Update: The girls came back and left again, then came back a third time! We’ve been able to adopt the younger of the two and the older has aged out of foster care. Still praying!
This morning, I took our two foster girls home. We’ve had them since November, but driving away from their mom’s house it seemed like much longer. It’s a sad story, just like most foster care stories you’ve heard. Each of these stories are different, but they all center on broken down families and kids without much hope.
We’ve been doing foster care longer than we’ve had our own kids. It started just after we were married. A little boy named John came into our life – even now it’s hard not to cry when I think of his story. But his life, like all the others, has moved on beyond our help. I could name over 25 children who have come and gone out of our lives, and even now their stories are still a part of us.
Last night I asked my wife, “Did we do a good job with these girls?” After a long silence she said, “We could’ve done more.” There is always more we wish we’d done.
- I regret that I didn’t spend more time praying with the girls. They shared in our times of family worship, but I could’ve taken more time to walk them to Jesus.
- I regret that I didn’t love them more. After so many times, it gets harder to open my heart to anyone I know will be gone inside a year. Love isn’t meant to be short term, but I could’ve done more to love them.
- I regret that our lives were so busy. The girls had a several visits and appointments each week, plus our family pace didn’t slow. I wish now that we had cleared the calendar and lived a simple life.
- I regret that we weren’t more involved with their family. We have arranged to keep bringing them to church, but we could’ve worked harder to build relationships with their mother and stepfather. It takes effort, but we could’ve overcome the awkward relational dynamics to better serve the girls.
Despite these regrets, I believe that God will use our ministry to these families. I’ve learned that all good works are made good only by God’s grace. We tried to serve the girls and show them Christ, and I trust that God can overcome all our failures.
I’m so thankful to God for these experiences as a foster father. We cry when the children come, and we cry when they leave. But there is a blessing to be found every time you enter the broken lives of others. Despite the hard days, there were many more happy ones.
Sometimes our friends ask us why we keep doing foster care? My best answer is this: When God is in something – there is nothing else we’d rather be doing.