Before I got married, my future wife had asked me two questions: 1) Would you ever consider becoming an overseas missionary? And 2) Would you ever consider adoption?
I said yes to both. What else could I say? I was in love. Little did I know, we would be exploring the idea of adoption a few short years later after the birth of our second son. This led us to become foster parents. Reflecting on the last 9 years, here are the top 5 reasons I love being a foster dad.
1. I enjoy taking part in true and undefiled religion.
In God’s grace to us, He not only saves us from our sin, He tells us exactly what He considers true and undefiled religion.
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” – James 1:27
The word “visit” here does not mean to just stop by and check in on as we would a neighbor, but to take a personal interest towards the child in need.
When we bring a foster child into our home, we take a personal interest in their well-being and ensure that they are in a safe environment and are cared for. We love them and pray for them.
Admittedly, there are times when I feel inconvenienced. Rearranging my schedule, taking on more duties that my wife usually takes care of, driving our van instead of my cool car on family outings, and waking up in the middle of the night due to a crying baby are all things I wish I could avoid.
However, there is great joy in knowing that this is what God wants me to do. There are so many aspects of my life where it is not clear if God is guiding me in one particular direction. In fostering, I know that I am participating in pure and undefiled religion.
2. I enjoy seeing my boys develop a heart for foster children.
My boys are like most boys. They like playing sports, video games, playing with their friends, riding their bikes and causing a ruckus amongst themselves. They also love caring for our foster children. Each baby that comes home is deemed “MY baby” and a schedule is arranged between the brothers to determine who gets to push the stroller or who gets to help baby into the car seat.
When you come to our home, you will see lots of doting on our foster children and it is not always from us parents. Many times our boys will kiss, hug, carry, play, change diapers and feed our foster children. My boys cannot walk by their foster sibling without lovingly touching or talking with them. God has grown in each one of them a heart to care for children in need. Our boys understand that for however brief a time a foster child is in our home, they deserve the same love and attention they would receive from their birth parents and family.
3. I enjoy seeing the change in each child brought about by the love of Christ.
As I look back on our time fostering children, I am in awe of how the love of Christ changes each child. They come to us confused and scared, having been taken from the only life they knew, then being placed in an unfamiliar home with unfamiliar people. In their eyes, you can see bewilderment, anger and sadness but as time goes by, through the love of Christ, God changes each child. No longer in a situation where they experience abuse or neglect, foster children are able to love and trust again. This transformation is precious to behold.
The love of Christ is only able to be shown through us because of how God loved us and brought us into His own family. We were once in rebellion against Him but yet He loved us and saved us from our sins. This is our example that we strive for and although we are not perfect, God uses us our imperfect lives to bring Christ’s love to children who come into our home and family.
4. I enjoy being able to love another child, even though it hurts when she leaves.
People ask me all the time if it hurts when the foster child leaves our home to be reunited with family. Yes, it hurts but this is a good hurt. This pain testifies that I loved that child. If it doesn’t hurt, I know that I did not give my heart to the child. Does any child deserve anything less than our heart? Absolutely not.
My broken heart is comforted by the understanding that my baby daughter’s birth family will also love her as I have loved her. They will care for her as I have cared for her. She will be able to attach to them as she has attached to us.
5. I enjoy serving children in need alongside my wife and family.
I am thankful for the opportunity to serve our Lord alongside my wife and family. Often times parents and children serve in separate church ministries. For us, this is a family ministry where we all struggle and strive together. We can shepherd our children and each other through the ugliness of sin in this broken world.
In reality, we are unworthy and not needed. God is sovereign, omniscient and omnipotent. He could have easily fashioned another way for these children to be cared for but He decided to use me, my wife and my boys.
Our Heavenly Father decided to allow sinners, who were once enemies against Him, the opportunity to participate in caring for His precious children. Would I have ever allowed enemies to take care of my precious children? I am truly humbled. All glory, praise and honor to our gracious Heavenly Father.
– Baba Jeremy
Thanks to my beloved husband for being an amazing father as we journey through foster care together.