This week, I began a new daily devotion on YouVersion. It’s written very specifically to help the reader experience God’s heart for foster kids.
So I started reading, in the midst of learning last week about an 11-year-old boy in foster care (who we’ve met) who has been tossed to and fro like a piece of nothing, adopted and then un-adopted. And this week, Lindsey went to volunteer at a children’s group home, and met a little girl who is just twelve years old — and pregnant with her father’s child. There are no words.
And then this: today’s devotion.
I hope my copying this much of the devotion isn’t plagiarizing. You can download the whole 30-day devotion for free here: Fostering Hope Devotional, by Deb Shropshire, a pediatrician deeply involved in the plight of foster children.
“I’m not adoptable,” he stated flatly. “What?” I was surprised by his comment. “I’m. Not. Adoptable.” He repeated it more loudly, as if perhaps he thought I was hard of hearing. He was sitting on my exam table, and I had just been looking in his ears and asking him about school and friends and girls. Then the conversation turned to family. His parents had lost their rights years ago.
“I went to this adoption party, and I overheard some people say that I’m not adoptable because I am too old.” At that, tears welled up in his eyes and began to spill down his face…
My mind was spinning, quickly assessing my own family situation. Did I want to add a 15 year old boy with 10 years of foster care baggage to the mix? No. I told him that I thought he was perfectly adoptable, and that I was sure someone would come along who wanted him. It sounded lame even to me.
“Do YOU want me? Would YOU ever adopt me?”
I was frozen. Of course I wanted him to have a family; I just didn’t want the effort of being it. He could sense my struggle, and his face changed again, this time looking reserved and emotionless. “It’s OK,” he said. “My case worker says I need to spend the next couple of years learning how to take care of myself anyway.” Head down, I left the room and went on to the rest of my day, but I never forgot him. And I didn’t sleep for a week. And I felt like a fraud. And I have always wondered if he should have been MY son.
This sentence hit hardest of all:
“Of course I wanted him to have a family; I just didn’t want the effort of being it.”
Brutal. Truthful. And I’m praying.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love,
I am only a resounding gong or clanging cymbal.”
(1 Corinthians 13:1)