Called to Foster Care
I would have never have guessed that 2021 would lead us to become foster parents. We were starting to embrace the empty nest. Even so, in February, Michelle and I were certified through DCS and Youth Villages, a local foster care agency, to provide respite care for children in the system.
Respite basically allows foster parents to have a weekend break, or in extreme cases, allows temporary placement for children suddenly removed from a home. In February and March, we hosted a few kiddos on the weekends before our lives truly changed the week before Easter.
After much prayer and consideration, on Easter Sunday, we decided to step from weekend respite care and into long-term placement. That next day we welcomed two very special kiddos into our home. Yes, it has been challenging as well as deeply rewarding. The bottom line is, we know it is a calling from God. Therefore, we opened our home and our hearts.
In the United States, there are over 400,000 children in state custody. That doesn't even account for the many who are in precarious homes right now. Tennessee registers at near 10,000 in the foster care system. To offer some perspective, Tennessee also has over 11,000 churches.
When I look at the numbers of incarceration, one in four people in the United States has been affected or has a criminal record. Those numbers seem daunting and insurmountable, but FOCUS Ministries has been a part of that redemptive effort since 1999. However, the redemptive work of the church parenting 10,000 plus hurting and traumatized children seems obtainable. The system is always needing more servants. If not the church, then who?
I can't tell you how much the words of Jesus in Matthew 19:14 ring so differently now. It is there that Jesus tells his disciples to "let the little children come unto me." I invite you to consider the call of fostering. I guarantee you and the children won't regret it.