Someone told me recently that she and her husband want to foster when their biological kids are older. She told me they have a heart for foster kids and a background in counseling, so they think fostering would be a great ministry. But they don’t want foster kids to negatively affect their children.
This is not the first time someone has asked me about or expressed concerns about the impact of foster kids on the other children in the home.
The truth is that the positive effects on my other kids far outweigh the negative. My children have grown in compassion for others and have learned to serve kids who are hurting and would otherwise not be in a loving home.
They have learned to share their belongings, share their parents and grandparents, often times with a child who doesn’t do the same. They have learned that just because someone treats you unkindly it doesn’t make it okay to be unkind to them.
We teach our kids that sometimes when a child is sad it looks like they are mad. This is often true of kids that are placed with us. We see tantrums or hitting other kids. But those same things are true at school and in a Sunday school classroom as well. Our children get to learn life skills like this in the safety of our home.
They may have to give up things like jumping on trampolines, and going on spontaneous vacations. But their understanding of what it means to love those that are less fortunate is far greater than many adults that I know. Our kids are not worse off because of our calling to foster. Our kids have grown and become better people because of it. We’ve had family members say that our kids don’t get as much of our love because we have to give so much care to our foster children. But I counter with this, our kids have more people to love and therefore understand it better.
God has called us to this ministry of foster care and adoption. It was not something we entered into lightly, and it is not something that we always love. But the impact on our children has been life changing. I hear our kids playing “house” like all kids do. But the stories they tell are different. Their stories have foster kids. Their stories have adoptions. They visit kids in orphanages.
Don’t we, like them, learn more about love the more we give love?
Recently when driving in the car Brooklyn was commenting about the beautiful houses and said that the people that lived in them must be very rich. Ryan asked her, “Do you wish we were rich?” To which Brooklyn quickly replied “No.” Ryan asked her why not and her answer melted my heart. “Daddy, I know we’d be rich if we didn’t help other people so much. So it’s okay.”
I know from that statement that my children are learning the most important thing of all. Possessions don’t matter, people do.