“Come on home, home to me / and I will hold you in my arms / and joyful be / there will always, always be / a place for you at my table / return to me.” Josh Garrels’ song At the Table captures the love of mothers and fathers for their children. We’re known, loved, and welcomed, no matter what.
The truly unselfish loves in this life are brave. Placing an infant for adoption with a loving family, holding a child close until she can reunite with her birth family, welcoming a child with special needs, mentoring a teenager. They image the love that God has for his children.
In Los Angeles, approximately 21,000 children are in foster care and in need of loving foster families. Many of these children have experienced neglect or abuse in their families of origin and frequent placements in different foster homes. As children age out of foster care without a family, a third will become homeless, a fifth will be incarcerated, and perhaps most shocking of all, 70% of trafficked youth come from the foster care system. Just 1 in 10 foster youth will go to college. These are good kids who, through no fault of their own, lack the support system to make it in life.
Children need the loving guidance, security, and modeling in virtue that only a family can provide. Think of the many intangibles that parents supply: endless hugs, late night phone calls, homecoming dance pictures, and cheers at soccer games. They love their kids through teen angst, bad grades, health struggles, scrapes with the law. Family is a safety net. It’s a loving environment that nurtures a person into communal life.
John 14:18 says, “I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you.” If there is always a place at God’s table for us, perhaps we can find a place in our hearts, homes, and at our tables for foster youth.
Can we add one more place setting as foster parents? Can we advocate for a young person navigating the dependency court system with CASA? Or drive a child to church with Covenants for Kids? God our Father has poured out His love into our hearts to overflow. From the richness of His love, our homes can reflect God the Father’s open arms to more of His children.
This year at OneLife LA, you will hear from Bishop W.C. Martin about how his tiny congregation in Possum Trot, Texas adopted 76 children from foster care. And you can visit the Fostering Booth to learn about the many ways you can serve foster and adoptive kids in our community.