So, the foster system stinks.
Yeah, it does, but then, a lot of life does. Sin does that to you. When you think about it, the foster system is only here because of sin. Why do kids have to be taken away from their parents? Because the parents make bad choices, do ugly things, pursue their own desires, mess things up.
In other words, they sin. Just like Adam and Eve, just like you and me. They exchange the glory of God for a lie. Their twisted desires are their gods. They worship the creation rather than the creator.
And who gets left behind in the smoking rubble of their lives? Their kids. Kids who didn’t ask for this, kids who didn’t want to be abandoned, kids who are confused and hurt and angry, kids who have a hole in their soul that just a few months in a loving home doesn’t fix.
So the government tries to help. It’s a noble cause and they try, but it’s overwhelming. Their perspective is not quite right. They think you can motivate someone to change without changing their heart. They think that meetings and classes and phone calls and hand holding and lectures will change people’s lives.
And to be fair, sometimes it does work. They still don’t get to the heart, but they can change behaviors. They’re doing it right now with our girls’ dad. For now, he’s on track to get the girls back. He’s had a job for a month or two, has a car, is sober, is working on housing, thinks he has it all together.
It took him a while, but it’s fantastic that he seems to be turning his life around. How can you really wish someone would keep screwing up? You can’t. Unless, of course, that means you’ll get to adopt the girls that have been part of your life for 14 months. Then you kinda want him to mess up.
But then, of course, you feel bad about that. But then you think, “Can he really handle this? He’s 23 and looks 12 and has never lived on his own. Can he juggle two girls and a job and an apartment and food and bills and sickness and clothes and a girlfriend (don’t even get me started) and all the parenting angst that afflicts even those who seem to have every advantage and aren’t battling addiction?”
And then you have to remember that through all the junk, through all the brokenness of the system that says it’s about kids but is really about biological parents even to the detriment of the kids, through all the appointments and forms and meetings and phone calls and forms and more phone calls and doctor visits and oh yeah, more appointments that suck away your time and your energy and your drive, God is working.
He’s always working. Maybe not the way you want right now. But maybe this time the girls have had, this time where they have brothers who play with them and love them for who they are, where they hear Jesus’ name and sing Jesus Loves Me and just started to thank Jesus for dying on the cross for their sins when they pray and yeah, it’s just repeating words right now, but those are awfully powerful words – maybe that will all stay in their minds until they can’t hold it in anymore and even if it’s years from now, maybe God will descend and walk with them and their dad and their family.
Maybe. We don’t know. Yes, it feels cruddy that they might go back. But we worship a God who has proven to be fairly adept at bringing light out of darkness. (See: Abraham, Joseph, Jesus, to name a few.) He already knows what will happen. He just hasn’t told us yet. I want to promise the girls the future, that their bellies will be full and their hair combed and their hearts held safe, but it’s not mine to promise.
So, all that to say this: pray. Pray that the girls stay. Pray that their dad will know Him. I know, it’s confusing. Just do it anyway. We’ll be over here doing the same.