about the kids–a redemption story

Monday, February 4, 2013

This post was in the works awhile ago, and when I read a couple other posts on the topic, (not to mention the trauma of moving Baby D right now) it seemed incredibly timely. If you want more perspectives on the effects of fostering on families, please visit this post at This High Calling.


Inevitably, when talking about foster care with anyone, the question comes back around to ‘our’ kids. What about them? What is this doing to them? Are they even safe? Don’t you have to consider the cost they’re paying?

We do. We have. The cost is great, this we know, but the rewards are far greater. It’s sort of unfair because they don’t really have a choice in this whole thing. They’re completely carried along in our journey, yet as integral a part of it as Wendell and I. We’re living this story as a family. We welcome as a family. We help to heal as a family. And over these next three days, we say goodbye as a family.

We cry together. We yell at each other because apparently the default position when faced with stress and grief is mad. (For all of us, unfortunately.) After the yelling, there’s many tears and much apologizing and talk about kindness and grace and letting us all just be sad and it’s ok. I was unprepared for how difficult it would be to shepherd our children through this grief. How helpless you feel when you can’t make it better. A sweet and godly friend who had lost both a child and a grandchild once shared with me that watching her daughter grieve the death of her child was far worse than grieving the death of her own child because she was grieving twice – once for her grandchild and once for her daughter. I get a tiny bit of that right now. Watching my children grieve this in their messy, childlike ways is far worse than it would be to grieve this loss on my own.

We know it’s hard. So when we talk to them, we tell them they’re doing a good job. That they’re awesome at this. Partly because they really and truly are, partly because it’s in our souls to aspire to be that which we are named. We tell them they were made to be a part of our family’s story, that our family’s story is just one part of the Great Big Story, and that they have such an important and essential role to play in it. One that no one else can do.

There is nothing Wendell and I want more than for our children to learn to live lives of sacrifice. Lives of love that cause them to lay down their lives in passionate pursuit of the One who not only called us but also showed us by example to do that very thing. Those are exactly the lessons they’re learning right now. There’s no earthly glory here. There’s no special title, no foster sibling appreciation day. This isn’t what the churchy people will call ‘the ministry’ or ‘missions'. The benefit of all that is that this not a theoretical pursuit for our children. They won’t grow up, leave our home, and have any question as to what a life of obedience may cost them. Is that not exactly what we should be wanting for our kids?

There’s a depth to our children that they wouldn’t have had if we hadn’t followed through with this calling. There’s a certain maturity to their souls that only going through hard things can develop. They are compassionate, empathetic defenders of the poor and powerless. They are fighters for justice, even if they don’t realize it. They are lovers of those most vulnerable and defenseless. They already know what it’s like to live in the messy corners of this world.

We’ve been confronted about their safety. We hear that, and we agree. Our children are not safe. They are definitely put at risk, but what has become so very powerful to us in this season is this: They are not scared. They welcome with open arms; they share without reservation. They go into homes, not at all like ours, and come out with only compliments and no judgments. They courageously share their opinions, their passion for this calling with anyone who asks. They charge ahead without hesitation, loving with their whole hearts.

We know this work isn’t pretty. We know it’s not safe. We know our kids are facing pain and risk that a lot of kids will never face in their childhoods. Here’s what I’m getting at though – it’s not about us. It’s about how our family’s story is one of many telling one great big Story – the Story of a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever love. The Story where God loves his children and comes to rescue them.*

This is a story about redemption.

*text from Sally Lloyd-Jones in the Jesus Storybook Bible

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