Becoming a foster parent is one of the most selfless acts a person can undertake. Opening up your heart and home to care for a child in need is incredibly meaningful, but also challenging. As you embark on this journey, it’s important to fill your mind with truth, hope, and encouragement. This will strengthen and sustain you for the ups and downs ahead.
You have been called to foster parenting for a purpose – to reflect the Father’s heart for the vulnerable. God promises to equip you every step of the way. While fostering can be difficult, you are never alone. God knew you before you were formed in the womb, and He knows the plans He has for you (Jeremiah 1:5). His perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). Abide in the truth that you have been chosen and commissioned for this vital work.
- God chose you purposefully for this calling to foster parenting. You are not here by accident.
- God promises to equip you and give you everything you need to fulfill His purpose.
- God’s perfect love casts out all fear. Rely on Him when you feel afraid or uncertain.
- You have a unique opportunity to reflect the Father’s compassionate heart for children.
- While fostering can be challenging, you don’t walk this road alone. God is with you every step of the way.
Navigating the Emotions of Foster Parenting
As a foster parent, you may experience a wide spectrum of emotions – excitement, joy, fulfillment, but also anxiety, grief, and frustration. This emotional rollercoaster is normal and to be expected. Allow yourself to feel, process, and release this range of emotions while clinging to God’s truth.
When your heart feels weary, reflect on Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28 – “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Bring your burdens to the Lord, trust His heart toward you, and receive His rest. You cannot pour from an empty cup, so prioritize caring for your own soul. Allow others to support and encourage you along the way. God does not intend for you to carry this calling alone.
As you experience great joy, give thanks and praise to the Lord who called you and equips you for this work. When feelings of anxiety or fear creep in, remember God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Stand firm on His truth and promises for you. “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
Cultivating Patience and Compassion
Patience and compassion are essential when fostering, but they don’t always come naturally in the midst of challenging behaviors, attachment issues, and emotional meltdowns. Ask God to renew your strength when you feel spent. Remember Jesus’ compassion – how He welcomed and blessed the children brought to Him (Mark 10:13-16). As His hands and feet, you now get to show that same compassion.
When tensions run high, take a deep breath and pray for patience, wisdom, and understanding regarding the root issues beneath problem behaviors. Speak words of life, reassurance, and empathy. Correct gently and build up. “Patience is better than power, and controlling your temper is better than capturing a city” (Proverbs 16:32). Trust that God is at work even in struggle. Keep following His example of grace and forgiveness.
Ask regularly for fresh compassion from the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Pray to see each child through Jesus’ eyes of kindness. Believe in each child’s God-given potential. Speak words of value, purpose, and hope over them. By doing so, you point them to the Father who loves them dearly. What a privilege to plant seeds of identity, belonging, and faith!
Caring for Yourself as a Foster Parent
Pouring yourself out daily for foster children requires being intentional about caring for your own soul. Set healthy boundaries regarding your time and energy. Take regular breaks for rest and renewal, even if that’s just a few moments of quiet with a cup of coffee. Make time for regular dates with your spouse to nurture your relationship. Pursue friendships that encourage your faith and bring joy.
Don’t neglect your own health – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Eat nourishing foods, exercise when possible, and get adequate sleep. Process your feelings and stresses through prayer, counseling, or support groups as needed. Abide in Christ through time in His Word and presence. As your cup is filled, you have more to give.
It’s okay to ask for help! Build a “village” around your family who can provide occasional respite, meals, childcare, prayer support, and more. Say “yes” when people offer to serve you. Being a foster parent does not mean you must go it alone. Follow God’s example of interdependence and community. “Two people are better than one, for they can help each other succeed” (Ecclesiastes 4:9).
Persevering Through Discouragement
There will inevitably be times of discouragement – placements ending, regression in behaviors, other stresses piling up. Allow yourself to grieve when needed. Reflect on what went well to fuel hope for the future. Talk to your support system, counselor, or pastor to process disappointments. Then realign your mindset with truth.
You have not labored in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). Progress often happens slowly. Look at how far you’ve come. God’s timing and purposes are at work even when you can’t yet see. Keep sowing seeds of love and truth. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).
