Every single time court is held for our foster son's case, it is a big deal. Everything is moving so quickly and every single scheduled court date dramatically changes our family dynamic (changes in attitudes, our visitation schedule, etc).
And tomorrow is another one of those days. So would you consider praying for us?
We've shared our foster care journey with a few close friends and one of the more frequent questions is "How can we pray?" It's not as simple as "pray that the baby gets to stay with us" because we are in it to help a broken family find healing. We are not in foster care as a means to cheap adoption, but to play a role in the reconciliation of a child to their biological parents.
So here are a few ways you can pray for us (and for foster families in general, I think).
1) Pray for the children.
This might seem obvious. These children did not choose to be taken from their parents. They still love their families, despite what has happened to them and around them. But here they are... thrown into a stranger's home.
The entire foster care system is designed to protect children as family finds the resources and help necessary to return to the role of caretaker. Despite this, it can often feel like the needs of the children aren't important in the eyes of everyone involved. The ultimate long-term goal of reunifying a family often trumps the short-term goal of stability for the child. This is a good goal, but it's hard for the system to always make the next right decision because it is all so messy. For that reason, we need to...
2) Pray for clarity in the case.
We've learned quickly that misinformation is normal throughout this entire process. What you hear from one party isn't necessarily what you'll hear from them in another setting. And not all the information necessary to make a wise choice is deemed important enough to share in court -- many people close to the case are not required to share and often will not share because they want to preserve relationships or maintain confidentiality.
Our prayer every single day is that all the relevant information would reach the judge. That every single person involved in the case would divulge all of the details critical to weigh the options and make an informed decision. The webs of deceit, half-truths, confusion, and chaos in the case are horrifying to untangle. Pray with us that Truth would stand out from lies, misinformation, and biases in the court room and that Justice would be done.
3) Pray for the foster parents.
Just as information can quickly become muddled in the court room, it can also quickly become muddled in our hearts. Even foster parents who begin the foster care process with goals of reuniting families can quickly become burned out, bitter, or resentful as the difficulty of working within the system and with the birth families wears at us. Pray for clarity and peace in our hearts.
4) Pray for the relationships.
When birth families are fighting for one outcome and foster families are longing to protect the children, continuing a positive relationship can become stressful. It can be hard to work together to parent when the two parties have very different ideas of what is best for the child. Pray that these relationships could continue to be strong and positive, because this is of ultimate importance for the child who loves both parties and needs to see them working together.
5) Pray that Jesus would change hearts.
Pray that Jesus would reach these children and grow them into adults who love and follow Jesus. He might do this through loving Christian foster/adoptive families, through birth families who meet Jesus and raise their children up after him (this would be our number one prayer), or even despite a difficult upbringing after returning to a family that maybe shouldn't have been reunited. Whatever happens, pray that God would use the child's circumstances to speak His love loudly into their life, and that they would grow up a part of the one forever family that cannot be taken away and will never change - God's forever family.
6) Pray for our family.
For us specifically, we are praying that we would have clarity and peace in the direction God has for Baby S and his Birth Parent, so that we can move forward without anger or worry regardless of decisions made in court. And, again, we are praying daily for clarity and truth in the court room.