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July 18, 2007

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Ginnie

What a wonderful idea. I will be praying that you and the other two women will be matched according to God's will. May His hand be upon the matching process and the mentoring of the individuals He places in your life.

Laura in KY

Sounds like a wonderful ministry! In addition to parenting our biological children, we are also foster parents. We will be completing the adoption of our 2 little foster boys within the next few months. Due to our family dynamics at this time, we cannot foster older children. However, there is a great need for Godly guidance for these abused and neglected children. So glad that you are taking this on! Hopefully others will follow!

Lisa Brown

Congratulations on becoming a foster mentor. The aging out of foster children from the foster care system is a real concern, and you are to be commended for your willingness to make yourself available to help. Best Wishes to you as you begin your journey. If you can be a good friend and advisor to this young adult, not in a condescending or patronizing way, but in a kind, encouraging way, you will be doing a marvelous work for the Lord. Foster children are often shuffled from one home to another. They have no grounding. For such a young adult to have someone like you in his/her life, it could be a major turning point for them. To have someone who will faithfully commit to them and help them get started in life, especially someone with a Christian worldview, could make all the difference in the world. It could be the one single thing that causes them to be a success in life, rather than another statistic, someone who started out in the foster care system, and ended up in jail. To have someone show them the love of Christ at this vulnerable point in life is a great thing, and may God bless you richly for this.
I myself was formerly a CASA, a Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused and neglected children. A CASA is an unpaid volunteer charged with representing the child's best interest in court. I had the priviledge to have been able to help place a child in an adoptive home. That day in court when the Judge pronounced "my child" adopted into his former foster parent's home was an extremely fulfilling one for me. However, it was nowhere near as fulfilling as the day my own daughter was born. Not even close.
I must say that I do not agree with those who say that the married middle class is "shooting up on the American dream" leaving the poor, widows, and orphans behind in the dust. I most vehemently disagree. My husband and I are supporting seven sponsored children, while on my salary as a single woman, I was only able to support one. I say these things not to brag, but only to defend myself and millions of other married Christian people. One of my sponsored children lives in Rwanda. I had been saving money for two years in order to build her a house, instead of the mud and grass hovel she was living in. As you can imagine, it is quite a large donation for a middle class person to make. I did not have nearly enough. Last fall, for our fifth wedding anniversary, my husband, seeing how important it was to me, offered to come up with the difference as part of his anniversary gift to me. The fact that we were able to help build a new home for her means so much more to me than some diamond jewelry or trinket ever could. Again, I am not bragging or trying to set myself up as some perfect person, because I most certainly am not. But I am tired of reading these accusations about the married middle class---very rarely does anyone ever come to their defense. With the rise of internet donations, the American middle class has been able to intervene and be of help to millions of needy people all over the world in a way that is unprecedented in human history.
I was single for 37 years, and my daughter was born when I was 40. I tried everything under the sun to "be content" with the single life. I went back to school, got a teaching certificate, and did my student teaching in the inner city. I studied music therapy and worked with the elderly and developmentally disabled. I volunteered with the homeless. I traveled to Romania to volunteer to help orphans who had been abandoned by their parents. All this time I'm desperately praying to God to either let me be married, or take my desires for a husband away. We are talking about years that this went on. Finally, I got up off my rear end and joined a Christian singles service. I was married in 10 months. My husband and I are NOT perfect people, we are sinners in need of God's grace and forgiveness just like everyone else. But the idea that "good works" can make up for the lack of a husband and your own children--for most women, this will not be the case. Again, Best Wishes to you on what will certainly be a rewarding endeavor for you. May God bless you. Sincerely, Lisa Brown.

lisa

2 1/2 years ago we adopted twins that were 2 1/2 years old. They were abused and neglected so severely that all they could say was "momma" and "more" as they hoarded food and called even my husband and other children "momma". They were so confused and completely out of control. You see, they had just been in 6 different foster homes in 6 months and their bio mom's rights were justifiably stripped from CPS.
It has not been an easy road... and neither will this ministry road that the Lord has put in your path. As hard as it has been, it has been so worth it. The twins have come a long way and to God be all the glory for that. I praise God that He has prepared your heart for such a ministry and will do my best to remember you in my prayers.

Tara Barthel

Wonderful post! Thanks for this call and reminder.

We have many testimonies of adoption/foster care in our church, but one stands out in my heart ...

One of the directors at Peacemaker Ministries was seated next to a teenage girl on a cross-country flight and they began visiting. It turns out that she was a Christian teenager who had lived pretty much her entire life in foster care/group homes.

Only knowing her first name and that she was headed to some group home in [name of state], he and his wife could not get her out of their hearts, minds, and prayers.

So they sought her out.

Months & forms & approval processes later, they adopted her.

Their adult children welcomed her as their sister and her parents walked her around their home and said, "This is your home now. This is your room. These are your books, furniture, dishes ... see? Everything we have, it is yours now."

Our church family embraced her the exact same way ... and of course? SHE has ministered to US far more than any of us could ever dream of ministering to her.

