Kevin Larter – Gilbert campus Junior High Pastor
“I just don’t know how you do it.” This is the phrase I hear most often in my life. It’s the phrase that many foster parents hear most often in their lives. You’re out—let’s say at the grocery store—and someone comments on how cute your kids are. You’re appreciative and you say, “Thanks”, but then they notice that the kids don’t look anything like you. So they inquire further.
“When did you adopt them?” That may seem like a rude question, but it isn’t. They always mean well. “Oh they’re not adopted. I’m a foster parent.” “A foster parent? Oh, God bless you! I just don’t know how you do it.”
To be honest, sometimes I don’t know how I do it either. There are court hearings. There are several caseworkers who visit my home every month. There are appointments that have to be kept and evaluations that have to be done that you normally wouldn’t have to be doing with your own children. And there are the goodbyes. The goodbyes are the hardest. I think it’s what scares/impresses/amazes people the most—the fact that sometimes you have to say goodbye and never see a child again.
So yes, sometimes I don’t know how I do it, but I do know why I do it. I do it because God gave my wife and I an inkling in our hearts just over 3 years ago that we should consider becoming foster parents. It wasn’t a huge inkling—well, maybe it was for my wife—but not for me. More of just a curiosity. But it was enough for me to say, “OK, God. I think you might want me to check this out.” And I’ve always found that if God wants you to pursue something, you should definitely pursue it.
So we went to a foster care orientation. One night, a few hours of my time, to see if this whole fostering thing resonated with me. And afterwards, I was still unsure. But instead of shrinking away, we decided to start training classes. Three hours a night, one night a week for ten weeks. And they were free. And there was the option to drop out at any time. All in all a pretty safe way to see if God was really pointing my family in this direction.
And ultimately, He was. But I never would have known for sure if I hadn’t pursued it. Has it been hard? Yes. The two worst days of my entire life came as a result of fostering. But who ever said following Jesus was going to be easy? Not Jesus, that’s for sure.
“In this world you will have trouble.” – Jesus (John 16:33)
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” – Jesus (Luke 9:23)
I know some of you that are reading this have that inkling, that curiosity, that tug on your heart that God might be leading you down this road. I know you’re out there because I’ve heard these comments, too: “We’ve been praying about fostering.” “I want to do it but my spouse is still unsure.” “We would love to, but…” If that’s you, my advice is to begin the pursuit. Check it out. Go to an orientation. Maybe even begin the official training classes. Check and see if God is choosing you for this great calling!
Go to www.centralaz.com/foster for more information on how to get involved.