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Giving God the Reins In Your Foster Parenting Journey

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Cross Radio
May 11, 2022 6:00 am

Giving God the Reins In Your Foster Parenting Journey

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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May 11, 2022 6:00 am

In this broadcast, Jamie Finn emphasizes the importance of Christian families becoming involved in foster care in some form and shared how the Christian community needs to be supportive of both the kids in foster care and their biological parents.

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I remember one night I was rocking him to sleep and I had done all the things I had fed him and changed him and he said have been happy in my arms and she wasn't and the answer had to come from something deeper that couldn't change it had to come from God and understanding his character, his promises and really fighting to believe the things that I said I believe that's Jimmy soon talking about the hope that Jesus Christ gives us in our parent injury. She joins us today on Focus on the Family to talk about foster parenting, and all of the trials and blessings that come with hostess books, Pres. and Dr. Jim Daly for joining us on John Fuller, Jon.

I love this topic. I know not everyone is capable or available to do foster parenting, but I'm telling you folks working to cover some territory today that needs to be covered. We have about just over 400,000 kids in foster care in the United States about hundred and 10,000 of those are available for adoption and I you know when you look at the Christian church. I can't think of the field more right on the harvest than this one. I again I just don't think we should have kids in foster care waiting with the Christian church if it were active in all this collet out there and working to talk about this today. I remember Jean and I talked about our program.

Wait no more, which restarted her focus really because of my stint in foster get you charged us to give you.

So when we got that going. I got home and we had aired a program about people getting engaged in trying to call people into that space ever got home and Jean said what you can ask others to do what we should do it. I said wait a minute, I was the foster kid did my time if she gave me that stink eye like no that's not good.

So we got certified with probably over eight years. Had 15, 16 kids are home and some of it was amazing and most of it was challenging and that's part of it, but I'll tell you what we know through the kids have accepted the Lord because of that engagement. What is that worth a leave that out there, let it hang in today were to talk about and challenge you to do what James 127 says, which is to care for orphans and widows in their distress doesn't get any clearer than that everybody and I'm excited about the top of the other something that we can all do each and every one of us can do something in this journey. And we've invited Jimmy Finn here to talk about just what we can do a Jimmy is a foster parent as speaker, founder of them told is the largest online support group for foster parents is called foster the family yesterday and is the author of a book called foster the family, encouragement, hope, and practical help for the Christian foster parent stop by the program notes or give us a call to get your copy are numbers 800 the letter a in the word family Jamie. Welcome to Focus on the Family, thank you so much. I'm so happy to be here for the first time things will I let that sweet and thanks for listening. Your young mom right I am that I your heart for foster care and Ellen and I love your heart for foster two let's start with the angelic music role the music paint a picture for us about you and Allen's relationship before foster care when everything was simple yet simple and operates in that what we were pursuing this average American life where we had one boy one girl we were working in and doing sort of normal life and I which is good. It is good and we felt a connection that there was so much more than just the American dream and how did you start fostering that what was the spark which one you, Alan, are you okay well me and said okay Alan it with me and and I've learned since that that is the common experience of 95 phrase that I tell people to wait a minute.

Yeah, my husband had adopted sisters. That was something that we kind of always talked about enough. Maybe one day sort of flag let's camp there for second says that such a normal reaction to say when this is in place when our kids are coming, that is kinda normal to think. When is the best time sure yeah there is no ducks in a row sort of way of looking at it and I think it's important that were prepared but there's also nothing that can prepare you.

Thanks for saying that it was a step of faith and for me it with an active passion.

I wanted to follow God into this for Eileen. It was sacrificial obedience rate was being compelled by God's word that God was calling us to do something for the widow and orphan yeah you shared that verse. I'm thinking of that in a sporting event kind of context you have passion meeting sacrifice that sounds like conflict well and there wasn't conflict. I'll say there was pleading on my pie. Yeah, there was a pleading of. Here's the need hear the stories and then I realized how my husband is a man of conviction and if I ask him to go to God's word.

He's going to find their this clear calling, and that clear calling isn't that everyone become a foster and adoptive parent but there's a clear calling that we are's tapping in to the vulnerable and the broken the lost when we see the most vulnerable population we go right to foster children. Children who need to be adopted but there is also this community of struggling families who may be able to keep children out in foster care and so it's not as simple as become a foster parent for some families it might be welcome the family into your home for dinner or bring groceries to that single mom or help in some way a family who struggling not just jumping in after the state has already gotten it all right. And that's great. Those are good things to do work in a wrap the program at the end here were some of the things people can do so.

