“The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the unwary…” Psalm 116:5-6
This verse really sums up the kind of year we have had here at 4KIDS. God has blessed us over and over again through an abundance of foster families, donors, and community partners. In 2017 we have had people open their homes, hearts, and wallets and give of themselves and their resources so that kids in crisis can have safe, loving homes. God’s compassion and protection were on full display throughout the year in the lives of the children we placed.
12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days. Depending on how you look at the numbers (or maybe your age), a year is either a long time or a short time, but for us it has flown by! The end of December seems like a good time to reflect over the past year and remember the good and amazing things that happened, the accomplishments, and the highlights.
In 2017, we licensed 40 foster families. Not only do these families open their hearts and homes to kids in crisis, but they also offer protection and safety to these children that no one else has defended. The Psalm above says, “The Lord protects the unwary.” The unwary are those who cannot defend themselves and so they require help from someone else. God sees the unwary kids in foster care and He provides them with strong and loving defenders: foster families. We are so glad at the number of families who continue to step forward and say yes to fostering. God has blessed us with many compassionate, defender families this year and He continues to bring us more!
In 2017, we placed 100 children in foster homes. As we constantly remind people in our training classes, most of the children in the foster care system are removed from their homes because of neglect. These kids are taken out of their homes because they were not being given attention, not being fed, not being clothed, or not being sheltered.
“The Lord is gracious and righteous.” God sees the unjustness of these kids’ situations, and He provides them with homes and families who will care for them above all else. The child in foster care is the modern-day orphan, and each day we see the traumatic effects of neglect. But each day we also see the righteousness, compassion, and protection of the Lord in the lives of children in foster care as He gives them loving caregivers and safe homes.
In 2017, we facilitated 16 adoptions. 16 families were made whole and 16 children were joyously welcomed into their forever families. Adoption days (affectionately known as “gotcha days”) are some of the most sweet, fun times we have at 4KIDS. Everyone in the family shows up, friends show up, church groups show up. There are presents, signs, and special outfits to commemorate the day. The judge climbs off the bench and smiles with the child and family for no less than 20 different cameras. Adoptions are celebrations!
For a child to be adopted, his or her brith parents’ rights have to be terminated, which usually means the child has experienced a lot of trauma. The adoption process is often lengthy and emotionally draining because of appeals and other legal hoops. But the righteousness of the Lord prevails as He brings the child out of a traumatic situation and into a safe and loving forever family.
Licensing families, placing children, and facilitating adoptions. We get excited about these three actions because each step means that a child is being brought out of a traumatic place and into safe place. We won’t lie and say all of this is easy, but the struggles are for another day; today, we want to celebrate and focus on the positives of 2017.
Unfortunately, the modern-day orphan crisis does not seem likely to go away in 2018, so we will have a lot to do in the new year. But we trust in the graciousness and compassion of the Lord to provide workers, families, and anyone else needed to provide hope and homes to kid in crisis!