This is the first in a series of posts about our commitment to praying for the Foster Care System on the North Shore
Sarah, barren and in her 90’s, laughs at the idea that God would establish a new family through her (Genesis 18), what an incredible notion! Her laugh is one of wonder that God uses unlikely people to do seemingly impossible things.
Faced with complex, intractable problems, the “laugh of wonder” is an uncommon response. We tend to resume normal life, lacking hope that God would do something of significance with us.
If you have known and loved children involved in foster care, you know their situations can seem impossible. It can be tempting to look away rather than smile in wonder at what God might do.
A commitment to pray
Recently NSCBC committed ourselves to pray every week for children in foster care. We are joined by six partner churches — First Congregational in Hamilton, The Harbor in Beverly, First Presbyterian in Ipswich, High Rock in Salem, Christ the Redeemer in Danvers, and First Congregational of Boxford — who are also praying weekly during services until God does something of significance.
Our commitment grew from conversations with our local DCF office who told us of the challenge of recruiting families and caring for children with limited resources. We held that need up to the reality that God establishes families. Our response is to go to our Father and ask for his provision. This pledge captures Sarah’s laugh of wonder.
About the opportunity
The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF), with local offices in Lynn and Salem, is charged with protecting children from abuse and neglect. They support at-risk children living with their birth parents. When that is not possible, children are placed with relatives or with foster families. DCF also supports young adults graduating from foster care to independent living. In all, they manage 56,000 cases every year. Of those, 10,000+ children are placed in foster care. That number fluctuates — increasing in recent years in part as a result of opioid addiction.
There are children in every single city and town who need loving homes; families who need support; young adults entering adulthood without adoptive parents. Their experience within the complex child-protection system has an incredible impact on their lives.
How can we pray?
It may seem daunting to pray for a system as complex as foster care. But take confidence in prayer!
God is at work in the lives of children. God desires their good and the good of their birth parents and foster families. It is God’s design for children to develop emotionally, physically, spiritually, and socially with the loving support of patient, gracious, and godly parents.
The best advice is to break it down — pray for everyone involved.
- You can pray for
- The children
- The birth parents
- Teachers and mentors
- DCF social workers and nonprofits who partner with DCF to serve families
- Foster families
- Adoptive families
- Friends and family who support foster and adoptive families
Finally, don’t forget to pray for our broader community — for a culture that takes notice of and nurtures all of its children.