God’s Precious Promises for Those Called to Foster and Orphan Care

by | May 29, 2019 | Woman

Christians are strong supporters of adoption and foster care, and they adopt and foster at a higher rate than the general population. A survey from the Barna Group (2013) found that 5% of practicing Christians have adopted, compared to 2 percent of all Americans. Similarly, 38% of practicing Christians have seriously considered adoption, compared to 26% of all Americans.

In regard to foster care, the pattern of findings is similar. Three percent of practicing Christians have fostered, compared to 2% of all Americans; 31% of practicing Christians have seriously considered fostering, compared to 11% of all Americans.

Reflecting God’s Heart

Why do Christians adopt and foster children at a higher rate than the general population? Part of the reason may relate to Christianity’s strong emphasis on caring for vulnerable children. In Christian adoption circles, we often talk about James 1:27 (BSB), which says, “Care for widows and orphans in their distress.” Even though not every child who enters foster care or who is adopted privately or internationally is an orphan by definition, the value of looking after a child in need relates to many situations.

Another aspect of adoption and foster care that is incredibly beautiful is that it mirrors God’s relationship with us. The core message of Christianity is about that reconciliation and redemption. This perspective also speaks volumes to our children’s journey. We can often feel as though their current behavior defines their future. We feel this way because our daily interactions with them can leave us exhausted and dismayed. We also see our children’s frustration with how things are going. The combination can lead to hopelessness. But because of grace, no one needs to be hopeless, including our kids. And if you decide to engage in adoption or foster care, know that you are engaging in deep, holy work that is close to the heart of God.

A Complex Journey

Christian families who adopt or foster often feel a strong call from God to enter this journey. They often have a huge passion for loving and caring for children and a longing for them to be part of a safe and healthy family. Stepping forward often means making huge sacrifices—giving of their time and finances, taking on additional stress—to bring children into their home.

Then the problems mount. Adoptive and foster parenting are not your average parenting gigs, which most of the world does not understand. Children impacted by adoption or foster care have often experienced trauma that drives their emotions and behavior, whether they remember it or not. Their symptoms are the truth they are not yet able to speak and describe. Difficult behaviors or reactions such as hoarding food, aggressive behavior and running away are often the result of past trauma. Some children may have difficulties attaching to the parents, and the normal positive reinforcement that parents usually expect (hugs, snuggles, “I love yous”) may not happen.

I saw children embarrassed to let others know they were in foster care, like it was a secret that needed to be kept. I saw biological children affected by the trauma of their new sibling and feeling overlooked as their parents needed to give more time and attention to their healing child.

Marriage relationships may also hit a rough patch because of all the added strain, and single parents may get exhausted because they have to be “on” 100% of the time. Feelings of grief, anger and disappointment can emerge because what they hoped their family would be like (for example, affectionate, well-behaved) is far from their reality. This journey is complex.

These experiences can disrupt one’s relationship with God, which is normal. We all go through fluctuations over time in how we experience God. But this particular struggle can be exacerbated by a deep misunderstanding of God and what God promises us.

Persevering Through Pain

Families often feel as if they are following what God wants for their life and are making huge sacrifices to obey. Both parts of that statement are typically accurate. They assume that because of their faithfulness and sacrifices, God should reward them by making everything work out. I certainly am guilty of this mindset.

Usually we have some set of predetermined beliefs about what it means for everything to work out, such as well-behaved children who love and appreciate their parents for the sacrifices made. When reality falls short of expectations, the feeling is that God has broken His promise.

I worked with a couple, Grayson and Leslie, who often felt this way. They were so connected with God and their church community, spending such an intensive time on wisdom and discernment, that they were absolutely confident adoption was what God wanted them to do. They probably wouldn’t have said this out loud, but they both had the belief that if they followed what God wanted for their life, things would work out: their kids would develop normally, do well in school, and love and appreciate Grayson and Leslie as parents.

When their kids struggled, the couple began to get frustrated and even doubt God. Things were not working out as they had expected, so they began to question whether they had heard God correctly in the first place.

At some point, we had an honest conversation about what God ultimately promises us. He never promises that life will be easy or comfortable. In fact, Jesus actually seems to promise the opposite. “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33a, NIV). Jesus said His followers would be persecuted as he had been persecuted (John 15:20) and that the world would hate them (John 15:18–19). Even Jesus lamented and felt deep sorrow. Before he died, Jesus cried out to God, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46b, MEV). We might be uncomfortable with Jesus expressing deep sorrow, but it was an honest part of his experience.

If Jesus can cry out to God, “Where are you?” and “Why is this happening?” perhaps this can say something to us. Struggle and lament are important aspects of our human experience. We are not promised a life without challenges.

Standing on the Promises

So what can we count on God for? God promises to be with us in the midst of our struggles and difficulties. Jesus promises us trouble in this world (John 16:33a), but thankfully, He doesn’t leave us there alone. He continues by saying, “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b, NIV). Paul writes that he is “persuaded that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities nor powers, neither things present nor things to come, neither height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38–39). That’s a pretty comprehensive list, and the message is clear. God is with us through everything—the highs and lows, good and bad times, and successes and failures. We aren’t promised an easy journey; we are promised that the God who has overcome the world will be with us every step of the way.