Grace abounds!

Thanks again for the call and reminder, Carolyn.

Love in Christ,
Tara B.

em

One reason so many children are in foster care is that they are not legally adoptable. While in many ways, Mr. Bradley's point is well taken, his numbers are superficial. Many states in the US have a legal bias to keeping children with their biological parents. This means that it is very difficult to terminate parental rights, even in extreme situations. Such children are not able to be adopted. Many languish in the foster care system -- not because no one will adopt them -- but because the legal system will not allow them to be adopted.

All that said, many Christians could be more hospitable to the orphans among us. As a single in my late 20s, I have thought of foster care or adoption myself should I get to the point where I am sufficiently financially stable to do so. Children should have both a mother and father, but one committed parent and a loving church family can be much better than no parents or an abusive family environment. If I were to get married, I would want to partner with someone who has a heart for family expansion through adoption and foster care, as well as for other ways of living evangelism.

k nation

Thank you for your example and encouragement.

I've really enjoyed reading the (Steven Curtis) Chapman family's story over the years - of how God worked in Steven and his wife Mary Beth to bring them to adopt 3 times now. Their adoption grant ministry is also fantastic - http://members.shaohannahshope.org.

Joyce

Congratulations in getting thru the preliminiary stuff and being ready to go. I am cheering you on from far away.
I watched a program once on 5 foster kids in Ottawa aged between 16-18 (it was a while ago so the details are a bit fuzzy) and there were these kids who had been shuffled from home to home and one of the things that stood out was the desire of these kids for a hug. Just one hug - thats all i remember her wanting. And to myself i thought : a teenager wanting a hug, i thought that that contact was out of place for them but it truly was a hug she wanted.
After watching that program I was further confirmed to persue the adoption of the foster boy I have been getting on a relief basis for the last almost 2 years. I had him initially in the unit I worked, then he was fostered by a family of my congregation until she became ill with a brain tumour and then I started to do relief when he moved to another Christian home. My greatest fear was that I would be bringing him up solo, no hubby to support me and no Dad for him to grow up with. But the love I feel for him is so strong but more than that I know that God is with us everyday. If I begin the day in His presence I know that every day will be to his glory.
I also admire that you can reach out to the 16-18 age group - to be honest they scare me. But I am truly grateful for those who can reach out to these kids and provide a goodfearing example and encouragement.
May God be with you every day thru all the good and hard days.
Joyce

Mellissa Hastings

I enjoyed reading this. I am trying to set up my church to come alongside a juvy jail here to mentor the kidlets that get out looking for a church in our area. Pls pray for this as it is in process. Thx!

Kim Baird

I totally agree with this ministry. I myself work at an agency in which we do foster care and adoptive home studies and then supervise the placement of the children. I work primarily with cases that are coming from another state, to the state I live in. meaning, the children are wards in another state and coming for one reason or another to be placed in Arizona. Anyway, all that to say, I'm totally in agreement with the whole question as to why we even have foster care system if there are more Christians in American than children in foster care. I think there are two reasons for that. 1) A lot of people don't realize how inexpensive it can be if you go through CPS/DES and 2)The Christians in America are not living as true Biblical Christians. Foster Care and Adoption have such a special place in my heart so it was wonderful to see something being exhorted on this world wide web calling Christians to read their Bibles and actually follow it! Praise God for this post!!!!!

Danny

I have an interesting take on foster care. I'm in midlife now, but during my childhood I was in foster care and under the care of Child Protective Services many times. Both my natural parents were abusive alcoholics. Often when taken from my parents, I went to a facility or off to a family very quickly.

Twice I was placed in a Christian home where there was active discussion of Christianity and reading of Bible stories. Most of my young life I didn't know what to do or expect as my upbringing didn't prepare me for life in the least. I did know that I felt more at peace and more safe in the Christian homes. It made me want to be a Christian, and I made a commitment at age 11.

I'll never forget the families I stayed with that showed me the way to where I am now. It must have been a little frightening for some of them to take in a kid with cuts and bruises. Once I was placed with a family after having my nose surgically rebuilt after my father lost control. Looking back, I know it took courage and a real show of love for those families to take me in. I still think of them as relatives all these years later.

Opening your home to someone you can help can be life-changing. Showing a child what being a Christian means is truly giving them a lifeline in a world that seems hopeless. Lots of us who found ourselves in foster homes had really given up on life before age ten. The message of hope in Jesus Christ wasn't simply a help, it was the only thing that kept a lot of us hanging on by our fingernails during the tough times.

I know this comes from the opposite perspective of foster care; from the inside looking out, from someone who lived the experience, but I thought it might be helpful.

Amy Scott

We completed our state's MAPP classes and a private homestudy. Afterward, we found out we were expecting (a biological child). In the end, they told us we weren't eligible because of this, even though it'd seem that several happy, well-adjusted children would be proof of our competence. We accept this as the Lord's leading, though, and look forward to doing this in other season of life.

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