We are not good waiters.
Not like as in a restaurant. As in waiting. For stuff to happen. For people who have the information to tell us what our lives might look like in the future. So after a week, we called them. They reported that the next step was to take a mandatory training class which would take place some time starting in January. They would call and let us know when.
Ehhh. More waiting.
In the meantime, we had plenty to discuss. Like if we were going to be adopting or fostering. Seven years earlier when we had first discussed raising children who were not ours biologically, I had informed Nathan that I was not interested in fostering. My reasons were similar to many you've probably heard before. Reasons you might state yourself. Mainly, I didn't think I could have a child placed in my home only to have it removed later. How could I love and nurture a child and then let it go?
On the way back home from a trip to Kentucky, we stopped to see dear friends who had adopted the year before. We were excited to catch up with them and meet their daughter. Since we were at the beginning of the adoption process, we annoyed them with questions. At some point they asked if we were considering foster care or adoption only. Nathan looked at me with that you answer this, it's your hangup look. I remember Rebecca mentioning that they were interested in fostering when their daughter got older. And then she made a statement that has stuck in my head ever since. "Some kids just need a soft place to land while their parents get it together."
Hmmm. I chewed on that for a while. And prayed about it.
I told God again how unsure I was about loving a child and then sending it off into the unknown. That it would break my heart to give one up that had become a part of my family. That I struggled with the unknowns and possible transitory situations that came with fostering. That I wasn't sure I could handle my home becoming a revolving door of children.
And then He said something really profound.
This isn't just about you, Beth.
But He was right. This isn't about what is comfortable for me (for the love, this process is demolishing every comfort zone I've ever embraced). Or safe. Or easy. Or assured. This isn't about what will keep my heart feeling warm and fuzzy.
This is about the least of these. This is about children up the road from our homes who are living through hell. Who are scared. And beaten. And molested. And broken. Who simply need a consistent parent figure to say you are worth it. You are worth me possibly getting my heart broken in the process of loving you. You are worth my home being turned upside down while we all adjust to each other. You are worth extra laundry, extra cleaning, extra doctor visits, extra homework, extra diapers. Jesus died for you, precious one, so you are worth the room in my heart and life to love you. Even if it's only for a time. Even if a little piece of me dies if you go away.
Nothing about following Christ is tame or safe. We've decided to change directions from adoption only, to fostering too. That ain't safe, folks. It's not safe for my heart, or our checkbook, or our social life, or my sanity! I might get broken in this process. Every person who currently lives in my house will suffer. But if we suffer for another, we might look a little more like our Savior. And I want soo much to look like him. I want to love like He loved. With no thought of self. In order to redeem another.
I'm not saying every Christ follower is called to foster. Or adopt. The least of these are everywhere we find humans who are overlooked and mistreated. You won't need to look long or hard to find a vulnerable life of some kind to minister to. Jesus said whatever we do for them, we do for Him. And Worthy is the Lamb.
But let's stop shying away from serving them because we want to protect our hearts. Our hearts are already secure. They are eternally tied to the One who's heart bled out for us. He can help us deal with a broken heart. Let's put our hearts on the line for those who don't know Christ. Because it's not our hearts that are in danger.
It's the infant who crawls around in a home with dirty drug needles on the floor and isn't fed or held or changed. It's the 4 month old baby girl who is slammed against the wall during a domestic dispute and the 2 year old who saw the whole thing. It's the 13 year old girl who is being targeted by sex slave organizations because she has no one who cares where she is or what she is doing. It's the 7 year old boy who hates the weekends because the only time he gets fed regularly is at school.
It's their hearts and lives and eternity on the line.