What a day!
Our goal for the day was AWARENESS.
As someone once said, "Ignorance is bliss, but once you are aware - you are accountable." I love that!
One of the quotes in the fost/adopt world is, "You can't unhear what you've heard, and you can't unsee what you've seen."
Yesterday, people heard facts, statistics, and the truth about foster care and adoption ... none of which can be unheard. Four of our families painted a beautifully realistic picture of what life looks like as fost/adopt parents by sharing their personal testimonies. They did not make it look glamorous. They made it look REAL. Even with the heartache, the frustrations, and having to fight for their children every.single.day, they do it willingly and passionately because they know these children have no voice, so they MUST speak for them.
I was proud of our families. They were vulnerable, and because of their transparency, hearts were touched, and seeds were planted. Now, we pray the Holy Spirit will do the watering so the Lord can produce the fruit!
I think the highlight of the morning services was hearing people share their stories with us at the ministry table. We met men and women who had fostered and adopted children and wanted to share the joys and successes of what their children are doing now. We met people who are passionate about orphan care and want to support young families as they begin the long journey of finding the child God has prepared for them. We met couples who have a passion for adoption but don't know where to start. I met a woman who was part of the foster system as a child who wanted to thank us for what we are doing because after being bounced from home to home, she was placed with a minister and his wife - and found Jesus. And THAT is the heart of orphan care. The Gospel!
Children need a home, safety, security, and love. But more than anything - they need a Savior.
In the evening service, we had a small panel of our fost/adopt families answer questions about the day to day realities of caring for foster children, and once again they were honest and forthcoming about the difficulties and the joys. They don't want to be called saints, they don't want to be put on pedestals. Every one of them would tell you, "There is nothing special about us!" Their stories are different, the details are unique, but there is one thing they have in common: each one responded in obedience when God said, "Go rescue that child!" They laid aside their comfort and their plans and followed God wherever He led them. They have sacrificed much and suffered apathy, rejection, and neglect by those around them, but they keep plowing ahead to rescue one child after another because that is what God has called them to do. And because they obey - He blesses their families. What a delight and privilege it is to be invited to walk beside them. I have learned what 'compassion in action' looks like, and what it means to be the 'hands and feet of Jesus' by observing these families. Their calling is intense, their days are difficult, and the spiritual battle is fierce - but they dismiss all of it because they know they are putting Jesus before the hearts and minds of these children every day - and that truth makes every battle, every fight, and the entire war WORTH IT.
Father, thank You for such a wonderful day!
You orchestrated every detail, and Your truth about the church's responsibility for "visiting orphans in their distress" will not return void. You have drawn these orphan care families to our church body with purpose, and You have a plan for them - and for us. Show us what it is, Lord, and may we be faithful to walk forward in obedience as we speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. Your heart for children is incredibly large, and filled with compassion and grace. Please, make our hearts look like Yours.
Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
Psalm 82:3, 4