Imagine this scene for a moment. You’re woken up by two people coming into your room in the middle of the night. They speak softly to you but you’ve never seen them before. They hand you a trash bag and tell you that you have 3 minutes to meet them in the hall. What do you put in the bag? How long before you see your room again? Should you put on clothes or keep your pajamas on? You meet them in the hall and they don’t restrain you but they walk you out of your house to their vehicle. No one is waiting outside to stop them and no one in your house can do anything. At this point you’re just starting to wake up fully.
This isn’t a scene from Taken 3 or a new Navy SEAL movie; this is an example of what it looks like for a 6 year old to be put in foster care. Maybe this isn’t the first time this has happened, maybe it’s old hat for the child. They might have seen it coming because they haven’t seen their Mom for a few days or just found out their Dad is going to jail again. They might even know the people picking them up. Perhaps instead of in the middle of the night they might be picked up from school that way in front of their friends.
This isn’t the county’s fault, they have more children than they have time or homes for and they do the best they can. That is exactly where we come in, Mercy Hill! Why should we not be beating down the doors of the foster care system to provide children like this a place to land in such turmoil? The Bible says “religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world (James 1:27).
Maybe you think you’re not ready to house children long term – that’s ok – there are plenty of ways to serve the children who may be temporary orphans and the families who may be experiencing such hardships that they lose their children. You can house children short term on an as needed basis for a weekend or week; you can become certified to speak on the behalf of children who have no adult to speak for them; you can serve foster parents with meals, lawn care, movie nights, whatever; or you can simply be willing to open yourself up to God in this area in this area of your life and see where he pulls your heart. Being ready and available has changed people’s lives throughout the Bible, throughout history, and even today – we serve an amazing God who can do mighty things through us if we’re simply willing to be on board!
In Guilford County alone, 498 children get placed in the foster care system every year. That’s almost 5 times more children that visit Mercy Hill on any given Sunday. Pray about what you can do to reach those children and join us as making an impact here in our city.