Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Cost of a Child

Court; a dreaded word for my bride and I.  It has become a regular visitor on our life's calendar that brings with it frustration, and often tears.  We are foster-parents and court is a necessary part of the journey in healing families and children who have been taken from parents. 

Regardless of the love and nurturing hearts of any foster-family, my bride and I have discovered that we are, in the court's eyes, "care-givers" - nothing more.  It is deemed that attorneys know better what is in the children's best interests, what their needs are and how to best fulfill those needs rather than the ones who live with these children 24 hours a day.  Inestimable hours have been spent in phone conversations with counselors, health professionals, case workers and their supervisors - all on behalf of the children and their welfare.  There exists a polarization of professional opinions and we find ourselves living our own lives by committee fighting for common sense to rule out.  Nothing can be done on behalf of these young ones without a myriad of individual agencies reviewing and voicing input. 

This is is the price for those who would foster-parent or adopt children who have suffered abuse and trauma.

This is also a path we have consciously chosen.  Our greatest reward in this journey, our greatest vindication will be to watch two small children grow to maturity with the knowledge that they are loved, that they possess worth, and that they can accomplish anything they set their minds and wills to.  If we have nothing more than a season to instill this, then we will pray over seed sown and a full harvest in hearts and minds.  Should it become something more permanent, then we will endeavor to raise up the next Godly generation.  Regardless, there is a cost - yet this cost is rarely discussed freely or openly.  Private people endure private pain.  When engaging conversation, so very often our trials and heartaches remain hidden.  After all, who wants to walk around with their emotions on their sleeve even if strength for the next day seems an impossibility?  So adoptive and foster families keep their struggles to themselves.  Many walk with a knowing light in our eyes, often able to relate, but rarely willing to share to the uninitiated.

I tire of the notion that we have to lure, beg or somehow trick people into being interested in orphan care and adoption by avoiding the realities of the journey.  The truth is it will cost you.  It will be difficult.  Yes it will be the most stretching, taxing endeavor you've ever embarked upon.  There are rewards and joys in the journey, but here is the bottom line:  you will not remain unaltered or undamaged.  As you confront stratified systems and the injustices of others, as you witness hell's carnage in small lives you will weep. 

But far, far more importantly - it's God's heart.  It's that simple.  His passion for the fatherless is the only means by which any of us can hope to see His face and avoid damnation with a host of fallen angelic insurrectionists.  His passion for the fatherless is the love that causes Him to pursue you - the fatherless.  Adoption is His cosmic model.  How often have we prayed to emulate His character, his persona in our lives?  For those who have embarked upon this journey to love the fatherless, the will and the heart of the Father have been revealed and fuels the energies and passions.

Further, ponder this:  When you commit yourself to the fatherless, when you foster-parent, when you adopt that child who has witnessed hell, abandonment, uncertain days - you will pay for someone else's misdeeds.  You will pay the price for their crimes against the innocent.  The price may be minor as in night terrors, bed-wetting, clinging, and constant interruptions to sleep for security's sake.  It may be more severe with emotional and psychological disconnect, tantrums, physical or cognitive delays requiring specialists, physicians, counselors, and psychologists.  No matter the severity - you will bear the burden of another's sins. 

Is this fair?  No, it is certainly most unfair and this child has known little of "fair" in their brief years.  But before you despair or back away indicating "not-for-me" you should remember: there is One who paid the ultimate price unfairly.  Like the foster or adoptive parent, the One who paid for these crimes didn't deserve what was placed upon Him.  None-the-less, His payment secured a life and a new start, a second chance...a thousandth chance if needed... for a new family of sons and daughters. 

And it's a broken family, a messed up family.  This "mixed" family has imperfect people of all colors, sizes and demeanors in it.  Some in this family get along with each other and some still have yet to learn the lessons of selfless love.  But each calls upon a Father who loves them infinitely.  His most favoured Son paid dearly for the crimes of others to bring brothers and sisters into the Father's family.  But with a gaze of penetrating compassion the Son looks to us and says:

"If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself, disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests and take up his cross and follow Me, cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also".
Matthew 16:24 AMP

 This is the cost of a child.

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