interview on the radio last week with foster carers, followed by an article in Saturday's paper on fostering. It's kind of got me thinking a bit more about all of this (the article in the paper had aspects that were quite distressing from my position as a parent - hard to not feel that there must be something I can do to help).
Earlier this year I was chatting to a friend who asked me "Should we all be adopting or fostering? What do you think about all this? I think there's a blog post in this topic Jenny!" So here I am - prompted by these two coincidences. We also have good friends who in the last stages of an overseas adoption (which is very exciting to share with them).
Personally I think fostering is something we should all at least stop and consider. Especially if we're in a stable relationship, functional family, educated, financially secure. I'm not saying that means we will all end up doing it - just considering it properly.
The Bible does have some pretty blunt verses about how we need to care for orphans. And while children who are fostered are not orphans, they wouldn't have any responsible parent-type figure in their lives if they aren't cared for by someone other than their birth family.
James 1:27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.
Proverbs 31:8-9 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.
I have often wondered if fostering became a norm in our church communities - so that Sunday School could cope with some extra kids on weekend respite, so that I had friends who I could share the experience with (much the same way that having other mums with small kids around is invaluable when you're a first-time mum) - then maybe it wouldn't feel so daunting. If a significant number of people in each church across Australia committed themselves to fostering, we could make a massive social impact.
I'm not saying this is for everyone (please, please don't get the guilts) - I'm not even sure it's for us. We have a lot of children and a small house. Being honest - the unknown is scary (especially when it comes to your own household). But maybe it's something for the future. When some of our older kids move out.
I'd love to hear other's thinking on this. I'm very much a beginner in my thoughts on this topic.
Btw - if you're interested in investigating fostering further, here's a link to a brochure produced by Anglicare, just giving an overview of the process and answers to some FAQs.