Foster care a ministry while waiting

By April 7, 2014
The Roberts family uses foster care as a ministry while they wait. (Photo by Buckner International)

The Roberts family uses foster care
as a ministry while they wait.
(Photo by Buckner International)

USA (MNN) — Frustration. Confusion. This is what you feel when you don’t get what you want when you want it. Perhaps God is only asking you to wait.

David and Beth Roberts are a foster family with Buckner International, and they have learned the appropriate response to God’s call to wait. Beth says, “When we got into foster care, our hope and plan was to adopt, and for whatever reason we thought [it] was going to be our first placement. Well, that didn’t happen. Pretty quickly we realized that this child we had–this five-month-old little girl–would be going home to her mother.”

Rather than focusing on their disappointment, the Roberts decided to make the wait worth their while.

“Our focus started to change from not just caring for the child but also for this parent that’s going to be raising her and taking care of this child that I love. So I started to write letters, and we saw her mother once a week,” Beth explains.

The couple recognized that God was asking something special of them: to build into the lives of the children and their broken families. For each child, they would make a point to establish a relationship with the mother and meet with her. Sometimes they would bring devotions to the meeting, and they let the mother know that their child was being raised in a Christian home. Always Beth would write the letters of encouragement and love. They learned to assume that each child would be going back to their parents, and this made it urgent to witness to the family and child.

Eight children have passed through their home in this manner. As time went on, they received children that were old enough to hear the Gospel. And so they did with what time they had.

“Regardless of how long we’ve had them, we’ve loved them as our own, and it was always hard to say goodbye. But this last placement we’ve had has been for a full year, and hopefully we’ll finalize an adoption actually pretty soon.”

Their faithfulness has not gone unnoticed by God, and the couple hopes to finalize the adoption this summer. The mother of this child terminated the possibility of having her child back. At first, Beth struggled with the loss that the mother would be feeling, but then she recognized that it was truly for the best. She says, “I’ve written very detailed letters to them about how I’ll be raising their child and how I’ll make sure that they are remembered in their lives and that they are still a very important part of their lives. I also want them to know that they are very important to the Lord and that He created them for a reason.”

The parents are happy with the child’s placement in the Roberts home. Beth hopes that the child’s mother will one day have a relationship with her family, and most of all that they can all praise God in eternity together.

Beth recognizes that this ministry has been about planting seeds, and she trusts that the Lord will continue to care for the families once they are out of their care. Most of the parents received her words about Jesus kindly and with interest. Pray that the seeds of the Gospel would grow and bear fruit.

If foster care or adoption is something you’ve been considering, Beth has some advice for you. First of all, she chose Buckner because it was a Christian organization that she knew would understand their decisions that were led by the Lord. She liked the fact that they continue to pray for the new families even after everything is finalized.

As for foster care itself, she says, “It is a calling, and you should pray and continue to ask God to speak to you about it. If it’s something He wants you to do, He will continue to put it on your heart. It won’t die and go away.”

When Beth first considered foster care, she and her husband waited a year before they decided that God was indeed calling them to be foster parents. They were excited to get the process going.

Waiting for placements and then for adoption has helped them learn that God’s timing is perfect. With His timing, they have been able to minister to many more families than just one.

Please pray for the family as they work to get this adoption passed. Pray that they can continue to minister to those around them. If you want more information about foster care and adoption, click here.

“It is a tough road,” Beth says, “Foster care is difficult, but it is very rewarding.”

*names changed for privacy

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