One of the greatest joys of my life is a boy called Binh. Binh entered my life seven years ago in the midst of complete chaos. I was running two programs with over 700 churches involved, writing training materials day and night and was utterly exhausted. Binh first turned up as a prayer request one Sunday morning. I remember listening as the person shared that she had been trying to help a drug addict living on the streets who was pregnant. The girl had just gone into labor, two months premature. I looked around at all the stay-at-home moms and thought, “Someone should do something! That baby is God’s precious creation and he’s going to die.”
That night my husband informed me that God had spoken to him that we were to look after the child. If it wasn’t a complete reversal of everything my husband had believed, then I probably would have blown him off and gone to bed. But coming from a man whose culture had taught him that bringing a stranger’s child into your family is like bringing evil into your home—I knew God had spoken. I rang the woman who gave the prayer request and told her that my husband and I were happy to help if needed. She informed me there was no need, the mother didn’t want to be parted from the child. I went to bed seriously relieved.
Three days later Binh moved in. Funny how that happens. I didn’t have children of my own and largely knew nothing about newborns. I didn’t even know that Binh wasn’t “normal.” He was so tiny that someone visiting four weeks later announced I should take him immediately to a neonatal unit. He easily fitted into the palm of my hand. In the midst of our crazy busy life, Binh required feeding every one to two hours—day and night—he could only drink a teaspoon of formula at a time.
I remember the reaction of our local leadership team, all who spent their time teaching that every life is valuable to God, created by Him, loved by Him and full of purpose and potential. They all shook their heads and informed me that I was too important to look after some drug addict’s baby. It was true that I was crazy busy and adding something so time consuming to my life didn’t make sense. However, I couldn’t get past the idea that this was God’s creation, knitted together by Him, loved by him, who would have died.
Binh became part of our family, and we quickly fell in love with him. After six months he returned to his mother, and we continued to walk with them as she found her way. She is now off drugs, has become a Christian, holds a job and cares well for her son. Binh is now seven years old and calls my husband and I “dad” and “mum.” He rings us with regular updates on life, and we take great delight in spoiling him whenever we see him.
In 2012 there were almost 400,000 children in foster care in the US alone. 400,000 children that, like Binh, are God’s creation, loved by Him. Every single one of them deserves to know His love, expressed by His body. No matter how crazy busy we feel, we need to challenge ourselves to ask again, “If I truly understood how incredibly precious each child’s life was, how would I respond?” It’s easy to do things like protesting abortion or voting pro-life, but are we willing to foster and adopt? Are we willing to turn our lives upside down for those precious children?
This month we are looking at vulnerable children and exploring what others are doing, what we are doing and what you can be doing. I hope you’ll join us for the journey.
Image courtesy of Matthew Fane / Flickr.com
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:13-14a