When we began our journey of adoption, we first became foster parents. In a few years we fostered twenty-plus children long term. We believed we could push past any obstacle to minister to the children who came into our home. Well, I still believe this really. Honestly, as foster parents, it seemed to me the greatest obstacles we faced were often all of the appointments and expectations of others that kept us from having the quality of family life that we wanted these children to experience with us. So many services were available to the children who came into our home, that we were very busy, racing to multiple appointments each week – visitation, counseling, caseworkers, CASA, early intervention, and so on. These activities left us busy, but not full with the things we wanted to cultivate.
When we chose to love these children, we realized quickly that the love we felt for them was not often reciprocated. We had to keep choosing to love them even when they pushed us away. To love them even when they didn’t know how to receive love from us. To have a love for their birth parents who could not parent them at this time. To love them in the best way we could — making our greatest attempt to love them as the Father has loved us. Loving children who did not know what to do with our affection and our love for them was challenging at times. We had to be realistic in our expectations of others. We had to choose to intentionally cultivate relationship in the face of strong resistance. We came to the conclusion that it was not about us, what we can get, or what love, gratitude, or appreciation we can receive. It was about being available and loving to “the least of these.” Making room in our lives to be open to receive children. Being available to say, “let the children come.” Being vulnerable. Mostly, having the grace of God activated in our lives so that HE could empower us to keep nurturing… loving…giving…regardless of the return.