3 Powerful Lessons Foster Care Has Taught Me
By Jami Kaeb
The journey of foster care is not smooth. There are gentle curves and sharp turns. There are ups, and there are downs. The weight of it feels like too much at times, and then others, you are so sure that this is precisely where you and your family need to be—and sometimes, it’s both of those happening at the same time.
Foster care has changed me. It’s changed our family. Change isn’t wrong; in fact, I think this change has been good—though hard—for us. I’ve had to think about things differently.
Here are three powerful lessons I’ve learned through foster care:
1. Awareness leads to action.
I’ve seen this over and over in our journey to adoption, foster care, and even in starting TFI. Awareness prompted Clint and I’s curiosity, and that curiosity compelled us to pray. Prayer opened our hearts, and we became available. Once we were available, action followed.
Adoption was never in my plan. Foster care and foster care ministry weren’t even on my radar, but praise God; He saw a bigger picture for my family. You can trust him.
2. It’s not about me.
We went through many ups and downs in our journey to adoption, lots of “no’s,” a failed adoption, many tears, and much discouragement. During some of the hard times, I questioned God. “Why? This doesn’t make sense. You say adoption is a GOOD thing. We said YES to you. Why have you said NO back to us? I do not understand.” Ultimately, I heard God’s voice—not in an audible way—but clearly to my heart. It’s like he held my face in His hands and said, “Honey, it’s not about you.”
If you’re in a season of waiting right now, I get it. It is so hard. Please know that God has a purpose in this season. He has not forgotten you. In the gentlest way that I can say it, remember, it’s not about you. It’s ALL about Him, and in Him, there is safety.
3. It’s not about bringing a child into your family; it’s about bringing your family to a child.
Before we started foster care, we found ourselves in a season of waiting. We wanted to bring a child home. We wanted to add to our family. I remember the day my thoughts switched. I was watching a video of caseworker calling family after family looking to place a little girl in a home, but she received no after no. To think of children sitting in foster care offices across our nation while workers call to find them homes and to know that the people on the other end of the line are saying NO to you—oh, my friends, we cannot let them wait! It’s not about expanding and growing your family or mine. We have the opportunity to bring a family to a child who needs one for however long they need us.
This journey we are on, my friends. It’s beautiful, and it’s messy. But, please know, we, at TFI, are with you. You are not alone. Just take the next, imperfect, faithful step and keep your eyes on Jesus and the mission He has called you to live. We want to help you support the foster care community. In stepping forward, you will be changed, and you will grow in ways you didn’t know you needed to.
Adoption, foster care, and advocacy were not part of Jami’s dreams for her life, but God changed her heart when He made her aware, and she is passionate about helping others become aware too! She and her husband Clint are parents to their seven children (five through adoption).