Fostering: A Bigger Picture

David Platt, author of this amazing book, which I blogged about here, is the pastor of a church in Alabama. I listen to his sermons online whenever I get the chance, and am always challenged and inspired by his faithful presentation of the Gospel.

In a sermon I listened to last year, I heard him tell a story that I have not forgotten (and I am so sorry, but I cannot, for the life of me, remember the name of the sermon or otherwise I'd direct you right to it, but I believe he mentioned this particular story in the book, too. And I'll keep looking for the sermon itself and update if I track it down!) I'm going to retell it, here, to the best of my memory.

* * *

David Platt, in preparation for a sermon on orphan care, (from James 1:27) got in touch with the social services office in his area to ask about the needs in their own community for foster parents. The woman he spoke with said their need was great; it always is. There are always more children than the places available for them. Platt asked, off the cuff- exactly how many foster parents would they need to take care of every child in their community? She laughed. He asked again. She said, "All of them?" He said, "Yes. All of them." She did some quick figuring and said that in order to have places for every child in their community, they would need 150 foster parents. As he stood before his congregation the following Sunday, he challenged them to consider what that might mean for them, as a church, to step up and fill that need in their own community.

He arranged for the foster parent training to be held (at their church, I think), and guess how many families showed up for the training, willing to become foster parents?



(Doesn't that just make you want to jump up and down at how great God is?!?!)

As these members began to serve as foster care families, Platt met again with local officials. One of the women pulled him aside and asked him what he had told these people that had made them come and do this. Platt told her that they came because the God who loves children told them to come and reflect His love to the children around them.

* * *

I love this story so much I think I've told it to everyone I know.... twice. :) This is just amazing on so many levels.

As a foster parent, each week I get an email asking for homes for children in our own community. Just last week the email asked for care for the following children:
  • Boy- 2 1/2 years old (placed in Protective Custody the previous night)
  • Boy- 20 months old (needs placement for 3-6 months)
  • Girl- 15 years old
  • Boy- 5 1/2 years old (placement needed for 3 months or longer)
The email also requested respite care (a break for the foster parents) for a sibling group for just a few days, and care for a 12-year old girl for 20 days. The week before this there was a different list of children. The week following this there was a new list. More children- displaced, either temporarily or permanently- and in need.

I would just love it so much if the state could come to count on the CHURCH~ people who love Jesus!~ to be the ones caring for these children! Can you imagine the testimony that would be to the social workers and placement coordinators? That the foster parents who were consistently available and willing were always the Christians? That there was no shortage of help from the Christian community? That they were wonderful to work with; and the kids found love and security with these families, and sometimes-- permanent homes? There is NO WAY that would not have a HUGE impact on everyone involved.

It's why Mark and I are renewing our foster care license, why we're updating our paperwork and logging away hours of training and choosing again to open our hearts and lives to what God may have for us~ and to be a part of the larger community of social services- the social workers and the staff at our own local office- and be a blessing to them throughout the process.

I have a few more posts scheduled for this month, but we're winding down, here... and I want you to know, again- that I am praying for each one of you, by name. If you've commented, your name is written in my journal- several times... and my prayers for you follow your name. I am praying that God would move in *your* heart (yes, you!) to rise above the fears and all the what-ifs and to step out in faith and move towards fostering or adoption.


  1. We'll be praying for you and Mark as well, that your classes are not a burden and that your paperwork is processed quickly. We'll keep your family in prayer as well as we know first hand how foster care can make things rather exciting, more so than you want at times! I think it is so interesting that God has put foster care and adoption on the hearts of so many of us from CCF. You, your sister, Sherri, myself, and who knows how many more. Thanks for these posts. They have given us a refreshed perspective on what God is asking us to do and this week with our 5 year old foster child has been one of the best ever and he's been with us for almost a year. Thank you!

  2. oh and Dan, Mark, and Matt too, can't forget them! We couldn't do it without great husbands who share God's vision.

  3. Thank you for sharing the story of this pastor. It brought tears in my eyes. I have always, since I was a teenager, had a soft spot in my heart for children. As I am writing this, there is about 6 neighborhood kids playing in our yard (and my own kids are not even here). We want our home to be a safe place for children. At the moment we are not fostering, but keep on praying for us. I am so thankful for every prayer!

  4. Oh I love this story (I'd love to hear it a zillion times!!)

    Please pray for my family. Our homestudy is is just about ready again...we think God is sending us into our state. However, we've been pre-told that we have too many kids for this state agency (6 is their magic number...we now have 8). Once we get the homestudy in hand, we will set up a meeting with this agency (called Cara). Please pray for favor for us. We are told by them that they are DESPERATE for adoptive families for African American babies.

    Thanks for sharing. Oh, how I wish this would happen with my Pastors and my church body of Believers!!

    mama to 8
    one homemade and 7 adopted

  5. I just finished the book, and I loved it. I'll have to check out his sermons. Thanks!

    I have loved following your posts this month. My mom grew up in foster homes. Being a foster parent has always been something I've wanted to do. I'll keep praying about it.

