I Can’t Convince Anyone to be a Foster Parent

A few years ago, we were scheduled to go onstage at church and talk about our experience as foster parents. We were only three months into this foster care gig…and why wouldn’t we be the perfect couple to speak into a microphone and convince others to follow in our footsteps?

When asked, I didn’t realize it would end up being on a morning where everything felt so hard.

Our 4 ½-year-old foster son was still wearing diapers. He would hide and poop, despite all our best efforts to potty train and bribe and encourage and incent. He was a trauma kid who whined more than he spoke in a normal voice, and he also arrived at our house with a stomach parasite…which he passed along to me. He wouldn’t say my name for weeks because he wasn’t planning on staying, and when he finally did, he spoke to me in a way that I could hear voices from his past that—quite frankly—scared me. But as much as we struggled to find our place with each other, I found myself loving him, wanting to protect him, sheltering him and helping him heal his broken little heart. It was all so hard. I felt poured out, emptied out and very much at the end of myself.

So on that Sunday, when he pooped in the corner right as we were running out the door and I had to pick him up and change his diaper, I pulled a muscle in my back and nearly lost my mind. If someone had handed that microphone right in that moment with the back spasm, I would’ve screamed, “Run! Don’t do it!”

Ah, the best spokespeople. The ones in the trenches.

But give anything time and things change. That day, all I needed was an hour. By the time I was handed the microphone on that worship stage, I was able to speak about fostering in a way that hopefully revealed the beauty and truth that comes from pouring yourself out on behalf of these vulnerable children. There’s a glory that comes from reaching the end of yourself because that is the place you see God.

Can I get a show of hands for who wants to sign up and do this messy and beautiful work?

Anyone? Why not?

I’ve never been able to convince anyone to become a foster parent. I can’t make it glamorous, no matter what I do to dress it up. Foster care is not just opening up your home to a child or another chair at your dinner table. It’s standing on the stage and asking you to trust God with an armful of unknowns and a whole lot of what ifs. It’s asking you to give up what feels comfortable and, in exchange, clumsily carry your cross and rejoice in suffering for your Savior.

See my PR problem here?

(Sharing over at the Faithbridge blog today. Click here to continue reading!)