Saturday, March 19, 2011

We love them

We were reflecting on the great week we had recently with special friends here and something my friend Lindsay said stood out to us. So much so that it has really compelled me to share about a few things.

It's about our foster babies or "Bonus kiddos" as we like to call them. Our foster baby (aka "Little Man") just turned 2, is a little developmentally delayed, can be super whiny, likes to be a little naughty, and also plays a bit rough sometimes. Our little foster daughters (3 and 6) can act naughty too. Most people don't know, but when the kids first came to our family, we dealt with fits that rival those precious kids on the show "Super Nanny", violent behavior, running away, erratic behavior like digging food out of the trash to eat it and much, much more that I won't go into. We didn't share about most of those things for several reasons. There are obvious privacy concerns, we didn't want to discourage others from helping children such as these in need, we didn't want to embarrass these children, and we didn't want to come across as complaining, perhaps. There are many reasons why we chose to mostly share the fun, positive things, but the biggest reason is the one I wanted to share in this note.

(Little one's face blurred for privacy/security)

When our friends were here this week, Little Man was a little rough with the boys. Lindsay could have gotten appalled or disgusted with him and complained to me or blamed me for him being rough but instead, this is what I heard her tell her sweet Kaleb after Little Man had been mean to him: "Honey, he loves you but he doesn't know better yet. He's never had a mommy like Mrs. Kathy to teach him how to be good and how to show you love so he's still learning." Wow! I literally get tears thinking about her sharing such love for these precious babies AND for her also teaching that love to her children! The entire time she was here I heard her say how precious and beautiful these children were despite the fact that she witnessed pure naughtiness at times. That, my friend, is a glimpse of the Love of Christ.

We have spent the last eight months with these beautiful children. These beautiful, naughty children. Our own children have struggled at times with showing these children love. When our bonus kiddos first came, our children reached out and poured love on them. Rachel gave up her own bedroom for the little ones and moved into a room with 2 little girls. They all shared their toys, clothes, beds and time. Each one of them poured out love. However, it was soon apparent that these children weren't loving them back. We now know that they really didn't know how to love them back yet.  Plus, they were going through a very tough and continuous grieving process. They had moved through 4 foster homes before us in addition to being moved from their biological parents. Since they weren't in a home very long at a time, they had never learned how to love.   But through their rejection, our children became frustrated. A couple of them started to feel it wasn't worth their time to try and love them. It burdened our hearts because it seemed like they were giving up. They were giving up because the kids were naughty and hurt them. We honestly worried about what to do and even considered moving the foster children.
(Little One blurred for privacy/security)
Thankfully, instead, it was at that time we shared with our children a hard lesson: they're naughty too! We are ALL naughty sometimes, aren't we? "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:" Rom 3:10. We all struggle with having stinky fruit at times. We gossip, we're selfish, we struggle with pride...or maybe that's just me. But isn't that why Christ died for us? Isn't that why God sent His ONLY son to Earth to die for us? Because we were totally, completely unworthy to come into His presence on our own. Praise God He rescued us and sent His Son to die for naughty kids like us!

Thus began the true mission in our home. We believe it's possibly a big reason God laid on our hearts to embark on this road of Foster Care and Adoption. We believe we are on the path for God to show us the true Love of Christ. For us to see just what God has done for us. For us to see just how unworthy we really are and to understand even more what it meant for God to save us. US! We're naughty too! God loved us, sent His Son, His ONLY Son to DIE for US and then forgave us. (naughty, selfish, prideful, us!) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son…”John 3:16a.

(Little one blurred for privacy/security)

God doesn't command us to love others only when they are good. He doesn't tell us to "Love our neighbor.." when they're nice to us (Mark 12:31). He doesn't tell us to go into all the world and share only with those who are good and kind to us. (Mark 16:15) No, in fact, it's quite the opposite. We are told that we will be rejected. We may even be persecuted. (John 15:18-20) We might just simply get our feelings hurt or be a little embarrassed for the sake of Christ. It's true. We may suffer trials and tribulations all for the sake of Christ. And some may even die. But, we are still to do those things.

We truly love these children and are teaching our own children to love them and hopefully to love others as Christ loved us. And we are praying that through all of this that the lesson sticks with them. We are working to encourage positive, loving attitudes in them toward the foster children. We encourage them to treat these children just as if they were their own siblings. To spend time together with them. They often ask if a little one can sleep with them in their rooms. They ask if they can do crafts with them and even offer to take them outside to play. We want this attitude in them. We PRAY for this attitude in our children. We pray that they love these bonus children no matter what. The bonus children have improved so, SO much.  They are amazing and don't even seem like the same children they were when they first came to live with us.  They are loving, snuggly, love to give hugs, talk about God and how amazing He is to make us beautiful days and sunshine and how He loves us!

(One of the babies thanking Connor for a gift)
As a family, we work to shun the negative attitude that says these children are not part of our family and especially an attitude that might imply they are not welcome in all aspects of our family life and our family time. We especially work to share God's Love and Plan of salvation to these children so that these children may, in fact, be a part of our eternal family. Which really is the most important thing after all.

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.   And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing."
1 Corinthians 13:1-3


RobandKathy Gandy said...

LOVE this post, Kathy. It is a sermon we all need to hear! Your family is such a blessing to us. Only Heaven will reveal the influence your family is having on these beautiful "foster" children. You are changing the world, one child at a time. God bless each of you! Love in Christ, Rob and Kathy

Always an Adventure said...

I love your heart!