Each Foster parents journey to approval has its own path.
Some begin years before sitting infront of a social worker, a calling that sits in the heart of a person.
For others it hits with a bang, an instant need that you fall into.
For each family though, I believe, that we come in with some expectations.
Perhaps fuelled by Hollywood, and the ‘happily ever after’ that is splashed across our screens.
Big Mike and Leigh Anne Tuohy’s scene where she wipes away the tears as Mike acknowledges “I’ve never had a bed before”, or
Little Annie’s “I think I’m gonna like it here!”
Maybe it is a whisper of hope that sits in your heart, the picture of a big happy family, full of gratitude and acknowledgement, said or unsaid.
The reality though often doesn’t take long to unfold.
Difficulties connecting. Staff with different priorities than you. Behaviours rooted in unknown traumas. Friends that don’t understand and begin to drift away.
The reason for why you started this journey probably hasn’t changed, but the reality can begin to feel really uncomfortable. Why would you keep saying yes to this hard?
The Bible tells the story of a woman. The kind of story that begins a bit like a fairy tale.
An orphan child, raised by an Uncle until she is suddenly spotted by the King and he falls for her, bringing her into the palace and making her the most important Queen in his harem! (Perhaps the last part wouldn’t be included in a child’s fairytale!) Can you imagine the comfort now afforded to this woman? Servants, food at the ready, no need to work, to worry, to strive for anything? Her name was Esther and for those of you who know your Bible, you will know that this isn’t where the story ended. Esther’s Uncle came with bad news. He sent a message to Esther that the King planned on killing the Jews. Esther was a Jewish woman, but she was comfortable in the palace.
This was her place now.
What went on outside of those walls surely wasn’t her problem.
But it was.
Her Uncle sent another message to Esther, perhaps one of the best known verses of the Old Testament.
“Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (emphasis added) Esther 4:13-14
I have often had to lean on those words.
Perhaps this child is with us for ‘such a time as this’
Perhaps we have had a bed waiting ‘for such a time as this’
Perhaps that experience we went through was for ‘such a time as this’.
(Perhaps not theologically sound, but certainly there is truth that God can bring all things to good for those that love him.)
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be comfortable but when comfort becomes the destination, and overtakes our sense of calling, we can lose the sense of ‘such a time as this’ that is on our lives.
We can sit in our ‘palaces’, knowing of the pain and hurt that is happening outside of our walls, but doing something about it may very well change all that we know.
As Foster parents, we have already said yes to the uncomfortable but are we saying yes each morning to our calling?
For those who are motivated by the love of Christ to love the fatherless, we are also asked to ‘deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Jesus’ (Matthew16:24).
Foster carers are not heroes, but we do have an incredible gift to offer; comfort to a child that lives in fear, pain, chaos and hurt.
In doing so, I can guarantee that you will have times that you will have to deny yourself. You will have to ask others to pray and fast with you (as Esther did). The weight of the system will feel like a heavy cross on your back. But, we need not carry it alone. For we have hope and can seek comfort and solace in the one who loves more than we do.
Living in the uncomfort of our Calling may be our ‘such a time as this’ life defining moment.