Shining for God at every stage of the foster care journey – Fostering Hope (Part 3)
A couple of years ago we were praying for a single mum and her son in our school community. We were also providing tangible support through babysitting, opening our home, and being an ear to listen. Then, while away on a short family holiday, we found out this boy had been placed in foster care. It just so happened that he was placed with Fostering Hope carers. We immediately reached out to the boy’s Mum to find out if she was OK and how she was coping. We spent a couple of evenings with her and talked to the foster carer to check on how the boy was adjusting.
During this process, the boy and his Mum both asked if he could live with us, if we could be his foster parents. Having been praying about how we could support this boy and Mum, this was an obvious yes for us. That was two and a half years ago, and this boy has been living with us full-time since then.
Our family wasn’t looking to take on another child and we certainly weren’t looking for an eight-year-old boy! But God had other plans and His plans were greater. Throughout the entire two years of having this boy in our home, we have been blown away by God’s plans to bring glory to Him.
Accepting this boy into our home showed God’s love in our school community. Many people had been concerned about him and his Mum during his schooling, and since we have opened our home to him, he has developed in leaps and bounds and we can only attribute this healing and growth to God. He has joined a busy household of five boys and, amazingly, thrived. He has grown into the role of being a proud big brother and has developed a wonderful ability to look out for the needs of others.
Having this boy in our family showed God’s love to his birth family. We have also opened his world to his extended family by accepting them and encouraging a relationship with them. They see God in the way we love him and the way we encourage them to be in his life. They see the transformation in him.
In this process, our own boys are learning to love sacrificially, and their faith is shining. Our sons love him, advocate for him, are proud (super proud!) of him, accept him (often more than we do), share each other and our time with him, share their things and space with him, share their friends and extended family with him, and shine God’s love to him. Throughout our fostering journey we are so proud of our boys, to them, it is obvious, if kids need somewhere to live of course they can live with us! They are an incredible blessing to all the kids in our home and to us.
Our journey has led to our church community knowing more about foster care. Our youth group and kids church leaders are now all trauma aware and their understanding of the needs of children has increased. This boy has an accepting church community, he loves youth group and kids church, he has a Christian mentor who is there just for him and makes him feel special and dreams with him about the plans God has for his life.
Through all this, our community asks: Why? Why would we take him in? Why would we complicate our lives?… How? How has he healed so much? How is he so different? And, how have our kids accepted him so incredibly?
And the answer is, God.
This answer leads to conversations, it leads to Alpha courses, it leads to kids going to youth group and kids church, it leads to disciple-making and increased community involvement. It’s incredible to see the flow on effect of that one choice two and a half years ago to bring a boy into our home. It’s just incredible what God can do and is doing.
Mary Dickins, Co-ordinator Fostering Hope (Tasmania)
For more information please call Mary on (03) 6240 4834 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org