There was a time when I was very concerned about what effect foster care could have on my bio kids…Questions like, ‘Will my bio kids learn bad habits? Will they get hurt? Will they feel life is unfair? Will they be jealous? Will they stop loving Jesus? Will they be influenced the wrong way by their foster siblings behavior?” And the list goes on. As a mom who wants her kids to grow up passionately serving Jesus, questions like this really concerned me, especially as far as the ages we would take on as a family. (As if I have more control over my children’s behavior than the sovereignty of God 😉

BUT THEN GOD…God stepped in. God changed my heart…changed it in so many ways, and he is not finished. He changed my mind…I said I would not foster any more children older than my own, and I definitely would not ADOPT children older than my own. …God had other plans though. (which is another blog post, or two, or three…)

So here we are. My bio kids hear things I would rather them not hear. Get hurt in ways I wish they weren’t hurt. Get bossed around by siblings that are older and not bio. Sometimes my oldest bio kid comes to me with frustrations over something hateful that was said to her. (by the way, my bio kids DO dish it back – they did not hang the moon :). All that to say this change is HUGE for my bio kids. But it’s also HUGE for my foster kids, who I already call mine and they call me mom.

Our life is messy. We have a blast one minute, and the next minute we are given the silent treatment. Giggling and being silly one minute and the next minute there is hate and anger. Going to church all smiling one minute and then a kid cusses out a birth-mom at the next visit.

Some would say keep your kids from this mess to protect them and raise them for Jesus. But through reading blogs and talking to godly friends and through listening to God’s leading, our family has purposely chosen the messy life…to raise our kids for Jesus :).  We are here to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We are here to teach our kids hands-on-discipleship. We are here to teach our kids “What would Jesus REALLY do.” We are here to walk them through the tears, sweat, and hardships, side-by-side, as a team, discipling them through each storm and teaching them that AS A TEAM, our family will love like Jesus. It won’t be easy. But it will be worth it. And by the grace of God, as our other children that join our family along the way see Jesus in us, they will want to know him more too, and BY GOD’S GRACE, they will know him more and more and when they become adults, they will have a firm foundation for God to keep building on forever, that will extend back to their birth families…where the story of redemption will permeate and destroy the evil that Satan has planted deep…BUT GOD.

I took my bio kids out for ice cream the other day. Checked in with them to see how things are going. Encouraged them to keep on keeping on. To not give up. To remember we are a team and to stay open with me with their struggles. I reminded them that we are here for such a time as be Jesus and love on these kids, these kids who are becoming our siblings and our family.  I reminded them that even though they are younger, they can be an example of the believers…because they have been raised to love Jesus. We talked about how it’s not easy. It’s hard. But it’s worth it.

God has given me a discipleship tool like I never imagined. He brought the orphans to my home. Where I can teach my kids to love. to face suffering for Jesus. and to give and serve with their whole life because that is why we are here. God is SO good.