When I received the call from Carla the DHS case worker, I knew the conversation would likely change our lives forever. One of her charges, a seven-year-old, needed a foster home right away. Would we take her?
Fostering with love
Jerry and I prayed about it and accepted. As Carla described the little girl, I tried to stay focused on each point she listed about the curly-haired blonde, though my nesting instincts fought to take over my thoughts.
We’d supported dark-haired orphans around the world for years, so it hadn’t occurred to me that our first foster placement would be otherwise.
What activated my heart, however, was her story. Separated from the family she held dear, adrift from everything she knew, I felt compassion for her. And yes, before we even met her I knew we would welcome her into our nicely ordered routine with all her problems and joys – and love her as our own.
Who is my neighbor? We get to choose
Jesus taught that we should care for others with the same compassion we want for ourselves. However, I hadn’t seen until recently that, according to the scriptures, I have a choice about who I treat as my neighbor—just like I had a choice about becoming this child’s foster mom.
In the story Jesus told of the Good Samaritan, two different people saw a man who’d been beaten and robbed but avoided him, passing by on the opposite side of the road. The third guy, a Samaritan, chose to go toward the man in need, instead of turning away.
“But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds… Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise” (Luke 10:33-37 ESV).
Love has been the rule for a long time
“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:33-34 ESV).
We retired from fostering after 10 years, though the little blonde girl came back to our home briefly as a teen. She’s on her own now, and still feels like a part of the family.
We won’t ever retire from choosing to love.
by Kathy Sheldon Davis