May is National Foster Care Month in the United States, according to the US Department of Health & Human Services.
Something you may not know about me and my family is that we foster parented, and ultimately adopted the child we had in foster care. He came to us at age 14 and is now grown, living on his own, and pursuing a career. We’re very proud of him.
A Picture of the Gospel
Foster parenting is something very near to my heart, and I believe it is one of the most profound ways in which we can live out the gospel: choosing to make someone family, placing your love on them and caring for them, not because you have to, but because you choose to. That is what God has done for us in Christ! He took us who were strangers, and in Christ he makes us full-fledged sons and daughters. He adopted us into his family! (Romans 8:15).
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1)
Did you know that Jesus was adopted? Joseph, knowing that Jesus was not his biological son, chose to raise him as his son – to provide for him, teach him, and love him, and be a father to him.
A Profound Need
Foster parenting and adoption are some of the greatest ways in which you can make a real, substantial difference in the life of another person. Does it come with risk? Absolutely! But is it worth it? Most definitely.
Take a look at this infographic from Together We Rise, a non-profit which helps families get into foster care, and foster-to-adopt. It shows the number of children in foster care waiting to be adopted in the United States.
I challenge you to pray about if God might have a role for you to play in this important and life-changing endeavor, of living out the gospel by welcoming a child-in-need into your home.
A Counter-Cultural Approach
Many people think of parenting in terms of what a child will do for them, such as give them a sense of fulfillment, companionship or the promise of posterity and an heir. The gospel causes us to think differently about parenting, however, in light of how God has parented us. Rather than thinking about what parenting can do for me, my focus in parenting becomes what I can do for the child, to give them the love, provision and instruction that they need; pouring out myself for their sake.
Our church is involved in two annual initiatives, one at Christmastime and the other in the summer, when kids are preparing to go back to school. You can read more here about Project Greatest Gift and Project Back to School.