Dear Pro-Lifers and Human Rights Advocates: Meet Foster Care

 Two years ago my husband and I were in a Bible Study. If a political satire cartoonist came into that room and, after 5 minutes, drew a caricature satire, it would be of a bunch of “Gun Toting Republicans.” All white. All pro-life. And not a person in the room, including myself, had a single foster child in their home. Hold tight and don’t get your knickers in a twist . We will be jumping back and forth between Red and Blue and even Purple (combo of Red and Blue for those of you who didn’t catch the color blend). Lets just say I am an equal opportunity offender today.

There was a particular group of men speaking about being pro-life and I decided to pipe in, probably in a not so loving and overly haughty way. “You know, just saying with your mouth that you are pro-life, doesn’t make you pro-life.” This is where someone should have thrown down a pen so we could hear it drop. Expressions went from confusion to irritation. I realized immediately that I should work on my delivery a bit more in the future.

I was fiery and sensitive on the subject; sensitive and disturbed by the apathy of the church that seems so willing to say “pro-life” with their lips, yet only a very small fraction actually open their doors to a foster child. Being pro-life stretches much farther than outside of the womb. It is about valuing all phases of life. It’s about loving on vulnerable woman who need someone to speak life into theirs and have an ongoing need for support, regardless of whether she aborts or not. She needs loving and safe arms. She and her baby need a church that is willing to stay with them and get messy.

The children in foster care are from women who could have aborted. Life was chosen, and through a series of dark events, their children find themselves, at no fault of their own, “in the system.” But where are all the pro-lifers? Where are the folks who begged for these women to give life to their baby? When that baby enters the world and is dealt a really hard hand, where are those same folks who should be standing by their doors, ready to open them for these children? Foster care is an extension of being pro-life. Being pro-life means valuing life at all phases, from womb to world thru end of life.

2017 was a big year where Human rights were advocated for in big ways. People were marching for Chains of oppression to be broken. There have been marches in every major city, hashtags galore, and bold stands were taken to bring awareness to oppression that should be liberated. At the exact same time these marches were taking place, Department of Children and Families (DCF) were calling foster parents, begging them to take in another child. These families are strained and maxed out, but there are not enough beds. Kids are entering the system in record numbers and there are not enough homes willing to open their doors for them.

One week in particular, a big Nation Wide March was about to commence, and we received a call from DCF Placement at 11pm. “Hi, yes, we have a 9 month old baby girl at the police station and we cannot find anyone to take her in. Would you be able to?.”  “Yes, of course,” I said. “Well, she is black,” said the women on the phone. “Bring her. Why would you even have to say that?” I asked. “Many people won’t take in a black child” she replied. Moments of silence engulfed the call as I processed the sickness of that statement. Later I found out this baby girl’s mother had also been in the foster care system. This mother was at one time an oppressed black child who had not been handed a fair chance at life, who grew up to be a black woman and was still facing that same oppression that she had been shown as a child. And now she is replicating it because, well, that is all she has known! So while these marches went on for Human Rights, there were (and still are) children all over, who are oppressed, whose parents were oppressed as children and are now having children themselves, and the cycle continues.  Yet very few of these marchers are taking in these children, or actively support the families that do. This oppression goes way beyond just race, however, I do feel like that example was a good real life illustration. Hash tagging and marching didn’t help this mama who lost her child to the system. And the marching wasn’t doing a thing for this beautiful baby girl who DCF was begging for someone to open their door for. This mom is now pregnant again with her 3rd child who will be entering the system just like her previous 2 children … just like she did as a child.

Of our 11 placements that we have fostered, 9 of them had parents who grew up in the foster care system. Each of these parents has multiple children who are now in the system. Can we take a step back and take in the gravity of that snowball cycle of oppression?

We have both sides of the aisle verbally advocating to fights against  Human Trafficking also, and rightfully so. There are black tie galas with champagne, and 5k races with matching shirts and medals, yet very few are passionately and actively supporting foster families. Even fewer are fostering. Studies show that 60%-80% of child sex trafficking victims recovered by the FBI are from foster care or group homes. “Victims are trained to call sex traffickers “daddies” and themselves “wifey” – a perverted reflection of the family unit that these children are seeking. These children long for a family…even if it means being subjected to extreme violence and abuse.” -case.org. Gaining awareness and helping sex trafficking victims is vital, but  instead of focusing on pulling them out of the river, we must focus on never letting them step foot in the river in the first place. Stable foster homes are one of the major antidotes for curing human trafficking.

Now that every side of the aisle and in between has been picked on, where does this leave us? Yes, people can still converse about being pro-life! Yes, marches and hashtags should still take place to bring awareness! But nothing will change if all we are is simply “aware.” If all of this stops at awareness, then all we did was just create noise. If we TOOK ACTION, just a fraction of the amount that we spoke about it, Facebook commented, and hash tagged our hearts out about, then a level of oppression could be lifted that has been hovering like a cloud and suffocating kids in the system for decades.

“They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.” – Radical, by David Platt.

