Don’t do it.
Don’t adopt either.
You will thank me. This I promise.
The System is painful.
Okay, that’s a lie. The System is excruciating, frustrating.
Light yourself on fire and extinguish it with a ball peen hammer. Punch yourself repetitively in the genitalia until it stops hurting. Fling yourself down a flight of concrete steps into a kiddie pool filled with thumbtacks.
Okay, I’m being dramatic, sort of.
We pursued our son, Tevin, for years. He was 13, a resident of a group home, and had been in foster care for most of his life. We wanted him. He wanted to be adopted. It took nearly three years to make it a reality, three long years of absolutely critical developmental time, missed.
Two of my sons, brothers, had also been in foster care for most of their lives. They were our foster sons for four years before we could adopt them, four years of uncertainty, trepidation, and angst…for them and for us.
Overworked and underpaid, DCS workers manage intense caseloads and as with any system, there are good ones and not so good ones. Their bottom line is placement, not profit. At the end of the day, they have to get the kid placed, somehow.
He’s healthy, sure!
He’s well-behaved, no red flags at all.
He is just the nicest young man.
I’ve spent enough time in court, we actually recognize repeat offenders. No joke. And each time, it’s the same. We expect the judge to issue the decisive ruling we’ve been waiting for aaannndddd, “Let’s hold off and set another court date in three months.” Hear me sighing.
Mountains of red tape, frequent and inconvenient supervised visits, ungrateful and sometimes even hateful birth families: expect this and more. Did I mention the hours and hours of mandatory classroom training?
Don’t do it.
Spare yourself. Trust me.
Not to mention that the kids are bad.
They are. You just won’t believe it.
They lie without hesitation. They take whatever they need with no qualms. They have unsafe premarital sex. They smoke anything they can get their hands on.
We’ve been cussed at and cussed out. We’ve been threatened. We’ve been stolen from, repeatedly. I own nothing of value and haven’t for many years and don’t intend to for this very reason.
Get the fairy tale out of your head. I know what you’re thinking. You’ll just love them so much that they’ll fall in love with you and everyone will just live happily ever after. Puppies and rainbows.
It’s a ruse.
What will happen is you will love them, pour into them, give of yourself with no guarantee of reciprocation. In all likelihood, they may hate you. Doesn’t make sense does it? None of it does.
Here is what will actually happen.
They will leave.
And it will hurt you.
A friend of ours was gifted with a beautiful foster baby. For nearly three years, they loved that baby like no tomorrow and it looked like she would be theirs. At the 9th hour, a biological parent surfaced and the courts sent her home.
Our friends were beyond devastated. They were crushed.
They System errs on the side of the biological family as it must, to the point of insanity. Reunion is almost always the primary goal and biological parents are afforded every single opportunity to get their children back.
This is right. This is good, but it’s at your expense. Oftentimes, you must send the children home to a situation you know is not good, that you know is lesser.
We had two young girls for a couple of weeks before we had to send them home to their birth parents, a couple of local meth-heads. Well, at least they had their pit bulls to keep them safe.
Listen. You have a nice life. Go ahead and turn that spare room into a man cave. It’s what you really want to do anyway. Imagine a sweet 88” HD hanging on that wall, maybe a kegerator.
You don’t need this hassle.
Do NOT become a foster parent.
Do NOT adopt either…
…unless you want to obey God.
God doesn’t mince words.
Care for the orphan. Make disciples of them.
Take them into your home, love them as your own, and bring them up in the ways of the Lord that when they are older, they will not depart from it.
God is a God of justice, a Father to the fatherless and He commands justice for the fatherless. He commands it! What else could he mean by justice for the fatherless…than a father? The fatherless did not choose their plight, it was given of them by the sins of another. God speaks clearly, from Genesis to James, care for the orphan.
A true disciple of Jesus follows His commands, obeys Him, up to and including the willingness to deny self, to even suffer on behalf of the name.
The fatherless suffer at the hands of a cruel and unrelenting world. They grow into afflicted adults with little hope for advancement and most of all, they will likely never know Christ.
The biblical mandate is clear, much more clear than you’d like to acknowledge.
Otherwise don’t do it…
…unless you want to practice Christ-like love.
The love of Christ is this.
In eternity past, He set His affections upon His people. He decided to love a people who did not love Him and He died on the cross for their sins, that they might be reconciled to Him. He gave them new hearts that they might believe Him and love Him, but still they betray Him, every single day.
Still He loves them.
What could be more Christ-like than setting your affections on one not yours by birth, deciding to love them, even if they are unlovable, just as you were when Christ died for you?
Could you love one who offers you nothing in return? Could you love one who returns your love with hate?
Foster care and adoption fully demonstrates the heart of Jesus to the fatherless. Imagine being betrayed by those who were supposed to love you the most. What a bitter pill it must be, so imagine the surprise, the fear even.
You have nothing, no one, and then all of a sudden, you do.
What an amazing witness to the orphan.
What an amazing witness to your biological children.
As I seek to make disciples of my own children, perhaps nothing has better demonstrated for them the heart of Christ than our family’s ministry to the fatherless. I fail daily. I make mistakes, damage my witness with them, but the fact of adoption perseveres.
My greatest testimony resides in my daughters’ love for the orphan as all are active in caring for the fatherless.
What an amazing witness to the world, a world that has cast aside the powerless and left them at the hands of those who would exploit them.
So definitely do not foster…
…unless you want to change a life.
Drive-by ministry makes me want to vomit. Truly.
I despise ministry which costs men nothing. We must be willing to pay a cost, to sacrifice, to give of ourselves. Caring for the fatherless demands sacrifice. It cannot be done on the cheap.
But if you truly want to change a life, foster. Adopt.
Decide to love a child and then pour the grace, mercy, and love of God into them, as you ought your own children. It will change their lives. Irrevocably. Irreversibly. It has to.
At a minimum, they will be safe from the hands of those who would exploit the helpless and powerless. Maybe they’ve never had that, never had a home or a family. Maybe they’ve never actually been loved.
They may even reject your love, but nothing can change the fact that they will have been loved, they will have seen Christ in your love. No amount of rejection, hate, or affliction can diminish that.
Adoption and foster care will definitely change their lives, but most all, it will change yours.
You will never be the same…and that is a good thing!
Or you could just carry on as you have. It’s probably best that you do. Besides, I’m sure someone else will do it.
Author - Founder
Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).
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