  6. You are doing such a good work here, Stacy.

    As the daughter of foster parents, sister to foster kids, former foster (now adoptive) parent, I just want to say this one thing:

    If we were each willing to do a small part, the burden would not be too great. Though my parents fostered nearly 150 kids, we have personally only fostered a few and ultimately, we adopted only one. So often, I think people are frightened off by the idea that the call to care for the orphan means they will have to take in huge numbers of children or have an extremely large family. But the reality is that if each of us did something, the load would be lightened and the burden would not be too great for any of us to bear. (I hope you hear what I'm saying, not that large families are a burden or something, just trying to speak to people like ME, who know they cannot handle multiple foster and adoptions.)

    Also, if you don't feel that you can commit to fostering or adopting, there is a massive need for qualified, willing, respite care providers. This would be a huge ministry in itself, providing care and rest for the ones who are doing the hard work on the front lines. You can't imagine what a blessing a weekend away is for someone who is working full time with a high-needs child.

    Bless you, Stacy! Praying for you this morning.

  7. Krista~
    Thank you! I've been praying for you guys, too, and for your foster son. (And yes, it is so neat to see that so many of our college friends are involved in this! LOVE it! :))

    And- AMEN to that about our husbands! I am so thankful for Mark!

    I prayed for you just this morning! I loved hearing about your neighborhood children~ what a ministry you *already* have in pouring out your life to them! Blessings to you and yours, and I will continue to pray!

    I prayed for you this morning, Kimmie... that God would pour favor upon your names and reputation within the system. We are nearing that mark of "6", too.. but I do know of those within our area they've made exceptions for. God knows. (As for the story, and your heart-- I *so* wish this type of thing would happen in our own church family, too!!!)

    Glad you liked the book, Wendy! I'll pray along with you that God would continue to stir up your heart if this is something He has for you and your family. (((Hugs)))

    I'm so glad you made that point, Tonia-- that if we were each willing to do a small part, the burden would not be too great. Yes.

    Thank you. You are absolutely right, and I hear your heart well, sweet friend. :) (Praying for you, too!)


  8. Thank you, thank you for this service you are doing! It has been so encouraging for me. I really have a heart for adoption and feel ready to take the plunge. I have 2 bio. children, the youngest being almost 2yo. I feel ready for another. The problem is, my husband is so burdened by fears (being able to provide financially as well as with time, energy, etc.) that he just wants to stop at 2 kids. He says maybe we can foster when they are older. I believe God will provide and make a way. We have plenty of love to share with another child! It makes me so sad that we do not have unity on this important issue. Please pray for us that God will bring our hearts together in His purpose. Maybe I need to change my heart, maybe my husband does, I don't know. Please pray for us.

  9. You know my heart, sister. May God open the doors.

  10. I just wanted to very quickly respond to Adrianna, who commented here. I will be praying for you and your husband. Your situation saddens me and stirs up many thoughts. (wish I could have lunch with your husband to talk to him about this.) Specifically, I will pray that he will no be "burdened with fears," as you put it. I'll be praying.

    - Mark (Stacy's husband)

  11. Adrianna,
    I love it that my husband posted a comment to you... but I wanted to, also!
    Thank you so much for commenting, and I will pray for you and your husband!

    Yep. PRAYING!

  12. I'm a single woman in my 40s. I've never particularly felt that I was called to be married or to have children, but lately I've been wondering about fostering. There's a lot of need out there, but I don't know that I have enough to give (and I'm not sure whether my state allows single people to foster anyway). I wonder what you think about the idea of a single woman fostering a child?


  13. Dear Sarah,
    Thank you for commenting, and for your honest question.
    I think it is a question that requires fervent prayer. One of my concerns would be support for *you*. When I think of my own challenges in this venture of fostering, it is hard to do so without then recognizing what a gift I've had in the strong partnership of my husband: walking with me through every step; praying, listening, letting me cry, offering input. That kind of relationship is invaluable, and I'll admit that my first thought is, "I cannot imagine doing this without a husband."
    To be honest, I haven't examined Scripture at all on this. The only verse off the top of my head that might weigh in on the matter is the verse from Psalms that says "God sets the lonely in families." (Does a home with a single parent constitute a family? Where does the Bible define what a family is? I'd want to do some more seeking to find out!)
    That said, I do know a few single women who have felt called by God (to adopt; I don't know any who are fostering), and they have my great respect.
    It's why I prefaced my response by saying that I think prayer is *key*. I absolutely trust that God will reveal His desire as you seek Him on the matter. He will lead you forward or "shut doors" if this is not His desire for you.
    You said, "I don't know that I have enough to give.", and I think that's a sincere, honest statement. Only God knows that, and He will lead you.
    Another thought I had as I thought about this is that maybe you could provide respite (breaks) for those in your church community that *are* fostering. That way you wouldn't be shouldering the responsibility alone for that child, but coming alongside of someone and lending your support (which is also a *huge* need for foster parents!) Just a thought. That might be a good foray into the world of fostering, anyway.
    Oh, Sarah... I will pray for you that God gives you great clarity and wisdom on the matter.
    Blessings to you,


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