Fostering: When the Music Fades
Kevin EastKevin East is the President of The Mentoring Alliance - a ministry dedicated to mobilizing godly people into the lives of kids and families, to provide tangible help and eternal hope. You can find more articles written by Kevin at his blog, "Following to Lead". Connect with him on Twitter at @kevinteast.
- 2012 Jan 10
The other day I was on the ground cleaning up food that had been spilled...again. You know, little kid food. The kind that is all over the face, the hands, the booster, and of course the floor.
As I wiped the floor, there were four separate kids in my house crying, screaming or playing, all at the same time. In that moment, the old song lyric came to mind, "when the music fades". Remember the old Matt Redman song, "Heart of Worship"? Yeah, that first line of that song came to mind...
"When the music fades, and all is stripped away..."
Two months ago we received our first foster daughter. Many around us were excited for us. All those comments of how cute she is, or how she is in such a better place being with our family. In our excitement, we rode a wave of adrenaline and curiosity as we set forth on a new adventure. I even wrote about it. The "cheering" was loud. The enthusiasm high. But eventually it faded. And two months later, here we sit. I can tell you why people don't foster. Especially men like me. Here's why:
- Loss of Freedom - Now that we have 4 kids under the age of four, with two in diapers, it just limits spontaneity. Bottom line: I want to be able to do what I want to do, when I want to do it.
- Loss of Options - Last week I took my family to the Great Wolf Lodge in Dallas. We had reserved a room for two nights. We had a great time at the water park, but at the end of that first day I went to the front desk to let them know we wouldn't need our second night. Why? Because we were exhausted trying to watch these four little ones. Adding another one in diapers definitely limits what we are able to do, or at least how long we can do it.
- Loss of Silence - Yeah, as you would expect, our house, our car, our yard...they are all louder now. When one screams, they all scream.
- Loss of Control - Our foster daughter is cute and all, but what happens if I really end up liking her? I hear this one a lot from people. How could they ever give the child back?
Last year I was teaching a Bible study out of the book of Leviticus. As many began to understand more about the reality of sacrifice, Romans 12:1 suddenly had new meaning.
"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship."
We have been called to offer our bodies as living sacrifices. That is our spiritual act of worship. Problem is, a living sacrifice can get up off the altar, and walk away. And so often, that is exactly what I do. But not this time. For two months now, I have watched a little girl grow up. She came to us possibly stoned. For days she barely acknowledged us.
Two months later, she is laying on my chest trying to wrestle with me and my boys. She had her first birthday, her hair has come in a lot more, and she now has a sweetness in her face (when it's not covered in lasagna). All the while I am reminded that, "In you the orphan finds mercy." Hosea 14:3
In the meantime her dad has abandoned the family, her mom has failed 2 straight drug tests, and not even come to see her daughter over the past 3 weeks. So yes, the music has faded. The reality has set in.
Amidst all of that, I have come to realize how little of a sacrifice it really is. We did leave a water park a day early. No big deal. We have lost a little spontaneity, it's a little louder and yes, we are well out of control in pouring our love on this little girl. We are getting to show a little girl a glimpse of a Father's love for her, and we are loving every minute of it. Well...maybe not EVERY minute....