“He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 10:18-19
Statistics are overwhelming–over 500,000 American children are currently in foster care. Sadly, there are not enough licensed homes to provide for the needs of abused and neglected children. This dilemma is not simply a national epidemic, but one that exists here in our city, our neighborhoods.
In Jefferson County, there are approximately 1,000 children in custody of the Department of Human Resources (DHR) and roughly 200 available foster homes–a tremendous gap. A need exists in Shelby County as well with more than 100 children in care of DHR and approximately 60 foster homes.*
As the church, we are called to action–to care for the broken, stand up for the poor, fight against injustice, and to advocate for the least of these. As the body of Christ, we are to offer hope, mercy, and grace to others. Jesus said, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me” Mark 9:37.
The good news is it only takes one.
One person to press back darkness on behalf of a little (or big) one.
One mom, dad, brother, sister or friend to cast light into the faded corners of a child’s soul.
One family to set another place at the dinner table.
One person to add an extra bed, kiss another head goodnight or kneel to pray over shattered families.
We must not forget that we were once the prodigal, the sojourner. It is only because of His immeasurable grace towards us that we are able to love others. "Because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19.
One foster family within our church body repeatedly says the Father’s love empowers them to “love without bounds,” their hands upturned allowing Him to stretch them beyond the walls of comfort and into the holy ground of the cross.
Listen as others within our church pour out their lives into children in crisis:
“My experience with foster care has been fulfilling, heartbreaking, exhausting, exhilarating, frustrating, and chaotic; yet, full of wonder that He chose me for this calling. It is a roller coaster of emotions, never knowing the outcome. Having to transform a spare room into a safe and inviting home for children in a short amount of time is extremely hard as a single foster mom. Children arriving to my home without pajamas or a toothbrush shouldn't happen, but it does. Spending long nights trying to calm little ones who can't sleep because they miss their home breaks my heart and wears me down. I do this foster care life because I care and because He called.” Connie Conolley, member OMPC
“When I became a pediatric nurse, I never dreamed how many children I would care for that were admitted to the hospital because they had been abused or neglected. I had almost no experience with foster care until I had to send my patients home with families that were not their own. I met a man recently– he and his wife were in their 60's and retired. It should have been their ‘glory years.’ It should have been time to rest, relax, and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Instead, they chose to give their lives away to children who were not their own. My patient was their 44th child. A child, who had been shaken so hard as a baby, that they were neurologically impaired. I watched this man hold the child as if they were his most treasured possession– that is when I see redemption. That is when I see the darkness being pushed back. I see the Father making all things new.” Catherine Noah, member OMPC
Would you like to learn more about the ministry of foster care? You don’t have to be a full-time foster parent to serve. Please contact Angie Hoffman for more information.
*Statistics from the Alabama Department of Human Resources, April 2014
Posted: 4.28.2015 in Mercy Share: