Sunday, June 1, 2008

From Czech to Children

Since bringing our foster son Iggy, home from the hospital a short 5 months ago, a lot of people have asked us why we made the decision to be foster parents. Some enthusiastically and some with disdain (since "the system" has a bad rep which overflows to foster parents), but all curious nonetheless. Being a foster parent is not glamorous, is thankless and sometimes a painful thing to do. We have a bad reputation in the media, shell out more money then we earn as a "resource family" and have to show respect and restraint around biological parents whom on some days we would like to choke; all while raising someone else's children.

There are quite a few reasons we decided to do this, but the biggest one is simply, Malenovice. Two summers ago Mr. Clean and I went on a missions trip to a small town in eastern Czech Republic with some other members of our church family. I absolutely fell in love with the country, the food, the people; all of it. Grant it, I could have lived without the band of gypsies at the train station in Prague eyeing our luggage (I am not making this up!) , but everything else was fantastic. Even with all the hard work that we did.

While I could live in a foreign country easily, Mr. Clean loves to visit, but is not the kind who would want to stay. While in Czech we were with people we trusted, an American missionary from our church and her Czech husband who spoke English better than some of us and we were "taken care of" with someone to translate for us and guide us. Even when we were roaming the streets of Prague and Krakow, Poland without our wonderful friends, we had enough knowledge and the luxury of being in two metropolises that catered to westerners with signs and menus in English and plenty of English speaking Czech and Polish people. We were fine short term.

The love of serving the Czech people brought us to a realization. This was great, but this trip was two weeks out of 52 in a calendar year. And since Mr. Clean is not likely to be getting a work visa anytime soon to permanently move across "The Pond", we needed to find a way to serve the people of our own country. The Lord was really working on us in this area.

The idea of being a foster parent had been in my brain since I was a child. My father was a product of the foster care system in the DC 'burbs and I believe is a better man because of it. Had it not been for the many years he was in "the system" with his foster parents, I imagine his life would have turned out quite differently and he would not be the amazing and upstanding man he is today. I love my grandparents deeply, but they were not equipped to deal with the 9 children they had.

Mr. Clean however was of a different mindset and had no interest in being a foster parent, but loves being a parent. After our Czech trip however, he started to change his stripes. I can only give credit to the Lord as I simply prayed that he would warm to the idea. He called me one day and said simply, "look into it". I called Children and Youth that very day.

We believe strongly that being foster parents is a way we can serve the Lord while serving His children. I have no clue whatsoever how many children will pass through our doors, how long they will stay nor if any of them will be ours forever as we would like. We only know that this is where we were led after many months (years) of praying about the right way to serve the Kingdom. Whatever impact we have on them, I know the Lord will use for His glory.

And that, in a nutshell, is why we foster children.

1 comment:

Jamie said...

Thanks for sharing that Angel. And thanks opening your home to children who need a safe and loving family. I think it is amazing.