boon-dog-gle: (noun) work of little or no value done merely to keep or look busy.
free: (adjective) provided without, or not subject to, a charge or payment.

9/27/05

family...

"Why don't you want to have a family of your own?"

I tried my best not to contort my face or otherwise express the anger or offense I felt at the question. After all, the doctor who asked it was required to sign off on my fitness to become a foster/adoptive parent. I wanted to say, "That's precisely what we're trying to do. When we take children into our home, they will be part of our family--our own family." But, I refrained and instead I answered the question, "Do you plan to have any biological children." So, I said that yes we do plan and hope to have biological children as part of our family along with adoptive and foster children, but we have decided to pursue the opportunity to become foster parents now.

When people find out we plan to become foster/adoptive parents, they often ask why. And, even when they don't ask, I'd bet they are still wondering but are just too polite to ask. Well, we have 3 main reasons that motivate us to pursue this choice. The first is a practical reason. There are many, many children who need a home and need love, and we have a home and love to give them. That one is pretty simple. The second reason I would categorize as theological. My wife and I are Christians and as such we believe what the Bible explains about the Gospel that God adopts people into his family without regard to whether they deserve such a blessing, but only because they need that place in God's family. To be more accurate, they positively do not deserve to be brought into God's family because all people are sinners at enmity with God. But because He loves people in spite of their sin, and because Jesus sacrificed Himself in the place of those who deserved to be forever barred from God's family, we now have a place in it by receiving God's grace in the Gospel. So now, as children in God's family, my wife and I believe we should learn from and imitate our Father and welcome children into our family. The third reason is a bit of a mix of the practical and the theological. As Christians, my wife and I are pro-life. We would encourage all pregnant women not to end the life of their child through abortion. But, we are not only pro-life before birth. We believe the lives of children should be fostered and developed. If a child is not able to be cared for and nurtured by his biological parents, it would be unjust of society and inconsistent of my wife and I to deny the child what it needs to live. And, the women and parents that we would encourage to give birth to their children, if they find they cannot cope with the subsequent circumstances, ought to have options to ensure that those children aren't simply abandoned.

Now, we know we aren't going to solve the problems of the world ourselves. We cannot help every child who needs a home. But, our Christian faith helps us here too. We don't believe we are called to save the world. Jesus has already done that. Eventually, God will set all things to right and there will be no more mourning nor pain nor injustice nor aborted or abandoned children. In the meantime, however, we are simply called to seek God's grace to power us to live faithfully toward him and loving toward our neighbor. I usually feel that I fail at this more often than I succeed. And, fostering or adopting a child won't make up for numerous unfaithful, unloving acts. But, I am grateful that God has given us a desire and opportunity to be faithful in this circumstance. And, I trust that He will continue to guide, support and grow us as we pursue it.

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G.K. Chesterton...

"The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people."