February 15, 2010
Tonight was a milestone for a new crop of prospective foster parents who have “grabbed the bull by the horns” and set out for the amazing adventure (and sometimes wild ride) that is foster care. This was the half-way mark for these families who have committed to sit through ten weeks of formal training in preparation to become foster parents. As a result of last September’s foster care/adoption summit hosted by The Church of Brook Hills, many local families have stepped out on faith and have begun the required training called GPS (Group Preparation and Selection.) I am a veteran and believer of GPS; I have taught so many of these classes that I’ve lost count, but praise the Lord, I have never lost the motivation for doing them. Although dated in some of its language, the curriculum holds true. The needs of children in care twenty years ago are the same today. These children, who’ve been removed from their birth families’ homes, have experienced innumerable losses. Essentially everything that is familiar to them (whether good or bad) is changed in a matter of minutes when someone decides they are not safe where they are. What most people don’t realize is the string of events often set in motion by that first move. The reality for foster children is not a single move, but many times, multiple moves. Bouncing from home to home certainly has its impact on these kids, and their very ability to form healthy, “normal” relationships can be altered.
So what’s the good news? God has called the church to provide safe, temporary homes for these children. Imagine the possibilities of Christ’s disciples working alongside hurting birth families to provide nurturing, healthy homes for their children. Imagine opportunities to share Christ with the single mother (or father) who is caught in a snare of poverty, alcoholism/drug addiction and abuse. I am convinced that foster care is not only for the child, but for the family too. If reunification with the birth family is the goal, then teaching birth families how to parent their children is essential. How wonderful an opportunity Christian foster families are given to make an impact in the lives of these children and their families; even if the time with the child is short, it can be impactful and can make a difference for a lifetime!