Being a family

November 15th, 2012 at 11:10 am

What does it mean to “be a family”? Nothing has taught us more about being a family than becoming a foster family.

In her most recent drawing, our daughter painted our family. Her explanation, “It’s our family: Daddy, Momma, me, and K.” Baby K was our first foster child. She went to live with her relatives several weeks ago. Saying goodbye was heart-wrenching, but seeing her drawn in crayon this week as a part of our family was an unexpected comfort. Regardless of her address, K will always be a cherished part of our family because of our love for her.

Fostering deepened our understanding of the Lord’s love for us, and it taught us the most important part of being a family is choosing to love each other with that kind of love. Hugs, dancing, cuddling and contagious laughter are fun, easy parts of love – but fostering gave us the chance to daily enter the depths of love where it isn’t all fun and easy.

God gave us His eyes to see beyond our foster daughter’s past and her behavior to see the beauty that is His perfect creation. We were challenged to love freely, to hang tough when the going got rough and not to let our worries over an uncertain future govern the amount of love we offered.

Being loved like that is life changing, and learning how to love like that is equally as life changing! We felt so unworthy, fearful and ignorant when we first sensed the Lord calling us to become a foster family. But despite our weaknesses and shortcomings, He empowered us to love Baby K with His amazing love. That love physically changed her right in front of our eyes, and it left growth stretch marks all over our hearts in the process.

It’s because of those stretch marks that we’re currently preparing our home for two sweet foster sisters to join our family. Though we still have lots to learn about how to be the kind of foster family we want to be, we know we want the Lord to use our family to show these little girls His great love for them.

Being a foster family doesn’t require you to have parenting or faith or love all figured out – it just requires open and willing hearts ready to pour the Lord’s love on those in need of it most.

“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:11-12

By Cody and Amy Bettis, a foster family through Buckner Foster Care and Adoption Services and members of Crestview Baptist Church in Midland.

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