Over the course of a year, God threw us in the middle of mess after mess, where we were challenged to enter into the lives of families in crisis.
And then, Sweet Man James said the words, Foster Care.
And, I jumped from the bed on top of his head, screaming no.
We went to our first foster parenting class the next week, and thirty short and long term placements later, here we are.
But foster parenting is only a fraction of our ministry.
Through the incredible training of Lifeline's Children's Services, we began seeing DHR, our children's families, our lawyers, our judges, and, of course, our children, through the lense of the Father.
We saw the social workers crashing on our couch after a day of not eating or having a chance to even go to the bathroom, with often 60 cases or more waiting for them at the office.
We saw our children's birth families, who had bought the lie that their stories were finished, and that they were beyond redemption.
We saw our lawyers and judges, jaded by foster parents in it for themselves, rather than true advocacy on behalf of the children.
And the children themselves, we held them when they kicked us and told us we weren't their mother, their father. We stroked their hair when they wept through the night, dreaming of being with Mommy one more time.
And then they went home. And parents who hadn't cared for their children in months - or years - were required to, overnight, become parents of children with deep issues once again. They had to learn to stretch a dollar that they have barely made work for themselves, and apply it times three, or four, or five. They were required to face the overbearing guilt and shame of the story their choices had written for their children.
Suddenly, it wasn't about foster care, but about advocacy. Because we can love one child, but we cannot love the more than 1, 500 in our Birmingham area. But, the Church can...no, the Church is commanded to.
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen...
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I."
- Isaiah 58: 7-9
We have been so loved, pursued, ransomed, and celebrated. How can we but help introduce others to the One who longs to pursue and celebrate them?
Yet, ignorance is bliss. And though we are commanded, it is quite easy for the Church to turn their heads and ignore the Jerry Springer Show in their backyards.
But, when the child you tuck in at night can point you to the corner their mother has begged on, a command takes face.
And it's a face with a story I can tell the world because I have One who surrendered His world for me.
Then we met Kristin Solomon. Her vision to join with Lifesong's branch ministry of The Forgotten Initiative and multiply it here, to the Birmingham area, was beyond thrilling.
We became involved and did projects like this:
33 Boxes for my 33rd Birthday
Remodels of Jefferson County's DHR Visitation Rooms
Easter Egg Hunts and Bible Clubs
Until now, we have worked with The Forgotten Initiative to serve Jefferson County, primarily, because of the vast need. However, now, we've been commissioned with Kristin's awesome vision, to expand a new branch of The Forgotten Initiative to Shelby County.
To bring joy and purpose to the foster care community
Mobilize the Body of Christ through Forgotten Advocates
- Understand the needs of the foster care community
- Communicate those needs to the Body
- Connect them together by:
Educating, Equipping, and Supporting them along the way
Whether serving the agency, foster parent, vulnerable adult, or child; we seek to share Jesus and the joy He brings to the one who feels forgotten.
We are praying for a national movement among the Body of Christ that His followers would rise up and serve the foster care community all across the nation!