The caseworker, working after-hours, sat at a large corner desk while a small boy played at her feet. The drive to Corvallis had taken me longer than expected, and when she introduced me to our new foster child, he looked at me with quiet, sad eyes.
What had he seen unfold before him today, bringing him to this difficult place away from his mother who doted on him and family who was always nearby? I may never know, but we took him home and loved him as best we knew how.
Juan Marcos* stayed with us only a week, but before he left I’d met his mother, aunt, and grandmother, all who expressed gratitude to me for caring for their precious boy. For them, I was a lifesaver.
What does love cost?
It wasn’t a great sacrifice to have Juan in our home. He was easy to look after, and a delightful playmate for the other children. Keeping him was a joyful work, a mirror of God’s work.
“Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land” (Psalm 68:5-6 ESV).
It was a privilege to have him in our family, and I hope, like I do for everyone in my path, to see him in God’s kingdom one day.
A couple weeks ago Jerry and I camped at Waldo Lake with our son and his family which currently includes two foster children. Liam* likes calling me grandma, just like my grandsons. Right now, I’m the only grandma he has. He is 4 years old, and he wasn’t thinking much about the family he loves but doesn’t have nearby. For this time we are his other family, and we’re camping.
My husband gently instructed Liam in how to aim his arrow safely. Liam scrunched up his face and let the arrow fly, hitting his target dead on. He immediately turned my direction to flash a proud grin.
In my years as foster mom I’ve learned I can’t expect to understand everything a displaced child goes through. I don’t know all they suffer, and I can’t always help. Maybe Liam doesn’t need me to fix anything, anyway. He just wants to know a grandma saw him hit his target and thinks he’s pretty special.
There’s a young man I care about who’s experiencing a lot of trouble. He called me from jail, and I gave him all the time and support I could. He doesn’t need me to fix anything. I couldn’t anyway, but you can bet I was in court to show him there’s an older lady who thinks he’s awfully special.
Sometimes it seems our problems will never be resolved, like it does to a child languishing in foster care. That’s when we need to borrow a parent, a family, or maybe a grandma or friend, for loving support while God leads us to better days.
And sometimes, loving each other is all the answer we need for now.
by Kathy Sheldon Davis
*names have been changed to protect children’s privacy