We had Community Missions Sunday at my church yesterday, which involved having booths from local ministries set up so that people can learn how to volunteer and get involved.
For the second year we set up a booth for the agency that we license through in hopes of encouraging others in our church to think about fostering and adopting.
For the second year in a row, I heard so many of the same comments when people stopped at our booth.
“Oh, I could never do that.”
“I just couldn’t say goodbye when they left.”
“Oh, that takes a very special kind of person. Not me.”
At risk of going on a rant, can I just say something?
I am not special.
If you had always known me, I can tell you that you would not have picked me out and said, “Now her, she’d make a great foster parent.” I am not the kind of person who is just magic with kids. I’m not that pre-school teacher that you know that can walk into a room of four year olds and have them all happy and chanting how much they love me. That’s. Not. Me.
I can also tell you that I screw up on a regular basis. I have to ask my kids’ forgiveness daily. I read as much as I can on therapeutic parenting, and then in the moment I am oh-so-not therapeutic. I am broken. So broken.
If it took a particularly special kind of person to do this, I think there would be even fewer foster parents than there are. I know lots of foster and adoptive parents, and lets just be honest, I don’t think that any of us are particularly…special.
I was shown a need. I was given an opportunity. And I said yes.
I don’t say that to toot my own horn. Goodness knows that the only thing that gets me through most of this life we call fostering is prayer and knowing that God is redeeming all things.
In her book Kisses from Katie, Katie Davis writes:
He chose Moses. He chose David. He chose Peter and Paul. He chose me. He chose you. Common people. Simply people. People with nothing special about them. Nothing special except they said yes. They obeyed. They took the task God assigned them and they did it. They didn’t always do it well, but they said yes, and with His help they did it anyway.
Moses was a murderer, a shepherd just trying to mind his own business and move on with his life when he watched a bush catch fire and not burn up. God wanted to use him to lead His chosen people out of Egypt. Moses was human and told God that he had the wrong guy. Moses wasn’t an eloquent speaker, and he was afraid. But he said yes, and god used him anyway. The Red Sea parted, bread fell from Heaven, and people believed.
David was a shepherd boy, pretty much the runt of the litter, the very last thought in his father's mind, and despised by his brothers. God wanted to use him to be the next great kind of Israel. Though everyone doubted and watched in horror, David said yes, and God use him anyway. Little David used a stone to take down the giant Philistine. The Philistines were defeated, and though David continued to make mistakes, God used Him to make Israel a great national and relay His words to many people.
Sometimes, the everyday routine of my life feels so normal to me. At other times, the idea of raising all these children seems like quite a daunting task. I realize that since I have chosen an unusual path it is easier for outsiders to look at my life and come to the conclusion that it is something extraordinary. That I am courageous. That I am strong. That I am special. But I am just a plain girl from Tennessee. Broken in many ways, sinful, and inadequate. Common and simple with nothing special about me. Nothing special except I choose to say “yes.” “Yes” to the things God asks of me and “yes to the people he Places in front of me. You can too. I am just an ordinary person. An ordinary person serving an extraordinary God.
I know that one of the first responses I will see to this is, “Well, God doesn’t call us all to foster.” And I agree. That is true. But He is very clear in the Bible that we are to care for the least of these, that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, that we are to care for the orphan. (And, for an entirely different post – I don’t think we were necessarily called specifically to foster. Sometimes you just have to do something.)
I do think that he has called many more of us to foster than are actually fostering, otherwise I don’t think there would be children waiting for homes, living in shelters, and staying in foster homes that do not have their best interest at heart.
So. There is my very long response to the people who say they could never do it, that they aren’t specifically called, or that it takes a special person.
I am not special. And you don’t have to be.