Foster Care | The Forgotten Initiative
By: The Martin Family
The Martin Family has been personally involved with foster care for the past 4 years, and they also help serve other families going through the foster care program.
Statistics concerning foster care can be overwhelming, and often create what many would call “paralysis by analysis.” You’ve had this feeling before: you become so overwhelmed by everything that must be done that you do nothing.
I'll be honest and tell you that numbers don't move me. It's just not how my brain works. I hear all of the numbers, and think 'What could I ever do that would make a difference? Surely, there is nothing I can do that would even make a dent.' However, one Sunday morning, about 4 years ago, this changed for me. I heard a young mother (who is now a dear friend) speak at our church about being a foster parent. Madison had two small children at the time, and she spoke about the struggles of caring for her family and caring for children from hard places and circumstances. This moved away from just the numbers, talking about actual children…in her home! With her children! My mind was spinning with images flashing through my mind. I could picture Madison tucking child after child after child into bed at night. I could picture her driving to multiple appointments, all while wondering what she would feed everyone for dinner, or if she would even have time to run to the grocery store. I pictured her caring for someone else’s children, and then I pictured myself doing the same. I felt the hand of God squeeze my heart until it almost burst. This was the moment that I knew God was asking me to step into this world called foster care. I would love to tell you that this was also the exact moment that I decided to obey. Spoiler alert: it was not. I knew the Lord was calling my family into this ministry of foster care, but I was terrified. I had no clue what foster care would look like in our day to day real life, or how we would do it. So, I threw myself into serving other foster parents. I did whatever I could to support the few foster parents that I knew. In getting to know them, their families, and the children in foster care in their home, my heart only grew towards this calling.
God was drawing me closer and closer. Every Sunday was another thump in the forehead, as if He was reminding me that I could not run away from Him. I often read from The Message translation of the Bible, and I love how it puts Proverbs 24:11-12, "Rescue the perishing; don't hesitate to step in and help. If you say, 'Hey, that's none of my business,' will that get you off the hook? Someone is watching you closely, you know- someone not impressed with weak excuses..." So, terrified as we were, my husband, Blake, and I pursued becoming licensed foster parents. Our hearts were now broken, our eyes open, and we were ready for God to use us as He saw fit. We knew we would open our home to children in foster care, but we still had a strong desire to serve and support foster families and social workers. Blake began researching foster care advocacy, and we were led to the ministry, that we now volunteer with, called The Forgotten Initiative. This ministry’s vision and focus was exactly what our hearts were longing for. At The Forgotten Initiative, we want people everywhere supporting the foster care community and experiencing Jesus together! We want to help believers support the foster care community through awareness, encouragement, and advocacy. Everyone can truly support this community. But action only comes after awareness. We want to help the body of Christ see through the eyes of the agency worker, foster parent, vulnerable adult, and child. When you learn their stories and the many challenges they face, you can make your next step.
Over these past four years, I have learned that supporting foster care looks like so many different things. Of course, welcoming children into your home is the first and most obvious thing that we think of. But it is not the only need! For various reasons, everyone is not able to foster and that is okay. So, what do you do if you are not in a position to become a foster parent, but you have a heart for this calling? The answer is so simple. You wrap yourself around the ones who ARE fostering. The families who are in the thick of navigating their way through the foster care system as advocates for children who need them. Or you pour love and support onto social workers who have a thankless and exhausting job. Maybe you organize a play date and your small group babysits for a few foster families, so that the parents can have one whole conversation and maybe a nap! So many people are putting themselves into a battle, and they need an army of believers who can march right alongside them.
I have heard this story from Exodus in several messages, concerning foster care. It always has made such an impact on me. When Moses sent Joshua to fight the Amalekites, Moses stood on top of a hill. He held the staff of God in his hands, and when his arms were raised, the Israelites were winning, but when he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. Exodus 17:12 tells us, "But Moses' hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun." There is not one single person dancing gracefully through foster care. We are all stumbling along, praying for God to cover us with His grace where we fail. Foster parents cannot walk this journey alone. Social workers cannot do this alone. Birth parents cannot do this alone. Children should never feel alone. They all grow weary. They need rest. When we come alongside them...some on one side and some on another...when everyone is doing their part as the body of Christ, we can not only care for children, care for their foster parents and other adults in their lives, but we can experience Jesus together and continue to make His name more famous. That is truly our mission, to support the foster care community and experience Jesus together.
What does that next step look like for you?
Subscribe for blog updates
Stay connected with 3Circle's mission updates!