By Wallace H. Little
In our decades-long fight over the institutional issues, it is interesting to note that little has been said about foster care. I believe it is worth mentioning. We have stressed that all existing orphans in the United States could easily be taken care of, and very adequately so, if Christians would just open their hearts and homes and adopt them. In many instances, this is actually what has happened, demonstrating the poverty and hollowness of the liberals’ claim that if the various orphans’ homes among us are not supported by churches of Christ, the children will starve, or “The Catholics will get them.”
But there is a group of children who for various reasons are not adoptable. These remain in institutions until a family will accept them for foster care. I have no idea how many are involved, but believe that it is not just a few, judging from appeals heard on the radio from time to time, seeking foster parents.
Being a foster parent often calls for greater sacrifice and devotion to the Lord, as well as to the children, than is demanded of adoptive parents. First and foremost, there is the sure knowledge that sometime, the state will come back and remove the child. This means foster parents will experience a heart-wrenching agony, because it takes little for most of these children to endear themselves to the foster parents caring for them. Foster parents have accounted for all but one black child being taken care of by white Christians that I know of. Also, I know one family that has had more than thirty (yes, that’s 30) foster children over the years. Each, in its turn, was removed, and the emotional ties built up were torn apart.
While recognizing there are great rewards from God for those who become foster parents, the heart-aches are also great. In my mind, these “parents” are the real heros of the orphan situation, and worthy of our highest commendation for their unselfish devotion to the care of needy children, in accordance with God’s instructions to “visit” them (see Jas 1:27).
Truth Magazine XXIV: 9, p. 146
February 28, 1980