Last night we were invited to sit on our first GPS foster parent class panel.
It humbled me to remember that only two and a half years ago, we were there. We were terrified of how it would work: the schedules, the kids, the ages, the baggage, the parents ~ all of it. We were asked the same questions we asked, and by God's grace, we're still living to tell His stories through our journey.
I woke this morning for family court time, and once again, it fell through. But I sat and talked with Dad, and after everyone had left, I went back, prayed with him, and talked with him again about his circumstances, his daughter, the journey...how our individual journeys have now collided. He's facing a mess of mountains, and out of all the people on earth, God chose us to cross paths with him and become family through this broken adventure.
As I sat and thought about last night and this morning, I asked myself...Do I believe in foster care?
To tell you the truth, I don't know if I do. SHHHHH.
I believe in standing in the gap. I believe I'm called to this. I believe in reunification, restoration, reconciliation, and I believe in the broken mess. And, I know there is a God who holds and whispers over it all. I know there is a God who took the shame, the humiliation, and the sins and cast them on His Son at the cross.
But the entity of foster care, I'm just not sure about. It's so broken.
I'm not talking about DHR, because the people I know and the individuals who have fought for my children...I'm honored to partner with them. I'm not talking about the lawyers, or workers, or judges, or birthfamilies or other foster parents. I'm just saying the whole giant system bundled together is broken.
It's kind of like that box of electronic wires. They are are working towards something, but shoved together, trying to reach a common goal with a bunch of red tape thrown in, just equals one tangled mess that many are too weary to even glance upon.
So, after court I called our kids' families, and I asked each one of them if their children being in foster care made a difference. Here were their answers...
Catie, he's is alive because of you and Jamie....
God used the healing home of foster care with you guys to bring our daughter into our lives through adoption...
You have shown me there is such a thing as brothers and sister in Christ. You've shown me that the whole world isn't looking out for itself. If my grandkids hadn't been in foster care, I never would have discovered that Jesus is real. You and Jamie have shown me that there's a God who can love me beyond my mistakes and the mistakes of my family. You are our family, now and forever. If we had not have entered foster care, we wouldn't have you....
My girls for the first time in their lives are dreaming of what they will be when they grow up, of where they will go to college, of becoming something more...
I'm alive because my kids were put in your home. I hated you, but now I call you my sister and friend. I wanted to die just to escape the nightmare and the shame; Catie, it was so dark. But for the first time, in a really, really long time, I feel hope. I feel like there's something beyond this, something to wake up and live for.
It may seem like I was asking for a pat on the back. I wasn't. Sometimes, this mess you and I do, whether it's foster care, or missions, or ministry, or whatever, sometimes we need to evaluate why our hearts are in this against the backdrop of to do's and paperwork.
We need to be reminded of the stones our Savior has established through our unessential hands.
It's a broken system, and I've learned nothing goes as expected. But, I've also learned that in the midst of this broken system, there's a God who holds every moment, has numbered each day we have with a child or a family. There's a God who can put red tape to ashes.
But those moments turn to hours, then to days, and weeks and months...and sometimes even years. And you look back and realize that those in this crazy, chaotic journey with you have become family.
And in the midst of all the messy red tape, a tapestry of grace has been woven in our lives, together. And His name is upon every thread.
Because of the One who turns ashes into beauty,