Too often, we try to minister to people based on our own experiences. It’s difficult to help people in areas where we’re unfamiliar. As the video indicates, many who are reading this post have not experienced what these kids deal with in the system. They may have some understanding of what God says about this problem but cannot say they have walked in their shoes.
When God started to tug at my heart for children in foster care, I knew I was in trouble. You see, I have nothing in my life which can relate to their journey. I am the product of a good home with good parents. They put a roof over my head and made sure I had clothes to wear and food to eat. I lived in the same house from the time I could remember till I was 17 and had the love of a family.
I went to private and parochial schools and was encouraged to go to college. My parents attended my ball games, graduations, and awards ceremonies. I had five siblings who lived with me and never left until they went off to college. We were close when we were growing up, and for the most part, we are close now. Such is not the case with the kids in these videos – so how can I relate, how can I help?
What I’m learning more than anything now is helping these kids will start with kindness. Before I knowingly met my first foster-care kid, my small group at church provided much-needed supplies to the Child Protective Services (CPS) in our county. Everything from receiving blankets to warm jackets. We are giving according to what these dedicated men and women at CPS tell us they need.
Another act of kindness was showing our hospitality. We invited foster kids from two counties to attend a Family Fall Festival which was exclusively for them. This carnival-type atmosphere had pony rides, face painting, cotton candy, and various games and rides. We wanted to let them know we care for them, and we started with kindness.
What’s Love Got to Do With It?
Our focus, however, is to let these kids know there is love available for them. Many of these kids have been kicked to the curb, and need a special kind of love – a love they find hard to recognize. A love which will be consistent throughout their life. The love of wisdom and understanding. The love of direction. The love of a family.
The bible says love is patient and kind. It also says it keeps no record of wrongs, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. It claims love never fails.
The problem is many of these kids have never experienced sustained love. Many adults in the foster care system may have said they loved these kids, but few have regularly shown them.
The more I read and learn about these children, the more I understand the special type of love they need. From the children’s own words, we can see adoption in many cases can be a challenge. But what greater way to express the love God has for us than to express the same love to one who needs it.
After a successful Foster Family Fall Fest, we are looking toward the future for ways to keep showing kindness for these kids. We are meeting with other ministries and looking to partner with other churches to become more effective in our community. Please stay tuned for future updates.
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[…] Children in Foster Care: When Kindness Become Love […]