Recently I was trying to check out and reschedule appointments at the pediatrician’s office with my two littles. We had to have a bit of discussion about the shot record and rescheduling due to court dates, so it was apparent I was not your average parent. One little was crying, wanting another sucker because the color I had chosen wasn’t good enough. The other one, the highly contagious one, kept walking off and touching everything as I continued to reign them back in. Obviously, we were holding up the line. Finally, I glanced at the patient lady behind me and said, I am so sorry. she kindly said, “it’s okay, I am just impressed you are a foster mom.” she smiled and moved to another window. I was grateful for her flexibility, but as the day went on, the word impressed kept nagging at my soul.
Impressed, no, please don’t be impressed. I realize the woman was trying to be comforting or encouraging, but the last thing I wanted her to be was impressed. The very thought of people being impressed by my simple, obedient act of being a foster parent is what has kept me relatively quiet on social media and this blog (until now) about my new normal. The last thing I want is a spotlight on me when the children and their stories and struggles deserve all the attention. So, I began to think about what I wish non-foster parents were instead of impressed.
Instead of being impressed – be informed.
Before I entered this faith journey, I was clueless about the staggering statistics involved in foster care. As I looked at the needs of Alabama, I was reminded that these are not kids halfway around the world; these are children within a day’s driving distance of me. Want to learn about the numbers involving foster care in your state? Check out this interactive map at the Christian Alliance for orphans website – interactive map.
This graphic that has impacted me most is another powerful one (below) from the Christian alliance for orphans. The top number is the number of foster children in each state. The bottom number is the number of churches, not people in churches, churches in each state.
Knowledge leads to power, conviction, and action. What will you do now that you have come face to face with the staggering statistics of children right in your backyard?
Instead of being impressed, be involved.
i love the quote that not everyone can be a foster parents, but everyone can do something to help a foster child/child. this couldn’t be more true. maybe you weren’t called to be a foster parents or maybe you can only foster a limited number of children. that doesn’t mean you have to stop being involved with helping them. did you know most foster children move to their foster home with all of their belonging in a garbage bag?
Instead of being impressed, be an encouragement.
There is no way I would have made it without the many encouragers God has put in my life. Now that I am not actively fostering, I try to do what I can for those who are. So maybe you aren’t called to foster kids in your home, but you can do something. First, you can pick a foster family to encourage and support with meals, supplies, and babysitting. Second, you can pray for and encourage overworked and underpaid social workers. You can volunteer to be a CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocate. You can go through training to be a respite home for fostering families. Finally, you can buy Christmas and birthday gifts for children such as magnetic necklace in foster care. You, we, can do something.
I am so thankful that not one of these children is a surprise to God. He has equipped His body of believers. The question is, will we just be impressed by those that serve as foster parents, or will we roll up our pants and jump in the trenches with them?