- Claire Carty
Foster parenting; the blessing and the struggle
CANTON – I have always had a heart for two things: God and children. I spent my life loving and serving kids in church, at camps, and have always been a sappy Jesus lover. As a child I had all these dreams of living my life abandoned to Jesus, serving Him, and loving kids that are not my own by fostering, running an orphanage, and adopting.
My husband and I decided to start fostering during the heart of the Pandemic as we were sitting at home desperately desiring that God use us to accomplish his glory. We desired to show struggling families compassion, and take care of vulnerable children. We wanted to offer what we have to God to use it for His plan.
In my mind I must have pictured fostering as this sweet, idyllic triumph of ours. Dan and I, these wonderful parents, loving kids through the tough times. Which IS true. But fostering, in my experience, has been much more like a constant fight. I often gird up my loins, put on armor, and go into battle, bruised, weary and disillusioned. I am so tired and weary. And maybe you are too.
When I have time alone with the Father I picture myself as a warrior child, coming desperately to my Father for rest. Because this is hard! We are constantly at the mercy of adults who don’t know this child, the whims of broken and desperate people, changes to schedule and plans, and workers who change often. There are so many hard things about fostering. However, my greatest struggle has been with someone I didn’t expect.
My flesh is so weak. Nothing has demonstrated this more than being a foster parent. I want to wrap my baby up and protect him. I want to take control. I want my plans to come true. I am often anxious, sad, and desperate. I resent the sacrifice and hardship it brings along with it. I get angry, often irrationally. I tell God I deserve to be this boy’s momma. I think my ways are better than an almighty God whose loving kindness already has this baby’s future planned out.
I constantly require bringing my thoughts and my heart under the submission of Christ. To know that He is the Loving Father with complete sovereignty. That’s the best truth.
So, I lay myself before the God I love with all my idolatry, anger, fear, and anxiety. And I repent. I seek forgiveness. I remind myself that this baby is not mine, (even if we adopt) that his real father is our Heavenly Father who loves him more than I ever could, and has plans greater than mine could ever be.
In a position of very little control, I see who truly is on the Throne.
I am just a steward, a temporary owner of this precious little life. Yet, the one who holds it is his Creator.
I find peace knowing God loves this child more than I ever could. And that He has planned his life from the beginning of time. I work (hard) to take every thought captive to Christ, to rest and find strength in Him.
This choice we made has changed me more than I think it’s changing the children in our care. God is using me, yes, absolutely! But more than that He is molding me, shaping, and refining me to be MORE useful, more obedient and more like HIM.
It urges me to ask you: where are you weary and need rest? Where is life and circumstances getting in the way of your true worship of God? What hard places in life might God be using to teach you and make you more like Him?
My prayer for you and for me is that we would keep our eyes on the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. That we would seek His kingdom and His righteousness no matter the cost. That we never stop boldly knowing and seeking Him. And Hey! If this article touched something in you to become a foster parent, we NEED Christian foster parents. Maybe that is the hard thing God is calling you to right now…
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Claire Carty is a wife and foster momma in Canton, MI. I adore my husband, our foster son, our doggie Daisy, pink sunsets, and summertime. I am a former teacher and now work at an engineering company.