Initial Thoughts with a Foster Child

Here's little Adelyn meeting the new baby for the first time.

Here’s little Adelyn meeting the new baby for the first time.

Last Tuesday Michelle and I received our first foster placement. We have been unbelievably blessed to invest ourselves in the life of a beautiful baby boy. Here are a few of the highlights of our experience so far, both the good and the bad.

Secrecy is bizarre, and even feels a bit cruel.

With foster kids you also adopt an interesting set of rules. We can’t show his face publicly (which is why you see the very selective camera angles in our pics). We can’t share his name publicly. And we can’t tell anyone (even our other family members) his story before ending up in our home. It is very odd to have such a major part of your life with the coupling of strict secrecy to go with it.

People often struggle with the concept of fostering but not with the actual children.

Before we got our little guy it often felt like people wanted to talk us out of doing this. We’d get comments like:
  • “Are you sure you are ready for this?”
  • “Your kids are so young already.”
  • “We could never do something like that.”
You walk away from these conversations second guessing yourself and feeling a little bit crazy. Clearly we aren’t thinking through this the way everyone else is. The result was that we were slightly nervous to see how people would react once we brought a child into our home. We couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised. My Facebook post announcing the new arrival garnered nearly 500 “likes” and almost 100 comments. While you might argue that those types of metrics on social media are superficial, I can honestly say that it felt like a tremendous vote of support from a lot of people. Even better has been watching the way our family and friends have reacted to him. If you didn’t know the story it would be impossible to guess that he isn’t our’s by blood. Everyone… our immediate family, our extended family, and our friends, have welcomed him in. This little man has never been so loved.

Seeing our kids develop a heart for others is one of the best parts of this.

We ended up waiting about a month until we actually got a placement. That meant daily prayers with our kids asking God to bring us a new baby. One of the coolest moments was when Michelle picked Gavin (our five year old) up from preschool and his teacher told her that every time it’s his turn to pray he prays for a new baby with the entire class. Adelyn (our two year old) is still developing her prayer life so it’s pretty simple at this point. Before we got him, she would simply utter the word “baby” while she closed her eyes in prayer. Now she prays for “my baby.” Since we’ve had him, our other three kids absolutely adore him. The biggest issue we have is convincing them to give him enough space! Loving people as family even though they are different than us is becoming a normal part of our kids lives. It’s hard to imagine something better.

Changing someone’s story is one of the most tangible ways of experiencing the Gospel. (tweet this)

I’m not an emotional person but just thinking about this little guy can bring me to tears. You look into his eyes and realize that you are forever changing his story. That’s the Gospel. God’s redemption breathing life into the brokenness. With children, the brokenness is often tangible and the symptoms can break your heart. Yet it is precisely in meeting those needs that we realize God’s power and heart for all of us. It also ignites your prayer life like nobody’s business. This is a young story and is sure to have many twists and turns to come. While we don’t know the outcome and realize we aren’t in control, we trust in a good God who has invited us into the adventure of a lifetime. Even if it is simply a prayer from a distance, we appreciate you joining us in this story of redemption.

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Jeremy Jernigan

Speaker | Author | Founder of Communion Wine Co.