God is your rock, salvation, and fortress in times of trouble (Psalm 62:2). Take heart, He has overcome the world! (John 16:33) His mercy is new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). As long as He assigns you breath, He is not finished with you! There are greater things ahead. Ask Him for fresh vision to see each day through His eyes of hope.
Finding Community and Connection
While foster parenting can feel isolating at times, God has placed you within a larger community of believers. Seek out other foster families in your church or neighborhood. Join support groups, training cohorts, respite networks, and online communities to find kinship. You were not created to do this alone!
Within Christian community, we bear each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). Share your needs and accept help. Pray for and encourage fellow foster parents. Let others speak life and hope into you too. Let vulnerability and authenticity forge deep bonds. Keep your eyes open for divine appointments and friendships.
Even when your sphere of community feels small, remember the mighty cloud of witnesses cheering you on (Hebrews 12:1). You belong to a vast kingdom family. God Himself is your ever-present help in times of need (Psalm 46:1). Abide in His presence as your strength and shield. Let your roots grow deep in His limitless love. You have never been alone.
Serving from a Healthy Soul
The greatest model of a healthy soul is Jesus. Though He served tirelessly, He consistently prioritized time with the Father to rest, renew, and refill for ministry. Following His example, ensure your cup is filled before pouring out. Protect time for silence, solitude, and Sabbath. Say “no” when needed to prevent burnout.
Bring your weary soul to the Lord: “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.” (Psalm 23:1-3). Let Him infuse you with strength only He can provide. His holy presence brings restoration nothing else can match.
Guard your thoughts and emotions. Take wrong thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5), renew your mind in truth, cast anxiety onto Jesus (1 Peter 5:7), forgive quickly, meditate on things that are noble and lovely (Philippians 4:8). As you abide in the vine, allowing the Lord to cleanse and prune you, your soul will bear much fruit (John 15).
Seeing with Eyes of Faith
Human eyes see only part of the picture. God sees the full scope – past, present, and future eternally. As you walk this journey in close step with Him, ask for eyes of faith to see each child and situation through His perspective. Believe wholeheartedly that “He who began a good work will carry it on to completion” (Philippians 1:6).
God is able to do immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). He specializes in redeeming broken stories. No case is too far gone for His restoration. Nothing can thwart His purposes when you cooperate with Him. What hope this brings!
Even when circumstances feel bleak and discouraging, trust God’s heart of redemption. ‘Consider it pure joy when you face trials, because the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2-3). You cannot outgive God. All pain surrendered to Him is redeemed. “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28).
Fostering with God’s Heart
God could have chosen any means to care for orphaned and vulnerable children. But in His incredible wisdom, He chose to work through ordinary people like you. This is your divine assignment, specially crafted for you. God knew you before time began and prepared you for this holy task. You have everything you need because His Spirit lives within you. What an honor to participate in His work!
God redeems the pain of your past to equip you for this calling. Your experiences give you a unique capacity for empathy, nurture, and patience. The Father takes our broken pieces and makes them beautiful. You have victory in Christ, so let His story define yours. Walk boldly in your God-given identity as His beloved child.
The Lord surrounds you constantly, strengthening you with His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10). Take joy in His presence. He is for you, never against you. You bear His image within you. There is no greater privilege than reflecting God’s heart to the children before you. You are exactly who they need. Listen for His whisper of love, “Well done, my good and faithful one!”
Foster parenting is both a great joy and great challenge. As you walk this path, may you feel God’s hand upholding you through every twist and turn. He will never leave you or forsake you. You need not fear the road ahead, for the Shepherd knows the way. Though trials will come, His grace will abound all the more. Follow Him wholeheartedly!
You are building God’s kingdom by living out the gospel daily. You are His agent of hope and healing for vulnerable children. When discouragement sets in, remember why you started. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of your faith (Hebrews 12:2). His purposes will prosper through you!
Dear foster parent, be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:9). Yours is sacred, holy work. God rejoices over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). You have been called for such a time as this (Esther 4:14). Keep letting His love shine brightly through you! “Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” – Harriet Beecher Stowe