August 24, 2012

As we look back on the past eighteen years we remember so many faces, so many smiles, so many cries—all from the faces and feelings of children we did not know. Why? How? What happened? These are the questions that foster parents like us ask!

It seems so hard for those of us who have raised families of our own to comprehend what issues lead people with young children to lives of neglect, hurt, sorrow, and an unending lack of love. How can God’s young ones be left alone without care? How can a mother, after giving birth to a beautiful baby, not find enough time in her life to give it the unending love that he/she deserves?

Family stories with sad endings are all together plentiful. In our small Midwestern county, there is a lack of foster parents—which means there are more cases of abuse and neglect than there are families to care for them. A one-year-old left in a car alone, a one-year-old with a broken bone in an odd place, a set of two boys whose mom and dad can’t get along and who won’t put enough food in front of their children for fear there won’t be enough money for alcohol or nicotine, or even worse, meth, or other hard drugs. How can we break that cycle?

John 14:18-19 says, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.” Isn’t that but a promise and encouragement from God to those of us that give of our time to help these needy ones? With the help of our families—and our church families—God is telling us to share of our time with those who are desperate and alone.

How? The answer lies with love as well as time. Our family had the God-given will and financial stability to have mom stay home with the kids and be able to care for them  without the need of two incomes. When a family needed a place for a set of twin girls, we were overjoyed to give them the love they needed while mom and dad were away. Hours turned into days and days into weeks. Along with education professionals, we worked with the girls’ mom and dad on parenting skills, homemaking, and on budgeting—all in hope that this couple could make it work. Eighteen years later, we still have contact with those twin girls. Even with a rougher upbringing than they deserved, they are making it! They sense what family is and its great value.

Love. Family. That is what Karen and I hope to give to every child who enters our home. Some come as babies, some as preschoolers, and some as preteens. They have all been shown love by both us and our five children. (In fact, our fifth child was a surprise to us. We had fostered him for so long that all our children agreed that we could not let him go. We gave him our last name and he is now an integral part of our family! What would life be without him? Empty!)

There are so many youngsters in need of support, care, time, and love. While not always easy, foster parenting is a wonderful way to share your time and natural parenting abilities with those who need it the most! Can you spare some days, weeks, or months from your life to help those children in need? Are these children tugging at your heart? Find out more. God has plenty of promises that your love will be returned, not only today, but in eternity!

(Rick and Karen Fey raised four biological children and now enjoy their fifth adopted son, Israel, and nine grandchildren—besides the joys of foster care children.)