I worked a booth for recruiting foster families at a local convention this weekend. To be honest, while the time I was there, I can count on one hand the number of folks who actually engaged me in conversation about the need for foster homes in our communities.
I get it. Foster parenting is certainly not for the faint of heart, but I found myself considering why it is important for Christians to step into the world of abuse and neglect. The thought, “If Christians do not take up the cause of foster children and pray for them, then who will?” courses through my mind. God does not give us a mere suggestion to look after orphans, widows, and the least of these in their times of distress. He gives us a directive, and does so throughout Scripture. I do believe that caring for children and families in crisis situations is a way of responding to this.
I wish I could say that things have gotten better in the arena of child welfare, but that is not the case. Children continue to be the victims of abuse and neglect around our nation (United States). There are still far too many children and youth in the system that need adoption. Birth parents, who have lost their children due to abuse and neglect, are facing seemingly insurmountable challenges of achieving sobriety, employment, healthy support systems, and their own stability. They are very much in need of a tremendous amount of support. Reunification should always be the goal if it is safe for a child to return home, and great effort needs to be made by everyone involved for this to occur.
Of course, it is not just children who end up in the system that are at risk. In our communities, families are struggling, domestic violence continues, and too many children are growing up without the stability they need. And, friend, I do not think things will get better. Still yet, I return the thought, “If Christians do not take up the cause of foster children, and pray for them, then who will?”
For some people, their day-to-day lives never involve one single thought about foster children. It could be that the only time they think about child abuse and neglect is when a situation is plastered across media outlets. My hope for 2016 is that more Christians will be the Church, and set their hands, feet, hearts, and prayers to following through on the directive of truly caring for children, and helping families in need.
After all, if Christians do not take up the cause of foster children, and pray for them, then who will?