You can be assured that God is with you in whatever stage you are in in your adoption/foster journey, but you can also know that there are ways to get the tangible, spiritual and emotional help you need to help your family flourish. We all need supportive, grace-filled relationships with people who accept us right where we are. There are helpful parenting techniques that can be used with children who come from traumatic backgrounds. And sometimes we all need help with tangible resources like money, supplies and respite care.

If you need help with this process, please reach out to us and visit replantedministry.org.

Jenn Ranter Hook, M.A., is the founder of Replanted, a ministry that empowers the church to support adoptive and foster families. This article was adapted from Replanted: Faith-Based Support for Adoptive and Foster Families, which Jenn along with her husband and psychologist Joshua Hook and foster and adoptive parent Mike Berry, wrote to help foster parents and their potential support communities move from surviving to thriving. She speaks frequently on topics related to adoption and foster care support. She lives in Dallas, Texas, with her husband Joshua. For more information, visit replantedministry.org/book.

For more orphan and foster care stories, listen to the podcast included with this article.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

How the Holy Spirit Can Restore Your True Sanity

How the Holy Spirit Can Restore Your True Sanity

Most of my life I tried to avoid one thing—being crazy or insane. When I was growing up my mother had emotional issues and saw a psychiatrist regularly. She was on medication which only seemed to make her mood swings worse. She had high highs, and low lows. When I...

Israel Prophecy: The Enemy is Stirring an Unimaginable Conflict

Israel Prophecy: The Enemy is Stirring an Unimaginable Conflict

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJFFqAgykmU A cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants took effect late Sunday in a bid to end nearly three days of violence that killed dozens of Palestinians and disrupted the lives of hundreds of thousands of Israelis,...

Why Partial Obedience to God is Disobedience

Why Partial Obedience to God is Disobedience

My husband had a saying for our children growing up. “Partial obedience is disobedience.” He wanted them to understand that doing half the plan would not get them the full reward. Another reminder we used to tell our kids was, “Don’t think about it, don’t hesitate,...

Kingdom Economics: Why is America Declining Spiritually So Quickly?

Kingdom Economics: Why is America Declining Spiritually So Quickly?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a surprisingly strong July Employment Report.  Total nonfarm employment was 528K (398K previously, 250K expected).  Private nonfarm employment was 471K (404K previously, 230K expected). The headline unemployment rate dropped to...

Can You Discern Spiritual Wind?

Can You Discern Spiritual Wind?

The wind is a funny thing. We do not know where it comes from nor where it goes. We cannot see it, but we can see and feel its effects. Wind can be gentle and refreshing, cold or hot, strong, and dangerous, and everything in between. When the wind blows, we must...

Messianic Rabbi: He That Has an Eye, Let Him Hear

Messianic Rabbi: He That Has an Eye, Let Him Hear

It is interesting that, as a Messianic rabbi the question I am asked most often by Christians is if I believe that they as Christians have to celebrate, or observe, the biblical Holy Days. They are usually asking about those days listed in Leviticus 23: Shabbat, Yom...

How the Holy Spirit Is Preparing America

How the Holy Spirit Is Preparing America

As the crackdown against Christianity in America grows, it is a cycle believers have seen before. While no one celebrates their religious freedom coming under attack, God has used this persecution to great effect throughout history. Over the centuries, there have been...

RECENT ARTICLES

Dealing Effectively with the Dynamics of Change

Change can be challenging. Some people look forward to change and embrace it. Some people dread change and try to avoid it. Since change is inevitable, so here are some of the dynamics surrounding...
God’s Holy Interruption Is Coming Soon

God’s Holy Interruption Is Coming Soon

This past weekend I preached at The Roads Church, a charismatic congregation located in the tiny town of Norris City, Illinois. Located amid cornfields, the population is only 1,325, but almost that many people visit the church on weekends. They come from all over...

The Biblical Way to Rise Above Mediocre Expectations

The Biblical Way to Rise Above Mediocre Expectations

We spend a lot of life figuring out if we “measure up,” a phrase someone coined in the mid-1800s. Even in childhood, we begin comparing ourselves with siblings and kids at school, and it never seems to stop. The problem goes back to Cain and Abel, doesn’t it? Most of...

A Better Way to Witness to Others for Christ

A Better Way to Witness to Others for Christ

”Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” (Rom. 2:4). Looking retrospectively at my past as an atheist, I can see where God...

Why Does God Want Us to Speak with Tongues?

Why Does God Want Us to Speak with Tongues?

Why speak with tongues? There are many reasons for speaking in a spiritual language. Primarily, though, the Scriptures require it. The apostle Paul commanded us, saying, “Pray in the Spirit always” (Eph. 6:18). Jude commanded it in verse 20, saying, “Pray in the Holy...

Pin It on Pinterest

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]