Remember those will bring them back once again. But let let's speak to the challenges that exist and I think you know we have a program called wait no more. And it's pointed at church members know the BICSI church. What we do to engage people. So we work with local churches to set a time, the people can come and learn more and there's agencies. There they can get fingerprinted, they could start the process all those good things. But one of the things I'm proud of the team for doing is they do talk about the challenges these kids come with a lot of emotional sometimes physical issues and you have to be prepared there's no box it says normal and when you qualify your home for a foster situation, you do check boxes of what types of kids emotionally, spiritually, physically, or able to manage and it is a weird experience to go through that head knocking or food hoarding. I mean you're cynical how these kids have gone through so much trauma that they have issues yeah and that has been what we've come to learn, I think we started off with let's welcome. One baby, one time, and part of the idea of the baby was will get a child who is good as new. A clean slate and that was sort of the way we came in today and what we've learned tends is that trauma is a part of every single child who has entered the foster care system. Prenatal prenatal absolutely. So we've had kids come to us from the hospital who've been asked those two drugs, alcohol, chronic stress in utero in a way that has affected them and will affect them for the rest of their lives. Remember, you know, of the 15 kids are so we had two sets of siblings for extended period of times in the second set was a brother and sister and a member of the first morning I woke up for breakfast.

The bowl cereal.

He was like two years old and so I made him cereal and then a six types of toast and toast cuts makes eggs. I mean within about 10 minutes. There was mound of food. No way he was going to eat that, but it was like his fear of food insecurity, and he every morning for about a month.

It went this way we would just ask. I have more can I have more and I just want to prove to him it's all available. You don't have to worry but it took about a month well and you could have said that over and over all there is enough food for you, advertisement logic, his brain and body needed to learn food which Ella that's part of the you are challenged by commencement speech involving think a dollar there and how does it relate to foster care of Buck yeah I went to my best friend's graduation and the speech was here's the dollar this is your life. You get to spend it wants and that has been a driving force for me through my lightheaded speak to the specific really believing that this life is something that we are going to spend up that will matter for eternity and I just so want even as you know, my 13-year-old that was put in my heart of I just want the way I spend my days to matter in eternity that really does get to that scripture and drinking know this is pure religion. Yeah, this is your peer dollar right wow you had an original plan for fostering that wasn't necessarily what it should've been. I guess is the way it was described. Eugene and I struggle with having that original plan. One of things I was really impressed by the parent training that you receive in the foster programs. Typically, I can only speak Colorado yeah I'm glad that your experience know is really good that's I mean I thought every parent should get this kind of training about how to raise a child. Talk about the spiritual elements which is very practical about temperament and anger and how to embrace your child with love. These are common themes right but I think every parent wants that and every foster parent desires to express that to these kids but describe your process of wanting to protect those foster kids from their parents. Yeah I came in with a very nave at best and I would say arrogant and sort of savior complex of these kids have been in these homes with these horrible yet horrible homes with these abusive addicts to hurt them in and that was the mindset I came in with and I am so grateful that God rescued me from not what is it sound like in a better way to cite some of that is real, you're sitting on which put this two-year-old through this dimming the things our kids have gone through their heartbreaking lot of drugs and drug addiction is big in foster yeah it's devastating to see the way it affects the kids that we love, but I think what God did in my heart was just diverse.

What do you have that you have not received and that went deep into my cell of who I am is only a gift of God.

Only the gifts that he's given me in both my family and support system and healthy childhood but also tests in the resources and strength and grace that he's given me and began to view my kids parents very differently through the lens of compassion and empathy so good you have a story were you became very fearful because a little boy I think you may have changed the names like we all do you name the Mikey was placed in your home. What would happen with Mikey. He was three months old when he came to us and he had already been in five homes.

Because yes, he was struggling he was hard baby who had been through a lot of hard things and so he was having a hard time and was spending a lot of time crying, and a lot of his time in my arms and I got to know his mom and I knew how deeply she was struggling and I remember one night I was rocking him to sleep and I had done all the things I had fed him and changed him and he should have been happy in my arms, and he wasn't and fear came into my heart of just how she can I do this and I was consumed with this idea that she would not be able to keep him safe and it yeah it the answer couldn't come in her ability because I knew her enough to know how it would be a struggle. The answer had to come from something deeper that couldn't change it had to come from God and understanding his character, his promises and really fighting to believe the things that I said I believe in the truth is what we believe as Christians is only one into these promises are actually true and always kept in that's God's right for Jesus. And so that's a good thing to remember. I know that is an orphan good people. It's hard to trust people.

You learn over time, hopefully to trust people again, but this poor foster kids that trust has been broken in so many ways. That's one of the restorations that we in the Christian community need to provide. Yeah.

