245 and 580….just numbers. No, these two numbers represent the people with whom I had the privilege of spending time today.
I was conducting a foster parent training in Butler County, Ohio today…nearly 50 foster and adoptive parents attended this all day event. As I met them and listened to their stories, I realized the beautiful treasure sitting in front of me. It was a treasure of loving, sacrificial people who have given their time, talents and resources to meet the needs of abused and neglected children. I felt humbled in their presence.
IN THE ROOM TODAY – THERE WAS 245 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE OF FOSTERING AND ADOPTING. THINK OF WHAT THAT MEANS!
What does the 580 represent? I bet you can guess.
THIS IS THE NUMBER OF CHILDREN WHOSE LIVES HAVE BEEN TOUCHED BY THESE PARENTS.
Most of our blogging has been about the needs overseas because a lot of our focus is there. But today, I was reminded once again, that in this country, in this state, right next door, so to speak, are thousands of people who are making life changing commitments to children right here. They live by a higher principle of life. Let me share a story.
KEVIN AND CINDY
Sixteen years ago, Kevin and Cindy felt called to become foster parents. Shortly after going through the licensing process, they received a phone call from the agency, asking if they would take three-month-old Katie. Katie, theagency told them, was a medically fragile baby, born prematurely to parents who could not care for her. They responded immediately — yes!
Delicate and petite Katie was placed into their home the next day, right from the hospital. That first evening, had Kevin not known infant CPR, Katie would have died in his arms.
The weeks turned into months, the months into years, as they continued to care for this extremely ill child. Trips to the hospital were part of their weekly routine, not to mention doctors’ visits and hours of in-home care. Finally, the agency decided to move forward and seek permanent custody, thus opening the door for Katie’s adoption.
As an adoption worker, I was required at that permanency hearing to testify as to Katie’s “adoptability.” The attorney for the biological family got down in my face, nearly yelling, asking me, “Who would adopt a child like this? What’s wrong with these people? Why do they want to do it?” I simply responded to him by explaining that Kevin and Cindy love her deeply. After the hearing, I went back to my office. A message my pastor and husband,David, shared recently in our church, came to mind. I sat down and wrote that attorney a respectful letter. Here is what it said:
I didn’t reply adequately in court to you today as to why Kevin and Cindy are choosing to make Katie a permanent part of their family. Let me tell you why. Kevin and Cindy live by a
higher principle in life. It is called VRS.
V stands for Voluntary. No one is forcing them to make this lifelong commitment to Katie. They are doing it out of supreme love for her.
R stands for Redemptive. Redemption means to restore dignity to a person whose life situations are difficult, painful and heartbreaking. Such were Katie’s.
S stands for Suffering. Suffering means the loss of something for the sake of another. Kevin and Cindy have paid a high cost. Emotionally, physically, financially — in every way they have
suffered. They would not call it that, but that is exactly what it is.
This is why Kevin and Cindy are adopting Katie. This is their life principle — Voluntary Redemptive Suffering.
We recently joined the family to celebrate Katie’s sixteenth birthday. What a glorious day it was as we reflected on the incalculable ways God had provided for this precious child and encouraged the family in uncertain times.
Those parents today, just like Kevin and Cindy represent the thousands of people coming forward to foster and adopt. They are among those who live by a higher principle of life — VRS — the law of Christ. Again, I was humbled in their presence.
Live creatively, friends. . . . Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. (Galatians 6:1-2, MSG)
Please visit our team’s blog: http://www.lambinternational.blogspot.com/
Also, please visit our new adoption blog: www.jayneschooler.blogspot.com