As a Foster/Adopt dad, I am part of a large community of like minded people. We go to meetings, connect for play dates, have coffee or break bread together. We enjoy retreats together and have private Facebook groups where we can share battle stories and commiserate with one another. I know the struggles I have from fostering and adopting special needs children… then I hear stories from my brothers and sisters in this community and realize that my stories are nothing.
Even within this tight knit community, we sometimes ask ourselves… are we crazy? Do we have some condition that belongs on the ‘My Strange Addiction’ show? I mean many of us who have these horror stories, still go out and do it again. What’s wrong with us?
At times I have thought, ‘I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy’. The only way a foster situation exists is because of trauma, and often significant trauma. These deep traumas at such a young age can manifest in so many physical and mental issues. No amount of training can truly prepare you for this. As a result, most of us foster/adopt parents end up with some form of PTSD ourselves. And we do this willingly? Repeatedly?
But the truth of the matter is, it is my prayer that everyone I know and love, could experience what we experience in the foster/adopt community. I don’t want others to experience this so they can better relate to my struggle and plight, but so they can better relate to Him who saves us.
Paul writes “In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” (Eph 1:5-6) This kind of adoption is not something as simple as a chameleon adopting a color. This kind of adoption is deeper. It means that despite our brokenness, our own trauma, our own mistakes and issues, God chose us as His own. Having our own earthly experience of fostering and/or adopting post trauma kids gives us a glimpse into the depth of love God has for us.
Christ also warns us of trouble, and in fact says that some of that trouble will be as a result of following Him. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) He also said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matt 16:24) Paul even warns us saying, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Tim 3:12)
David even talked about connecting with God in the most magnificent ways through his pain.
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.
– Psalm 40:1-3
You see, the truth is I’m not crazy. None of us are. We’ve simply experienced God in a way that leads to craving Him more. By no means does that mean we seek out more pain, but we know that in giving of ourselves in the way we do, pain will come. Rather than closing off to that pain out of fear, we know that through that pain and discomfort, He will meet our every need and we will feel His love in a way I could only dream others experience.