Foster Care is Pro-Life.

Foster Care is Human Rights.

Can we do this together?

Not everyone is called to Foster, but many more should be fostering than currently are. Everyone should either be opening their doors to a child in foster care, or actively supporting a family who is. For practical steps see Dear Church; Be the Village ).

20 thoughts on “Dear Pro-Lifers and Human Rights Advocates: Meet Foster Care

  1. Autumn says:

    I appreciate you mentioning more ways believers can help care for orphans. I’ve always wanted to adopt and recently had my eyes opened to foster care. I talked to a friend who’s fostering a teen girl, and my husband and I signed up for an informational meeting to find out more about foster care. About a week or so before the meeting, I found out I was pregnant. We still went to the meeting, and they mentioned that we would have to wait until a year after a major event (such as giving birth) to be able to be considered for fostering or adoption. As a result, even taking the steps to get licensed would be pointless until that year after the major event. I still don’t fully know how to help, given I’ve been told that I can’t, and I only know the one woman who’s fostering an older girl and don’t feel there are many ways I could help since she’s older. I guess a good step for me in the interim would be making sure my thinking is right and trying to find more people that’s I can help. It’s unfortunate that I don’t feel I have many people to help since I only know the one woman who’s fostering. Thank you for writing on these topics so I can try to find other ways God may want me to help.

    • Katie says:

      First of all! Congratulations!!! So exciting. You are wise to pause your fostering path for a bit. Sending your friend a hot meal a couple times a month is huge. Also, you and your husband could consider doing respite while you are expecting. Perhaps taking in a child (baby or whatever age you feel comfortable with) for the weekend to give a foster family a break. In Florida we have a “normalcy” clause where the person offering relief doesn’t need to be licensed if this child is with you for less than 48 hours. In other states you may have to be background checked. Just another thought. Love your story and would love for you to keep me posted. We actually started our foster care classes when my youngest daughter was 2 months old 🙂

      • Autumn says:

        Thank you! Wow! Yeah I was hoping to be able to do something, but at the meeting I went to, they made it sound like I could not even go through the process of being licensed if pregnant or within the year of the “major event” so I was pretty much not allowed to start anything until my baby turns one in the state of North Carolina. I should follow up though on respite care. My friend also does this and I was interested in it as well. Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. Cindy says:

    Such a great read! We have fostered and done respite for over 90 children and adopted 7. This hits very close to home!

    • Katie says:

      Love it. Thank you for the note and thank you for doing what you are doing. My family is about to go into a season where we may not be able to foster for a season, but we will always respite! That is such a relief for those full time foster families! Respite is something so many folks overlook getting involved in.

  3. Zois says:

    Very interesting article……. Myquestiom is Why is it so hard to get a child that is in CPS or foster care? This is the part I do not understand. Why do they keep allowing children to be born to the ones that don’t want or can’t keep them. Shouldn’t these moms be fixed not to have anymore children?

    • Katie says:

      Hello! Love your questions. First, when you say, why is it so hard to get a child in foster care, can you elaborate? Do you mean why is there an extensive process to become a foster parent? Second, I would be lying if the second question didn’t hit my mind as well when I come across a parent who is pregnant and has 6 kids already in the system. I truly don’t even know the answer to that coming from an ethical place. All I can think is that the true root of the issue is that mother needs love and poured into. Something is off is pregnancies continue to happen and a dozen of the kids are continuing to pump into the system. I think the most immediate thing is that mother needs poured into and mentored and taught she is valuable. This is a ministry that has a big gap. Many times she was the child in the system and is replicating what she knows, or doesn’t know. It is sad and foster care is a ministry to so many parties. thank you so much for your note!

      • Lynn says:

        I had a really angry initial response to the word “fixed” which I’ve tamped down. But it echoes a sense of not treating the mother in this situation as human, even if you don’t mean it that way.

        A couple of points – Many states prohibit permanent sterilization before the age of 21.

        Many doctors will not perform permanent sterization.

        There is an alignment of people who identify as pro-life/opposing abortion and people who want to limit access to birthcontrol and information about birth control.L

  4. Sue says:

    ❤️….exactly, once the baby is saved/allowed to live….. We can’t forget about the mother or the child!!! Love this!

  5. Erin says:

    So much this yes!!! There seems to be a pervasive thought that to be a foster parent you must be a saint, or that you are unbreakable(the whole it would hurt to much to give a child back excuse).
    No we arent saints. We break like anybody else. Foster care is hard, messy, and yes its hurts like hell to hand a child you’ve cared for back to the person who allowed them to be hurt.
    But things I know for sure… I follow Jesus. The work he did was hard and messy and he died in one of the most painful ways possible all while following his Fathers commands.
    If God calls you to this work. He will provide. The strength to get through, the resting place when you are tired, he equips the called.
    The children and their parents needs us.

    • Katie says:

      Love it! Man am I no saint 🙂 So imperfect! Love your words. Much love from one imperfect girl worshiping a perfect Savior to another 🙂

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