March 09, 2017
In August 2016, God invited me to be a part of the work He was already doing at and through Anna’s House Foundation and I begun my journey as an AHF foster care specialist. Three years prior, I had stepped out in faith and left my career in nursing and began the work as a foster care worker with another agency. I found myself at a crossroads. My husband and I fostered for nearly ten years. Our home was full with six children (two biological and four adopted), and so we decided to close our home to fostering. But once you “know” in the realm of foster care, you can’t un-know. Proverbs 24:12 tells us, "Once our eyes are opened we cannot pretend we do not know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls knows we know and holds us responsible to act." The burden to remain engaged in the foster care arena was intense. So I left my career in nursing to pursue my passion in child welfare. It’s a beautiful thing when a passion and a profession come together.
When I came to AHF, I found one crucial element unique to Anna’s House: the gospel of Jesus Christ. The work we do in foster care is in vain if we don’t see it through the lens of the gospel. We have an adversary when working with these children and families. That adversary works in opposition to foster care’s ultimate goal of seeing families restored and/ or children coming to know the Lord in the context on a loving and stable family. “The enemy has come to steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10) in vulnerable children’s lives and to perpetuate the systemic brokenness of past generations. As a foster care worker, if I do not have the freedom to pray with the families I serve and encourage them with faith, I am doing a disservice to them and the children placed in their homes. Foster care is a beautiful expression of the gospel. It demands a selfless, costly, and potentially painful love, for the sake of a child gaining much as you willingly give all. The beauty of the mission and core values at AHF is the way foster care and the gospel is woven together. As a foster care specialist at AHF, I pray for the children on my caseload by name every morning. I also pray for and with the precious families I serve throughout every step of their foster parenting journey.
The typical day in the life of a foster care specialist at AHF is never the same as the day before. We have to become masters of chaos and multitasking. Between making home visits, preparing court reports, seeking out service providers, attending court and family team meetings, leading trainings and support group, writing home studies, and throwing in a middle of the night emergency placement, we could not come back day after day if our hearts weren’t absolutely committed and if we didn’t lean on Jesus to give us the grace to do it all over again tomorrow. As a foster care specialist and someone working within the confines of a broken system, we see the absolute best and the absolute worst of humanity. But, at the end of the day, we hold onto the subtle victories of the day, like that sibling set that was just reunified, or the child who was previously labeled as “failure to thrive” who is now gaining weight or hitting a developmental milestone, or that foster mom who was on the edge of throwing in the towel who is now utilizing what she learned in TBRI training and reports that the child came home everyday this week with happy faces on his behavior chart at school. It can be emotionally exhausting and require evenings away from your own family to help a foster family in crisis but where else can you get courtside seats to seeing lives changed.
In my office, I have the following quote painted on a canvas, because it reminds me of all of the beautiful children I have had the opportunity to serve. Their faces, their stories, and their happy endings have changed and blessed me more than I can even express:
“Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.”
— David Platt