In light of the bizarre impact Coronavirus has had on the entire world. I have been reflecting about how trapped, frustrated & helpless so many people feel. In a weird way, it’s really not a foreign feeling for Foster Parents. It’s a daily reality, now it just has the added “joy” of a virus to make it more complex and widespread for everyone else.
Something I have become more and more convinced of the longer we’ve remained in the Foster Care system is this — the system sworn to protect and cherish children, that system itself causes trauma. It causes trauma for the children, the foster families, parents, everyone. Let me clarify, it is different trauma (likely) than what caused the move into Foster Care initially — but trauma nonetheless.
My initial reaction is to blame the system, condemn it & use it as the scapegoat for my frustrations when they arise. But the calmed down retrospective part of me knows that isn’t the answer. That said, the system is flawed, broken, slow, bogged down, bloated & wastes money. The system is not great. But on the other side, the system is a result of the brokenness in the world that it was created to handle. It (the system) is dealing with heartbreaking situations, problems & brokenness no one would ever want to wish upon their worst enemy. And as a result, because every situation, child, family & case is different — there is this unnecessary, yet unavoidable, tension between common sense and following every protocol.
So I guess the point in writing this is to ask myself a question. What is the Christlike response to feeling trapped, backed into a corner, helpless? If we Christians want to redeem & restore the brokenness in the world, as we are called to do, what does that look like in a messy & frustrating system (that we may or may not agree with)? What does it look like to not force our agenda, our will, our preferences — but to balance that with common sense and truly act in the BEST interest of others (including Foster Children)?
I keep asking myself this question because as a Foster Parent, I have never felt more powerless, hopeless and backed into a corner over the last few years. Now before you panic and question my faith in God’s sovereignty and faithfulness — remember, feelings aren’t always truth. Feelings can mislead, can be sinful & flawed. But regardless, we are emotional beings, and feelings are unavoidable. The trouble comes in how we react, how we process them and the actions we take. I want to react well in the face of feeling powerless, pushed around & trapped. I want to stand up with gracious boldness to face the uncertain, the unnecessary & the unfairness.
So, whether it’s questioning the brokenness of the system, or evaluating my response to the feeling of powerless waiting — what is the response that will help point to Christ, the response that can help restore brokenness, the response that minimizes the “trauma” of the Foster-world? What is the response that helps redeem the ugly broken world that our kids have no choice in floating through?
What does it look like to exist in and simultaneously seek to redeem a broken world? I pray about this a lot — and tonight while watching/singing songs with the kids, we listened to an old favorite, and it reminded me of an important place to rest in. Below is part of the Andrew Peterson’s song, “Dancing in the Minefields”:
“At the end of all my faith, till the end of my days
When I forget my name, remind me.
‘Cause we bear the light of the Son of Man,
So there’s nothing left to fear.
So I’ll walk with you in the shadowlands,
Till the shadows disappear.
‘Cause He promised not to leave us,
And his promises are true.”
It’s curious, but this too reminds me that in this world we will be uncertain of much, there is plenty to fear, we can always find something in which to be anxious about — but that’s ok. We bear the light of the Son of Man (Jesus), and we won’t have every answer, but we can keep walking and trusting — because the promises ARE true.
p.s. nothing horrible has happened, please don’t panic — just processing the realities of Foster Care and seeing the weird emotional similarities to COVID world. Even when life is beautiful, the kids are wonderful & life is full of blessing — Foster Care is hard & our goal in sharing our journey is to just share what families go through. So no need to worry or panic 🙂