“Bye sissy see you later!” Jaylyn said. She gave me a hug and hopped onto her car seat. “Bye Jay, love you”.
That was the last time I would ever see my sister, and neither of us knew.
The first time I saw her was not in the hospital room like most siblings first meet. She was not wrapped in a cute pink blanket, but instead she had a pink blanket in her hand- and a trash bag in the other. Three-year-old Jaylyn was dropped off to our home in October of 2013.
Jaylyn is one of the 16 foster children to have lived in my home.
She is one of 16 children whom I have laughed with, cried with, and experienced life with. Each child that has stepped foot into my home has a story; where he or she came from, where he or she wants to go. And for a few chapters in their story, I was privileged enough to enter in.
“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 82:3-4
So many times throughout my life I have been told, “I don’t know how you and your family do it. I would get too attached.” or, “That’s so great you guys do that- I never could; it’s too sad.”
Usually I can respond with, “Yeah, it’s really hard.”
But to be honest, there’s a ton more I want to say. Because in reality, we didn’t choose to do foster care because we don’t get attached or because it’s not sad for us. We chose to do foster care because its not about us; it’s not about how we feel.
Because the fact is, no child should have to hold his trash bag and sit in a government building for 5 days after being taken away from his family because it’s too sad for us.
No 4 year old should have to hold, change, and feed her 12 month old baby sister because we do not want to get too attached.
No 5 year old little girl should scream and cry for hours each night because she is scared. And not because she is scared of the monster under her bed, but because of the memory of a monster who walked into her room each night to use her and to hurt her… She should not have to feel alone because it’s too sad for me. She deserves to have someone hold her, love her, and tell her she is safe.
“Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me.” Mark 9:37
They are children. They should not have to feel an immense amount of pain and hurt that they do not even understand because we are afraid to get attached. No child deserves to feel unloved and unwanted. My adult heart can take a little beating so that these children can feel just a little bit of healing.
Isn’t that the greatest picture of sacrificial love? Is that not what Christ did for us? Our father knew what it was like to give up a child. He went through the hurt and the pain so that we could find healing, so that we could find love, and so that we could feel wanted.
“But, oh, my God knows about giving up a child. My God knows about sacrificial love, and so it is His sacrificial love that ultimately compels me.” -J, from Foster the Family.
The Lord has a calling for each of us and foster care is not for everyone. The Lord does not say we must all foster or adopt. This article was not written to constitute guilt or to offend anyone, but rather shine a light on something many christians forget about, and perhaps encourage someone who has felt this calling on their heart.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.”
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’”