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Have we opted for foster care over adoption spiritually?

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Nearly a year and a half ago, my wife and I began to sense God leading us to become a foster family.

After an entire semester of classes with our Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries, background checks, paperwork, interviews and a home study, we are a little more than three months into fostering a little boy.

As with many things, there was a honeymoon period. Like all honeymoons, it came to an end.

Having “S” in our home was exciting from the start. We have two daughters, so having a little boy was an adjustment.

But as all of us should know, there are no perfect kids (biological or foster) and no perfect parents (biological or foster).

When I became a dad, my understanding of God as Father and His love for us as His children was blown wide open. I love my daughters beyond description and measure.

As a loving parent, I told my wife that we would take any child given to us into our home and family and treat them as our own for as long as had them.

We love S. After having him for three months, memories without him fade with each new day.

In many ways he has become a Young — one of us. His actions, even his appearance, have changed. We wear Chacos, so he does too.

Like my girls, God uses S to teach and remind me of things at a deeper level — the most significant being that there is a difference in being fostered and being adopted. He is with us but not truly one of us.

I spend time with him the same way I do my girls. When he is hurt or afraid, I hold him close. When he is sick, I care for him. When he is hungry, I feed him.

When he has moments of celebration, I am proud for him. When he makes a poor decision, I discipline him.

To those who don’t know us, we appear as father and son. But in reality, he is not mine. He does not belong to me.

Note: I understand that my analogy breaks down here. Foster care is intended to be temporary. Our heart and prayer is for S’s family to be reunited and to prosper.

I can’t help wondering if many have opted for foster care over adoption spiritually?

We find the church. We enjoy its blessings and benefits — maybe even the disciplines — but we don’t truly belong.

We look, act, and sound right, but in reality we’re avoiding, recovering or hiding from our true circumstances. We’re in the church, but not a part of the church.

As we work to reach collegians, we talk a lot about knowing and sharing our faith story (adoption stories).

It can be confusing and mysterious, but we must understand that in a moment, through faith in Christ, we take a step from death into life.

I’m so thankful Jesus was fostered, so that we could be adopted.

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