Often, when we think of caring for orphans, we think of third world countries where children are starving and struggling to survive preventable illnesses. However, that’s not always the case. We often overlook the needs of children in our own neighborhoods, but their needs are just as legitimate as those of the children across the world. I am not suggesting that we care for children in our own country and ignore those in others, but I am suggesting that we be keenly aware of both.
In our own neighborhoods, there are children who need loving homes. These children have been removed from their parents’ care and need a place to live. Where are these children going? Do they have a place to go? Many people shy away from foster care because they recognize how painful and difficult it can be and, at times, these types of families hide their true feelings behind surface level excuses such as needing to provide for their own family, needing to handle the day-to-day operations of your tree nursery company or even the nine-to-five grind of having a job.
The problem with this approach to the foster care system is that the children in the system are unable to avoid the system as we are. The fact that we don’t step up to help might shield us from pain and hardship, but it doesn’t change their situation at all. While we choose to stay comfortable, there are children who can’t imagine what a loving family is like. Many foster parents chose foster care for the wrong reasons. Sometimes, they do it for the money. Other times, there is abuse that happens in foster homes.
As Christians, we have the power to change the landscape of the foster care system, but for some reason, very few people are taking advantage of this opportunity. Yes, it’s hard. It’s really hard. It does put our families at risk and out in the open, but God’s call on our lives to care for children and to love others like Jesus is not optional. In the end, life is not about us but about bringing glory to God.
So who will step up to the plate and answer to call to provide safe and loving homes for children in the foster care system who have experienced more than any child ever should?