What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post is by Lexi
As a foster parent, the number one excuse people give me for why they could never be a foster parent is “I could never let the children go.” This reasoning has always struck me a bit funny, because it implies that with biological or adoptive children you don’t have to let go. Sure, foster care is a bit more abrupt, a bit shorter, but from the moment you invite any child into your home, you are moving closer and closer to the day when you will let them go. All children will one day grow up begin lives of their own. At least you hope they will. It is the nature of parenting to love and let go.

Foster care is an opportunity to meet children during the worst season of their lives. Something tragic has happened to them. For a foster child to end up placed with a stranger means not only has something tragic happened, but they don’t have a responsible adult in their lives capable of caring for them. They are alone. As a foster parent I get to be a part of the rebuilding of families, the rebuilding of children’s hearts. I can show them a marriage of mutual respect and love. I can show them a household where no one ever yells, or hits, or name calls, or hurts, or deprives. I can show them the love of Jesus Christ. I get this amazing opportunity to invest in a young heart…and then I let them go. I don’t let them go to the state, or to their parents…I let them go to God.

As a mother I trust that God is more invested than I am in our foster children. That he cares deeply about them, and is actively involved in turning their tragedies into something beautiful and meaningful. I believe their suffering isn’t worthless…and more than that…neither is mine.

It hurts to love and let go, to trust God with the things most precious to me. I want to cling to them, protect them from this world. Keep them from experiencing more hurt. When we became foster parents we accepted the reality of what we would be doing; helping kids for a short period of time and then letting them go (in many cases to the same situation they left). Our work is not worthless, these kids deserve our small investment.

If you are considering foster care I pray you won’t let your fear of hurt keep you from children who are actually hurting. There are 500,000 kids in foster care who need a safe place to sleep tonight. They need people who invest, they need love, they need Jesus. It hurts to love and let go, but it also blesses. God heals the wounds letting go inflicts, and his grace is more than sufficient. 

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