And part of that is going to be in their spirit and heart and part of it is going to be in their brains and body recognizing that's critical. Jimmy Mitchell something I want to hit for the listener. The viewer right now in the weight no more program were doing something that we kicked around for a while, but we are really launching it in that way right now that Mikey having five homes.

Often what happens with these foster children as they get their things thrown into a hefty garbage bag and they drag the garbage to the next house. That's all I have. So one of things to bring dignity to these kids were trying to do is do a suitcase with the Bible and a teddy bear. And we have more demand than we have ability to deliver that that we just sent. I think we had 2000 distributed in the state of Florida and would love to again equip 400,000 kids with those suitcases Bible and teddy bears. So if you want to join in that with us.

It's $100 to do that and you can do a one-time gift of $100 or $25 a month and that over year. You will supply three suitcases. These kids but it's one of the small ways to us, but ways to them that they have a sense of dignity.

These kids will get that suitcase, a teddy bear and that Bible and the 1 Amazing Way to help buttress them spiritually, physically, emotionally, yet such a great tangible reminder of God's love is the fact that someone cares for them. Will this is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly were talking to Dave to Jimmy Finn and she's got a great ministry called foster the family and she's come out with a book titled the same foster the family, encouragement, hope, and practical help for the Christian foster parent. Donate today and get a copy of that book help us help those children in the foster system or numbers 800 the letter a in the word family and the link is in the show notes that Jamie, when you had your first biological daughter you had some health complications that kinda tested that idea that you're in control of your environment. Oh my goodness Jean very similar images and I think it's a great mom attribute I want to control safeties or everything what they learn what they each say and guess what you can't control that much yeah yeah I had a perfect birth plan going to go to a birth center and everything was going to be perfect in a day before my due date I started having stroke like symptoms I lost control of half my body and my face was drooping and I was airlifted to the local hospital and in a moment. My plans were gone and it was my trial by fire my welcoming to motherhood that I wasn't going to be able to control anything. Then we became foster Pickens right and really learn that we are not in control of anything it does, it can knock actually sit this way it'll knock sense into yeah that makes sense now, you think all of us as parents think we can kinda control no. I think all knowing that you know the Lord chose to give us free will, and it deftly comes out most little children at one point you came to a breaking point is what you wrote the book because a little girl you wanted to adopt was pulled away at the last minute. I would say you know going in that context. When you're looking to adopt out of foster care.

You go to buttress your heart because there's a lot of bumpy roads. Yeah. And the reality is that the foster care system has one goal that the court system and the workers are aligned to and that is reunification until reunification can't happen. And so I think it's important that people understand when they're entering that system that their hearts and their goals need to stay aligned to what the goal of the system is and that is not just what the state says but I also believe it is in union with God's heart for healing and restoration for something that he created to be made holy. Then what happened in that situation with the daughter. What were the bumpy roads like for you and your husband Alan so we said goodbye to our daughter after 2 1/2 years. So you had her to. That's part of the funkiness and wishes that she came to us at three months old, while and she had spent her whole little life.

I thought you and to say that it was heartbreaking and traumatic is planning on adopting her in some paperwork. Went crazy minutes. This is ridiculous. When I heard the story of what yeah well what happened was Comed. And though that everyone got extra time and I'll be honest, at first I thought well this just stole our daughter from us and ruin our lives and by God's grace, he changed my perspective to this gave her mom enough time to finally get clean. She was, she went back with her bio she did while the rear biological mother and it was 18 months of her mom struggling and they change the goal to adoption and then we were. We were happy to go there but the goal changed when her mom's health and ability changed and it was a test of what we really believe about the family not just about trusting God, but about his design for the family and his commitment to restoration and healing and she's with her mother and their great yeah that's a good outcome. Sometimes there's chaos and that reunification to we had that experience with two kids who went back with the parents. Mom overdosed and the grandparents were in a position to do anything they call the dad who's in rehab then calls us and says can you take the kids were like definitely will take him back but what happened you know that happens to she just could not beat the drug addiction and finally took her life. And you know that just really said describe the idea. This is really interesting and it's a great metaphor were your your husband Alan was laying next to bed, looking under the bed. You walked in the room what was going on. Yeah, I walked into our foster child room and I saw him reaching under the bed and I was like you need something what's going on, I realized he was reaching under the bed holding the hand of one of our foster children and she had a tendency to when she was afraid. Go hide and we would find her in cabinets and in corners and under the bed and it was a picture for me of my fixedness.

