I removed the sheet, folded it, and thought of the babies I’d prayed for that never slept here. I wondered aloud why we worked so hard to get our foster care license in New York when God would then have us move across the country to start again. As I boxed up this little sanctuary we’d set up for babies in crisis situations beyond their control, I thought of young women and men bringing little lives into the world and having no idea how to care for them, wondering still what my role is in this fight for the value of all lives—unborn, terminally ill, black, white, old and alone, young and vibrant, full of life. All life has value, because we are created in the image of God.
Why did we go through all the work, jump through the hoops of becoming foster parents to then never get a call? I’m not sure, but we do know God is continually working in and through us. Here are a few things I’ve learned.
Saying YES to God in the hard things is more important than my comfort. We didn’t have an extra room, a lot of extra time, extra money or even patience, but when it’s all said and done, all of those things are God’s anyway, and if he asks us to care for orphans and our fellow brothers and sisters in distress, that trumps my desire for a little more alone time or a few extra dollars for a vacation or my favorite latte. God asked us to merely say yes in this instance. Our obedience mattered more than the end result.
If we truly value the life of the unborn, we will value their lives once born. We need to be the first people women call when they need help caring for the children they chose to bring into the world. When a woman chooses to keep her baby in the midst of circumstances that caused her to consider abortion, she’ll need help. I don’t want to be a woman who desires to take the babies away from these women thinking I can give them a better life. I want to empower women (and men) to care for their children. To love them. I will be their cheerleader, prayer warrior, middle-of-the-night phone answerer when their baby won’t stop crying and they don’t know why. We will be there. Not in some nameless anonymous way. I want these women to know my name. To have my phone number. To know our door is always open and a safe place of refuge in their distress.
I don’t need to protect my kids from the hard things of this world. Yesterday I quietly watched my daughters playing. They have incredible imaginations and usually embody some princess or queen and invite me to tea or a fancy picnic. However, yesterday they walked through the house, arm in arm, discussing their plans for the day. They were going to the foster care place to take care of a baby who needed a home. My babies know the world is not as it should be. And they also know they can do something about it. Caring for children who need a home is already instinctively in them, because James and I have said we will be there. We’ve made it a precedent for our family from the very beginning. The idea of opening our home is so normal it’s part of their every day play.
If you care about ending human trafficking, becoming foster and adoptive parents is a front lines way to fight it. Kids who age out of the “system” have no family. No one to care for them. They are vulnerable to schemes and tricks that promise connection, community, and security but instead deliver them straight into the arms of evil. Read this article and many more like it for a more harrowing look into this reality.
We will not give up. We are moving to a state with some of the fewest restrictions on abortion in the entire country. We will be living in a city where homelessness, crime, drugs and addiction are rampant. You won’t find me holding a sign outside of an abortion clinic, but Lord willing, you will find me on campus talking to young women. Praying with them. Asking questions. Offering my love, help, hope and even my home. All are welcome. No need is too great. No hurt is too deep. Jesus heals all wounds.
So sitting here, staring at the stripped mattress and empty crib, I know being certified foster parents in the state of New York didn’t produce immediate fruit we can see.
But that doesn’t mean it was fruitless.
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:13-16, ESV)