Our foster care licensing worker came over last week. In the course of our discussion, she told me about two little boys that were just taken from their home by Child Protective Services. It was the worst case of abuse that she had ever seen. The boys (ages 9 and 7) were black and blue with cuts all over their bodies and they were tied to a tree outside of their home by some irrigation tubing for days before a neighbor called CPS.
A few weeks ago they were at home with their families. Now, because of what their families have done and/or neglected to do, now they are…homeless…motherless…fatherless. And maybe, hopeless. They are practically orphans. Kids whose parents are alive, but aren’t present. Aren’t there to bandage their knee when they fall down, read them a story or tuck them in at night. Orphans. American orphans.
Somehow I wanted to escape the reality that this happened 15 miles from my nice, safe, comfortable home. I was horrified. I didn’t sleep that night.
Yet we learn that most people believe that children are in foster care because of their own behavior. In a recent survey of public opinion, 45% of those surveyed believed children were in foster care because of juvenile delinquency when the reality is that these kids have been abused, neglected or abandoned. (by Kelly Rosati with Focus on the Family)
In Arizona as of March 31, 2012, there were 12,435 children who were placed in out-of-home care due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. That’s a staggering number that seems to be steadily increasing.
Last week someone said “why are you working so hard? We’re not saved by works.” I don’t care to admit how deeply that wounded.
Of course I know that. It’s clear in the Scriptures that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. But Mark 8:35 teaches “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.”
Isn’t the point that we want to give our lives away? Is that what it means to be centered on Christ, the God who so loved, that He gave?
Because only a life contemplating the love of Christ becomes a life acting the love of Christ. And love always moves. Loving first and foremost Christ. And loving others.
Who are you loving today?
written by Denise Steidinger, Forgotten Advocate for The Forgotten Initiative (orginally posted on The Forgotten Initiative blog)
Rodney & Denise have 3 daughters and after attending the Focus on the Family “Wait No More Conference” their eyes were opened to the great needs in the foster care community. They are so thankful to be a part of the TFI family – to share these needs with the body of Christ and to play a role in making a difference for this community.