My mission field is my home

My mission field is my home

For 167 days we have loved you, cared for you, and provided a safe space. That’s what being a foster parent is all about. We aren’t perfect parents but who is perfect. Did we get attached we’ll of course. We fell hard and fast for a spunky little five year old who made us parents first. She is the one who called us mommy and daddy first. We spent our first Christmas with a child with her, first kid birthday party, first Valentine’s Day, first Easter, first Mother’s Day. A lot of first we will never forget. But today was the hardest first … letting you go. The whole purpose of foster care is to provide a safe space for kids while their parents work through whatever caused them to be removed. We knew you’d go back to your family someday but didn’t know when someday would come or how in the world we would handle that someday. 

Last night we read the book “Love You From Right Here”, it talked about when the child came to the home, how they reacted and acted out, then when it was time to leave. At the end of the story you put pictures and answered what their favorites were. We all three cried. She told Daniel this morning, mommy will be really sad if I leave. Sweet girl was right, I’ve been a mix of emotions since this afternoon and sad was one of them. But one thing I know for sure she knew that she was loved and that means we did our job or parenting right. 

Natalie Grant’s song Be One has stood out to me during this whole process… 

We don’t feel ready
 We don’t feel steady
Question what we really have to give
 Stay where it’s safer
 Claim faith, but waiver
Is this how we really meant to live?
We pray but never move
 We say but never do
It’s time to get our hands dirty
 Be love there’s a whole lot of hurting
 Calling all hearts
 Calling all hands
 Calling all feet to take a stand
 Why sit around and wait for a miracle to come
 When we can be one
 When we can be one
 When we can be one

I’ve always had a heart for missions, I knew I’d live as a missionary someday as a teen… BUT God had bigger plans for me than I had dreamed. He gave me a classroom mission field. I get to love on kids with special needs daily. Now I feel he has given me and Daniel and in home mission field. Loving on kids in foster care. 

Doing missions doesn’t require you to go across the oceans or across the states or even out of your own yard. Your home can become a mission field, opening your doors to foster children and sharing God’s love with them turns your home into a mission field. Then people say I don’t feel called, ok then take a foster family dinner, toys or clothes you cleaned out. That is one thing we have learned, foster care is not celebrated like new babies or adoption. Foster parents need to know they have support especially on the hard days, support can come in the form of brownies or a listening ear. Knowing that people are there for you means the world. 

We have learned so much in 167 days… 

to love deeply

to trust God always

to pray more than ever

AND… 

to keep chocolate in the house always

#fosteringUParrows

 

What is one small reform you think would most benefit the foster care community?

The one reform I see the need for the most in the foster care system is for the courts to work harder for the children and for their wellbeing.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I’m Leslie Ford, married to Daniel for four years. I'm a special education teacher, who loves crafting. We began the foster care journey 18 months ago. 

Follow Leslie on her blog

Instagram @lesliesford

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