My let me come in and make this right. Let's talk about it and my husband bent towards just being with her just being present and empathetic and letting her know that he was going to be there with her and it just created a beautiful image for me of what it looks like to you we say weep with those who weep and lie under the bed with those who lie under the bed. One of the being in foster care. When I was nine and 10. I can you know those memories are scorched into my mind.

It wasn't a great experience that wasn't a real healthy functional family that I was with and I don't want to go into all that, but the point I wanted to make is a child's heart. There emotional lips are so parched that just those elections of your husband tears me up just reaching under the bed. That's something that girl remember forever, you know, we don't even understand it's a little action that in a healthy context. Maybe the kids won't remember that because are so many other good things that they're going to know but speaking to the child calmly running your fingers through their hair, gently assuring them that their loves, those are all things with parched souls that makes such a difference and that's what so beautiful. Yeah, it's it's really also a picture for me of God's heart for these kids watching my husband with his foster children just reminds me of God's heart for them and it's beautiful to be able to watch that and probably reinforces why you married him right for me because he didn't want to do that, you know you ask him what he wanted to become a foster parent. He says never that he did it out of obedience. And God has has shaped him into this compassionate man Jimmy. We said at the beginning want to come back practical things people can do lots in their is no obviously getting engaged in the foster program in your state.

It's a process you gotta get your home qualified to come and inspected in each state is slightly different and it feels intrusive but keep your eye on the big prize of being engaged at that level is what it's all about it's for the kids, and even with all the state requirements and policies and regulations just plow through it on of those in authority over you and get in there and start doing the work God called you to do now there's other things families can do, what if you learn that really benefits of foster family or foster adoption family yeah well you shared. We know Mars initiative. There are there ways like that where we can take the resources that we've been given and share them with others and money is one of our resources. Another one of our resources is our time and energy are relationships and as a foster parent. One of the most meaningful things to me is in people who are willing to be in the trenches with us who are willing to listen to the stress and the heart ache and speak truth in God's word to us when were struggling to trust him. So that is been meaningful, just friendships but then also the way that people come and serve us the ways that people will bring meals or take out one of our kids or you know bring a child to the babysitter or something like that. Those practical ways of we are sort of on the front lines of this and the people in our lives have said we want to support you as you that this is your mission. Our mission is to stand with you oh so good that some of the research that we've seen is if you have five families that come around a foster family order foster adoption. Family that can just help them do the grocery shopping was well maybe do the laundry for them to do the yard work. Maybe clean up the house. Whatever you can do to support if you got five families in your corner, it actually becomes a very successful situation. So that's another thing to do, encourage churches and don't go to the past and say pastor, can you do this do-it-yourself church. Don't ask him to do it but just volunteered to lead a foster adoption support group that your church can we know. I'm so proud of the church here in color springs. The new life Church Brady Boyd. We have lunch. I said, here's one thing you submit will adopt that will adopt 100 kids out of foster care. If we do this and we did and then adopted more than 100.

Think of that and then they put a program anywhere you talked about all of them becoming cousins. These are our cousins and take care of them and you know he just did it in such a great way every church can do that. And again, when you look at that opportunity for us to get engaged manage it's a field right on the harvest and I would just encourage people to do the Jimmy thank you for this wonderful book foster the family. What a great call.

I'm in your corner is no thank you and I would really want to turn the listener the viewer to encourage you to look at this, go to the website foster the family book.com and get more of the ideas in better order the book through Focus on the Family and all those proceeds we can put right back in the ministry and I hope you'll do that as well. If you can support us on a monthly basis. That's great and will send you a copy of the book as our way of saying thank you when you do one time gift is good as well. So just be part of the ministry and let's do this you in any gift you can make today will be greatly appreciated.

And as Jim said will put that work right away her numbers 800 the letter a in the word family 800-232-6459 and of the link is in the show notes we get in touch ask about wait no more in how you can support our effort to come alongside these families activate them on behalf of foster care kits again are number 800 the letter a in the word family and John let's again remind folks I can support the suitcase program would provide suitcase, a teddy bear. The Bible disease, foster kids, so jumping to do that. Jean and I do that I hope you'll help us and Jamie. Again, thank you for your heart. You and Ellen for what you are showing others do what's possible. I so appreciate thank thank you and thanks for having me and thank you for joining us today. Plan to be with us next time will hear from Dave and Ashley Willis about having a stronger, healthier marriage, I kinda try to just handle it by myself.

But I do not recommend for a while because I I believe the lie to you that it was just my problem but in marriage.

I want to make it very clear it's never his problem. Her problem every problem, every subtle is our problem in our strata good half of Jim Daly the entire team.

Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back. As we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ and I knew my marriage was falling apart.

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