Kevin Larter – Junior High Pastor
Last month I got to experience one of the best days of my life: the adoption of my first child! It’s the biggest highlight in what has been a three-year roller coaster ride of parenting. In 2012 my wife Holly and I became foster parents, and in that time we have had the privilege of taking care of 12 children in our home. Initially, we decided to become foster parents because we fully believed that it was what God was asking us to do. Three years later, we still believe that. But recently, there has been an additional pressing concern that has confirmed the fact that we absolutely need to be foster parents.
A few weeks ago, we received an e-mail from the head of the Department of Child Safety (DCS), Greg McKay. The e-mail was sent to many foster parents in Arizona highlighting the current reality the state of Arizona is in when it comes to foster care. At of the writing of that e-mail over 40 children were sleeping in “placement centers”, meaning they were removed from their home, but could not be placed in a foster home or even a group home. Essentially, they’re living in CPS offices. Most of those kids are under the age of 5. Few have beds to sleep in while in the placement centers and are only being taken care of by an overworked handful of volunteers.
I don’t know what you think about foster parenting, so I’ll answer a few questions for you right here. Is foster parenting difficult? Yes. Can it be frustrating to work within the current system? Yes. Is it heart-breaking when children have to leave your home to return to their families? Yes. But does the Bible have strong words to say when people aren’t caring for children? Yes!
Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” – Matthew 19:13-14
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. – James 1:27
I don’t know if God is asking you to be a foster parent like He asked Holly and I to be; that is something you have to work out with Him. But I do know that the need is greater than it has ever been. So, if even once the thought has crossed your mind about possibly-I-don’t-know-if-we-could-do-it-kinda-sorta-not-sure-maybe becoming a foster parent, just be brave and take the first step! Go to a Foster Care Orientation class. It’s free to attend (and so are the Foster Care training classes!), so there’s no reason not to begin the process.