“There is a cost to being used by God.” Aaron Couch
At a recent speaking event, I talked with the adoptive mom of two young children from foster care. With grown kids and now in her early fifties, she and her husband didn’t go into foster care hoping to adopt, but they loved these kids, and when it became clear the children would not be returning to their family, they said, “Yes,” to being their parents forever.
And you know what? It’s beautiful.
And it’s really hard.
Research tells us trauma shapes the brain and interrupts normal development. We know healing the brain takes far more than love, although that’s essential. It takes time and often intense therapeutic parenting. This healing commonly requires help from a team of professionals. And it’s long – loving kids from “hard places” is a long journey.
Adoption looks messy, especially to people outside our families who don’t understand our kids’ unique needs. In fact, it looks and feels messy to those of us on the inside too, but we’re no longer surprised. It’s become our lives.
This mom told me people have questioned whether they made the right decision. Did they really hear God? After all, this appears to be a bit of trainwreck.
My response? The folks asking questions need to read the Bible.
Time and again in scripture, we see people follow God with all their hearts and yet suffer. Hardship is their companion.
There are so many examples, but today, the apostle Paul comes to mind. He was beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, imprisoned, sleepless, hungry, and thirsty. Following Jesus did not make his life easy. It cost him everything.
As my pastor says, “There is a cost to being used by God.”
You cannot enter into a child’s suffering without suffering in some way too. Trauma is messy and spills over onto the ones willing to come near. Yet you have immersed yourself in it in the name of love.
Foster and adoptive parents, you are being used by God. You are a shelter for children needing to know they are precious, valued, and loved. When they look in your eyes and see warmth and acceptance, they begin to trust you, which is foundational for healing.
I know many of you face hardships as a result of saying, “Yes,” to caring for vulnerable children. Don’t lose heart; hold on.
The apostle Paul said it himself, “Your labor is not in vain.”
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Cor. 15:58
You are good parents, doing good work in hard circumstances. God sees you and is near.
Each week I send, 3 Thankful Thoughts, a short email you can read in a minute or two with encouraging words and links to posts and resources. I’d love to include you! I’ll send you a free parenting guide filled with hope as my welcome.
With courage and hope,