I recently heard Andy Stanley speak at a ministry conference I attended. He asked a question that spoke very deeply to me as a parent.
Is there anything that brings you more joy than watching your kids love one another?
For me, the answer is a resounding no. Especially after watching my boys accept and love their new foster siblings.
Joe and I first began talking to the boys about becoming a foster family in February of last year. We explained how some children need a family to love them and take care of them. We talked about how they might stay with us for a little while or a long time. We talked about sharing, taking turns, and setting a good example.
At the time it was just talk and I worried how they would respond when the time came to put it into action. There were so many variables that we had (and still have) no control over. Were we going to end up scarring them for life?
As we prayed and prepared to become a foster family, the Lord gave us a specific verse to focus on during that season.
Now may the God of peace—who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen. – Hebrews 13:20-21
Now that we are four months into our time as a family of 6, the truth in this verse is so clearly evident. God has equipped us with everything we need to be the family these children so desperately need. I don’t mean to imply that this has been easy or that the children never fuss, argue, or aggravate the snot out of each other. Believe me, they do. Regardless, whenever we have a chance to talk with the boys about how they’re feeling, they always respond in a positive way towards their foster sister and brother. They express how much they want them to stay a part of our family forever.
Raising someone else’s children is changing mine and it is without a doubt changing them for the better. It is teaching them how to invest in something bigger. My children are learning to love like Jesus–with compassion and without prejudice. It is the greatest lesson I could ever teach them.