A friend of mine shared this with me today and it resonates so clearly with me, and I’d imagine with some of you as well, especially if you are or have been involved in foster care.
Sometimes I feel like I can’t talk about the negative parts of our journey with others because I’ll get a “that’s why I’d never do that” response. It’s a big fear of mine that my anxious, stressed, or discouraged words would be the reason someone doesn’t move forward with their foster care journey. God reminds me frequently, though, that the burden to rally others to provide for orphans and the oppressed does not lay solely on my shoulders (no matter what my stressed out mind might be telling me at 2am) and that people will use this excuse (and many others) to stay away from fostering even if it’s not my words giving them fuel for that fire.
On the contrary, I think it’s actually so important for us to be able to talk about the ‘darkness’, in spite of the responses we may get from others. I want so badly to encourage others to take steps towards fostering, but foster care is not rainbows and unicorns and if we only share the happy and perfect moments we are setting future foster parents (and, as a byproduct, their future foster children) up for potential additional heartache because they’ve entered into a situation in which they’ve possibly only been shown the ‘lightness’. We’ve been cautious not to share the darkness with them out of fear that we may discourage them from joining this cause. What they’ve seen from us has been filtered and though we don’t need to (and can’t!) share all, I think we need to share as much as we can of both the ‘light’ and the ‘darkness’ of foster care. Rather than sharing our experiences through a ‘happy’ lens, we need to display our foster care experience through the lens of ‘this is so tough, but God…’. It’s real and honest, but also provides an example of hope to others for when things are tough. Because things will get tough….but God. Caring for these children is His command to us and His ways are not our ways. In these situations we rarely know the ‘why’ or ‘how’ and we never get a sneak peek into the future to know the ‘who’; but God knows and has called us to act. So to all the foster parents out there, I say: share the lightness and the darkness. Your shared experiences, good and bad, won’t be the sole reason someone chooses not to foster. But they will be an example to someone who does foster of God’s ability to provide Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, and Self Control in situations where no mere human would be able to generate such responses on their own.
Share the darkness.