It’s February. That dreamy-eyed month of fragrant red roses, melty chocolate hearts, lace-trimmed greeting cards, and visions of happily ever after. For my husband and I, it marks the anniversary of opening our door for the first time as foster parents through Hope and Home… and embarking on the journey that eventually led to our own happily ever after.
These precious children enter foster care at the most vulnerable point in their lives. Scared, distrustful, grieving, confused, uprooted from what they’ve known – thrust into a vast unknown. They stand outside the door of an unknown house with meager belongings (if any) and a huge load of hurt (yes, even the tiniest carry that load). We imagine how it must feel to be standing there. If they are old enough to wonder, they must be full of terror, thinking, “Who is on the other side? And what will happen to me?”
Imagining their wondering pierced our hearts. Two years ago, we said “yes” to being foster parents. “Yes” to being the “who” behind that door. The ones to welcome precious, traumatized young lives into the safe, caring arms of our hearts and home. To patiently work at easing the memory of abuse and neglect and reviving the bright wonder of childhood. “Nothing,” wrote Amy Carmichael of Dohnavur Fellowship, a refuge and home to hundreds of traumatized children, “Nothing is so rewarding as the nurture of little children.” It’s true. She knew and now we know. Warm hope over cold statistics, leap-of-faith trust over knee-trembling fear. Eyes that see beyond the trauma-induced behavior to a priceless child. We said yes to foster care. And will be forever grateful that we did.
Foster parenting is not about feeling good (sometimes it doesn’t). It’s not about doing a good deed (even though it is good). It is a lot about sacrifice – and patience. And bright specks of joyful reward! It’s about the miracle that makes beauty from ashes – seeing beyond what is, into what can be. There will be sleepless nights praying and crying alongside a two-year-old in night terrors; heart-rending moments of reminding that rejected four-year-old over – and over – and over that they are valuable, wonderful, precious; helping siblings color cards for the Mama they miss; coaxing those first real giggles; watching hope light pain-dulled eyes. Being that safe, nurturing place where normal children who have endured abnormal things can find security, hope, acceptance, and unconditional love for a night, a week, a year, or adopted into forever. It’s about impacting a child and changing the trajectory of their life.
When we first heard about Hope and Home, their subtitle is what caught us: A Love to Nurture Organization. A different approach to foster care. One that sees deeper and goes further. One that equips foster parents to effectively “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy…” (Psalm 82:3-4, NIV). Our hearts had felt the call for years, Hope and Home offered the avenue, and eventually our door opened to the children God brought for a week… a month… a year… and now forever by adoption. Our happy-ever-after was not pink clouds and starry eyes, but the bracing view from a mountain top, after a rugged climb. And it’s beautiful.
There is always need for more nurturing foster homes. Do you have room in your heart and home to provide comfort, safety and love to a hurting, vulnerable child? Will yours be the loving face and caring arms on the other side of that door? Contact Hope and Home for more information. Call 719-575-9887 to learn more or email [email protected] to get started.