Vulnerable Children: They’re Everywhere.
Yesterday, my five-year-old stated at dinner, “The kids in my class said, ‘Your dad is so cool. We wish we had dads too.’” This haunts me.
Turns out, one little girl’s dad has died, while two boys’ fathers are in prison. Those are just the ones who we know about. These kids are vulnerable.
This month, we’ve had many amazing blogs about foster care. But not all vulnerable children are in the foster system. In fact, there are so many vulnerable children all around us. Children whose parents are divorced. Children of unwed mothers. Children of illegal immigrants. Children growing up in poverty. Jesus’ call to care for these children is unavoidably obvious in Scripture.
All children are loved by God and created in His image. Each child is unique, created according to God’s design and a part of His plan. Scripture has given us a model for how children should develop and grow in Luke 2:52. “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” We are praying especially for vulnerable children— orphans, children in poverty, children without parents taking a role in their lives, children who are at risk of exploitation or disease, children who are differently-abled, children in foster care, in refugee camps, children who live on the streets, or who are abused, etc. We want to pray for the children to develop as God originally intended.
Matt was a pastor of one of our very first TCT churches. He was passionate about seeing change in his village and eagerly attended every training we had to offer. After one of the trainings one thing really stuck in his mind. Education. He saw so many children in his community that were home during the day instead of going to school. Each child had a different list of reasons for not attending school. For most the journey was too far. The nearest school was a four kilometer walk each way on dirt roads. Travelling such a great distance was tiring, dangerous, and unappealing for the students. Also, why should they go to school? They were the children of poor village farmers who, they believed, would one day become poor village farmers. It was their destiny. And they wouldn’t need education.
“When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman…under the law, to redeem those…under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” -Galatians 4:4-5
I love the parallel between adoption and becoming a child of Christ. The gospel message is all about unconditional love and sacrifice. And when it comes to adoption, love and sacrifice are at its core.
What do you think of when you hear the word adoption or orphan? When I think about adoption, I envision a family that has gone through hours and hours of paperwork, excitement and tears to bring a child into their family to love unconditionally. When I think about orphans, I imagine a child that has lost both of their parents. An orphan to me is a child that, if they are not taken in by an immediate family member, will end up ‘in the system’ struggling to find the love of a stable caretaker.
Embrace Oregon is a movement asking the key question, “What would it look like if we as a community lived into embracing the most vulnerable children among us?”
And it’s no mystery where the most vulnerable children in our community go – through the doors of a Department of Human Services (DHS) Child Welfare office.
My husband, Luke, and I have been foster parent’s for 11 years and have 4 children, ages 9 and under, two of them we fostered before adopting them.
When I was asked a few weeks ago to write a blog for people interested in finding more information about foster care I was a little nervous. I am the first to admit that foster care, though I am an advocate of it, is an issue relatively new to me. I have friends and family who have adopted both domestically and internationally but I know few people who have been foster parents. So, I wasn’t sure where to start to provide you, the reader, with some valuable information.
I figured since my experience was limited I would ask others who have been working in this area to share their thoughts, resources and suggestions. I have gathered the very helpful information below. If you are interested in learning more about foster care or getting connected with a helpful organization the following resources should get you started on your path.
When I was a new foster parent a few years ago, I was introduced to an analogy that has changed the way I think about vulnerable children. The analogy is simple: Children are like duct tape. It’s a lesson that has taken me through seven years of parenting children who have been hurt, and five of those years as an adoptive parent.
I’m sure you are familiar with duct tape—the shiny, multi-purpose tape that people keep on hand for odd jobs.
Duct tape is a serious tool. It’s not for gift wrapping or arts and crafts. When you’re using duct tape, it’s not for temporary purposes. Once it’s on, it’s there to stay. That’s because duct tape was made to do one thing: to stick.
As we write on the topic of foster care, I’ve been doing some research to understand the issue better. The results have been shocking.
In 2012, there were approximately 400,000 children in the foster care system in the U.S. In that same year, almost 23,500 children were ‘aged out’ of the system. That’s 23,500 children who are going out into the world with possibly no support system—50% will never graduate high school and up to 45% will be homeless at some point. In Illinois 80% of the prison population spent at least some time in the foster care system growing up. 
This is a re-post of a blog written by our friends over at Daddy's Tractor. You can read the original post here.
I’ve gotten a lot of questions recently: lots of funny looks and tiny head shakes. Its not something I write about on the blog, but since there’s interest, I’ll answer. People don’t get why I’ve opened up my home to a foster child.
I understand that. I really do. And maybe I can explain it to you and maybe I can’t. I went through a process to get here myself. Basically it boils down to this.
Love is always worth it.