. Some had practical concerns. {What do I need to have for them? Do I need to be prepared to care for sickness? Will they be going to the same school? Do they have any allergies? How long will they be staying? Etc.} Others allowed themselves to be extremely vulnerable in sharing their fears and concerns. {I can barely handle my own. How broken will this leave me when they are taken away from our home? How will this affect my own kids? How will this affect my time? How will this affect my finances? What will other people think?}

Fear is a deadly deterrent. Just think back to the Garden. Adam and Eve were fearful that God was keeping His best from them. Their fear led to their sin. And often, our fear leads to our sin. Fear isn’t a sin in and of itself. It is our action or inaction in the face of fear that is the sin.

It is allowing our fear to deter us from obedience that is the sin.

And I get it. I really do. I was where you are. I’m the girl who said I would never adopt through the foster system. I was completely against it. Some days I’m still scared. It is scary. It is uncertain. It is hard. It is time consuming. It is exhausting. It is excruciatingly hard. I want to give up all the time. I want to go back to my nice little life before I knew. Before my family was taken on the ride of our lives. Before our lives were filled with messy, chaotic, uncertain days. But once you know, you can’t go back and just not know.

So here we are. This is my challenge, my charge, my rebuke. Call it whatever you like. But, dear people, we are not doing enough. I can’t tell you how many times I hear, “I wish I could do what you do.” Then do it. What is it, exactly, that is so unique about what we do? We just open our chaotic, messy, broken, imperfect home and hearts to kids who need it. We stepped out of the boat and started walking toward Jesus. And most of the time, I am like Peter and I start looking at all the waves around me. We don’t have a big enough car. We don’t have enough beds. What if we get hurt…again? What if our boys get hurt…again? What will people say about us? I don’t have enough time. How will we manage? And sometimes these waves overwhelm. And everyday we have to cry out to the Master of the waves to help us. But at least we got out of the boat.

Do not let your fear of the waves keep you from getting out of the boat.

Our pastor has been preaching on what it means to be a disciple for a few weeks now. Each week, I’m reminded of how it relates to this foster care journey. After Jud’s most recent injury, we took ourselves off the call list for new placements for a little while. And it was so nice. I won’t lie. No doctors appointments trying to explain why I don’t have insurance cards or medical histories. No court dates. No family visits. No lawyer visits. No home visits. No running around like a crazy person. Ok. Maybe I still did this. But you get the point. And I wondered if we could just walk away from it all. I wondered if we could go back to our normal-ish lives and take care of the 2 kids we have and just forget the world. And then our pastor preached this sermon. On the day after we got back from vacation and it would have been super easy to just sleep in. On the day we were supposed to be in nursery with all the church babes. But instead we found ourselves sitting there listening to a call to obedience, once again.

I don’t know about you guys, but I have to be called to obedience over and over and over. Because I am selfish. I want to do things my way. I want to have a comfortable life of ease. But like I said before, I cannot suddenly not know. Even if my humanity could, Jesus will not allow it. So I found myself sitting through a message about how disciples do not desire a life of ease and comfort over the things of Jesus. And I was reminded of all the things I know about foster care. I was reminded of the kids who find themselves in situations that require them to leave their families and go live with perfect strangers. They can’t just walk away from all the appointments and the shuffling back & forth and the inconvenience and the utter heartache of it all. So how can I? How can I go back to my life of ease and comfort and normalcy when they can’t? And that’s how we ended up back on the call list.

My question to you, kind people, is this: how can you? How can you go back to your normal, comfortable, easy lives when you know there are kids who can’t? There are kids that you potentially have room for, physically & emotionally and you just keep on walking? People are called to different things, yes. Absolutely. And you may not be called to foster care. And that’s ok.

But some of you are and you’re too comfortable to listen.

There should be far more believers actively caring for these kids. Housing them. Advocating for them. Mentoring them. Grieving with them and for them. And loving them.

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 1 John 3:17

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