My husband and I said we would never foster a child. We thought it was something we just weren’t called to do. It would be too hard. Have you ever noticed that right around the time you start adamantly declaring that you can’t and won’t do something, God steps in? He reminds you that you have simply forgotten that His power is made perfect in your weakness.
We moved to Uganda right around Mother’s Day. A few hours away from our new town a baby girl, whose mother passed away, was born right around Mother’s Day. A few short weeks later we would meet baby Hellen in an orphanage in Uganda. She was so tiny and pale. I thought for certain that she was a preemie, but the caretakers said she was born full term. I wanted to take care of her. I wanted her to be mine.
We started to begin the process of working to become a foster family for Hellen. Though it seems hard and foolish to admit now, I’ll tell you that I thought someday she might truly be ours. I assumed that because she was in an orphanage she had no family, or if she did have a family, they did not want to care for her or were unfit to care for her.
In Uganda, this is often not the case. Many children in orphanages have families, but these families are unable to care for them. Hellen is child number 10 in her family. Her mother had passed and her father was unable to provide the needed care for her. Hellen was in an orphanage, and subsequently in our home, not because her family didn’t care, but because they did.
Foster care is hard. Foster care in another country adds its own layers of twists and turns in the foster care journey. But just because something is hard, it doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. Opening up your home to a child is an incredible journey. You welcome the good and bad and navigate tough waters of discipline and boundaries. You love and you nurture a child that may never be yours, but will always be in your heart. A child that may not always physically be with you, but will have left a mark.
Hellen is now back with her loving, caring, biological family in Uganda. We have moved back to Ohio. Will we ever foster again? I don’t know if we will, but I know as Christians we are called to serve.
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. James 1:27 NIV
We are called to look after the orphans and the widows. The poor and downtrodden. Those that have been forgotten by the broken world around them. This won’t look the same for everyone. Some may foster. Some may adopt. Others will support and give. We all should pray.
In a world that is broken and dark, we can shine His light in the dark places. Even when it’s hard and uncomfortable. Even when it’s messy and frustrating, we can use the gifts that we have each been given to love and care for God’s children.
I pray for my two biological daughters and the baby in my belly each day. I now also pray for Hellen, a world away in Uganda, every day. I pray that she knows how much she is loved by her Heavenly Father and her family here on earth, near and far. I pray that she will be blessed. I pray for her safety. I pray that she will grow to know the Lord and use the good gifts that He has given her to bring glory to Him.
A world away, but always close to our hearts.