The Grateful Foster Care Advocate and the Road Behind Us

Thanksgiving is nearly upon us and it may come with all sorts of associations for you. These might include family, football, cranberry sauce still shaped like the can, and Aunt Wanda’s lovingly roasted (but slightly petrified) turkey.

And for many of you it will also likely involve travel.

You’ll load up all your turkeys in the minivan and head out onto the open road for a glorious day filled with audio books and chicken nuggets. You settle into the captain’s chairs and just a mere 8 minutes beyond city limits you hear it for the first time . . . echoing forward from the middle of the back row. It is the first time you hear these four words that day, but most certainly will not be the last:

“Are we there yet?”

These words come from such an honest place. We all just want to be there. Our pumpkin pie-filled future is far preferable to our “squished-between-my-smelly-brothers” present reality. We are entirely focused on the road ahead and how much of it might be left.

Just recently I was at a conference in Little Rock and ran into a veteran guardian ad litem I knew who has advocated for countless children over three decades.  A few years ago, when the churches in her community were just beginning to reawaken to the needs of children in foster care, I remember her joy. In fact, I will always remember her saying, “I have prayed for this for 30 years.”

She, as much as anyone, knows that the road ahead is a long one but she is also very aware of just how far we’ve come.

As reports began to come in about Orphan Sunday from churches around the world these last couple of weeks, I couldn’t help but to think back to 15 years ago when so many of us were wondering, “Where is the body of Christ?” and “Why is God’s heart for these kids not mentioned from the pulpits of our churches?”

However, this year we were hearing from friends who are not necessarily involved foster care, but who were letting us know that their churches were pointing to God’s heart for the orphan and challenging his people to respond. When we take a few minutes to look at the road behind rather than on the destination ahead, we can’t help but to be grateful for all God has done.

Now, are we as churches executing everything perfectly? Do the families we’ve recruited have all the support they need? Have we completely shed our rose-colored glasses when we are asking followers of Christ to respond? Do we still have a long way to go to get to “more than enough” for kids and families in foster care?

In other words, are we there yet?

No, we’re not . . . but this is a great week to look back at how far the Lord has brought us and thank Him.