When Grief Holds Hands With Hope

The foster care world can be a dark place. Children are separated from their biological family and might be placed with complete strangers – losing every aspect of their “normal”. There is pain, separation, loss, trauma, hurt, and fear. The enemy is hard at work trying to destroy every good thing and the family unit is the perfect place for him to wreak havoc.

But God.

The Creator of everyone and everything is not absent in the darkness. He grieves the hurt, pain, and loss that His children endure. He is calling us to step into the brokenness. He invites us to share His lovingkindness in the darkest of places. He has the capacity to bring something beautiful from what was seemingly beyond restoration.

It’s purely in His mercy that He puts us in situations where we MUST cling to Him. It’s in our inability to “fix” the hard that we’re reminded of our absolute need for Him. It’s in our loss of control that we’re reminded that He is always in control. Nothing He allows to happen is without purpose. Nothing is wasted. We are called to care for those who are overlooked, not because we have the capability to mend the shattered pieces in their life but because if our hope is in the eternal goodness of Jesus, then we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God (1 Cor 1:4). God is good, He is kind, and He cares deeply for our hearts.

Foster care is where grief holds hands with hope.

If you’re at all familiar with foster care, you know the goal is always reunification- until it isn’t. Some birth parents work so hard to regain custody of their children and that’s what’s best. Sometimes reunification isn’t the end result, so adoption becomes the path to permanency because that’s what God sees as best. Sometimes children age out of the system and are left to start adulthood on their own. And sometimes, against what is best for the children, they are returned to an environment where neglect and abuse remain. We fully feel the effects of the fallen state of humanity when justice isn’t served, and children aren’t protected.

My husband and I walked this road firsthand. In our 5 years of being DCS foster parents we felt every emotion in the book. Anger at the abuse the children experienced and those who caused it. Frustration at the slowness their cases progressed. Sadness due to the lasting effects of trauma. Fear of bio parents who saw us as the enemy. Love for the kids who entered our home. Anxiety over the unknown future. And happiness when the Lord saw us fit to become the adoptive parents of our two incredible boys.

So how can we find hope in foster care? In all the good and bad we can cling to this catechism: What is our only hope in life and death? That we are not our own but belong to God. And this is true for the children in foster care. God has not forgotten them and He never will. Pray and ask God how you can be used? Where are you called to serve? There is always a desperate need for foster homes. There are several amazing local organizations directly serving foster children. Maybe you can be a wrap around support for current foster families, offering respite, meals, laundry or lawn care. I am certain of this: we are all called to share the good news of Jesus with those around us and the foster care world is a great place to start.
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