From Foster Care to Annapolis

My hometown paper this weekend carried a great column titled, “Amazing journey from foster care to Annapolis.”

The CAFO blog always seeks to remind that any form of care for orphans—from adoption and foster care to global service—carries both joy and ache.  That’s certainly true.  But I’ll confess that I and others sometimes place accent on the risks and challenges, perhaps as an over-reaction to the hazards of “adoption cheerleading” without adequate counting of the costs.  This isn’t necessarily bad—Jesus himself made sure to emphasize the costs of discipleship.  Yet in the midst of all the cautions, one can sometimes lose sight of the counterbalancing truth:  by God’s grace, beauty so often rises from sacrificial love.

This story is just one simple reminder of that.  Tim Cecil ended up in the foster care as an infant.  Had he bounced his way through the system without being adopted, odds are high that by his mid-twenties he’d end up being arrested for a crime (80%) and without even a 2-year college degree (93%).  Instead, Tim is on his way to the Naval Academy at Annapolis Maryland to train with some of America’s best for a bright and purposeful future.

Our love, even very sacrificial love, never guarantees the outcomes we seek—not for biological children or adopted children, or those we foster or mentor or sponsor or otherwise pour into.  But I see over and over again that God always uses sacrificial love in powerful and redemptive ways—in us, in the child, and in others as well—even if it is not at all how we’d have imagined.   Like taking a boy from foster care to Annapolis.