Foster Care Journey
By: Yuriy and Madison Perekotiy
Our foster care journey began in 2011, shortly after our wedding. Our pastor shared a conversation he had with the local director at DHR. There were hundreds of children in foster care and nowhere near enough families to care for them. The words of Deuteronomy 10:18 rang in my heart as an exposing question- "He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing." Am I advocating for justice or loving the widow and fatherless?
We knew God was calling us to open our home. We had no idea how hard, beautiful, and full of Jesus that road would be.
A few years later, after we met the requirements, we accepted our first placement of children in foster care. Chambers (our first biological child) was 18 months old, I was about 15 weeks pregnant with Lev, and a group of three siblings moved in right before school started.
The Lord provided for us abundantly that first night. So much laughter and pitter patter of little feet. One scraped toe and two cups of milk on the floor. Lots of singing and bedtime stories. Our sweet, 85-year-old neighbor came out to water her garden and instead watered their feet, exclaiming, "I guess I'm helping them grow!” That was our prayer. That they would grow in God’s ways and come to love His statutes. That they would learn of ultimate forgiveness and His Secret Rescue Plan.
The rest of the week was extremely tough. Our hearts were broken for their broken hearts. Our bodies were tired of the picking up and holding and keeping up with it all. Our minds were exhausted from anticipating need after need after need.
Our friend who worked with children in care told us that the more time they could spend swinging, the better, because it mimics the rocking of a mother or father that they missed in those early years, and their brains needed that motion. Thanks to neighbors who gave us a hand-me-down swing set, that need was met. Our hands would never be sufficient, but we were grateful for the Father's Hands, holding and sustaining ALL of us.
Those three beautiful kiddos were adopted into a forever family who also love and follow Jesus (and we are able to see them regularly)! About a dozen other children came through our doors during our fostering journey, and we know very little about their story. All we know is that Jesus cares more about them than we ever could.
Foster care is meant to first reunite children with their families if possible, and secondarily place children in adoptive homes. There is so much need for families willing to open their doors not only to children in care, but also the biological families who are in need of compassion and grace.
Not everyone is assigned to foster care. But we are all commanded as believers to care for the vulnerable. How can we serve if we are not fostering? Grab an extra pack of diapers while you're at the store. Cook a double batch of dinner. Drop off a latte to that new foster mama. Bring breakfast to your local DHR, because social workers are in the trenches daily.
Maybe you could faithfully bring a meal to a foster family every week, or babysit the kids for a parents’ night out. You could start a ministry in your church to serve the foster care community. Could you cut grass and do home repairs for a foster family? Or partner with a biological family to mentor them through their journey?
You can pray. You can speak for the rights of these children and their birth families until there are more than enough foster and adoptive families. Let's rise up, Church, and take on this massive opportunity to spread the Gospel right around us!
If you are praying about how to step into the world of foster care, I highly recommend reading The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis and checking out Jason Johnson’s blog.
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