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Letter to a Foster Dad on Father’s Day

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Father with his adopted daughter on his shoulders
Foster dad, what you are doing is a beautiful echo of the gospel. You daily are entering into the broken story of a child in foster care. Thank you for being an earthly example of a loving heavenly father to your family. Happy Father’s Day.

To a Foster Dad on Father’s Day:

The Bible often speaks of how God goes to extravagant lengths to move towards hard places and broken people. It says there is literally nothing that can stop Him. Nothing can stand in His way. Nothing can distract from moving towards the people, places, and situations many are quick to move away from. He never hides or shrinks back or moves away. He always moves towards, and all at His great cost but for our great gain. This is who God is and what God does. Ultimately, this is what we celebrate in the person of Jesus.

The Greatest Example of God’s Love

Consider Christmas, the greatest example of how God moves towards us – and not away – in our brokenness. “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means ‘God with us’)” (Matthew 1:23 NIV).

Christmas is the celebration of when God looked down on our plight and position with grace. He did not say, “Get your act together so that maybe one day you can work your way to me!” No, instead He said, “I see you where you are in your brokenness, and I’m coming after you!” Jesus entered into our human story as “God with us.” He wrapped Himself up in the brokenness of our humanity. He gave himself as a sacrifice so we don’t have to be broken anymore. This is the gospel – the celebration of God who always moves towards us and never away.

Embracing Brokenness as a Foster Dad

Foster dad, what you are doing is a beautiful echo of the gospel. It is reverberating into the lives of kids and families. Your actions declare, “I see you where you are, and I’m coming after you!” You are putting the heart of God on display as you move towards hard places and broken situations. You are putting a face to what He looks like and hands to what He does. This is all at your great cost, but it is all for their great gain.

You daily are entering into the broken story of another. You are wrapping yourself up in that brokenness, allowing yourself also to be broken. Your steadfast hope is that, on some level, kids and families can experience healing and restoration. They don’t have to be broken anymore. You are not strutting your way in with a cape on your shoulders. Rather, you are crawling your way with the cross on your back. Daily you take up that cross, just as Jesus commanded (Luke 9:23). In doing so, you point to Him as the Hero in all of this. You put the work of Jesus on display with great clarity and vividness. Perhaps this is why James says that moving towards the most vulnerable around us puts God on display in a very “pure and undefiled” way (James 1:27).

A Picture of Real Manhood

Thank you for the sacrificial work you are doing, Foster Dad. You are not only loving these kids as your own but also showing them what a picture of real manhood looks like. It is not stereotypical manhood, like in the gym, on the field, or in the boardroom; instead, it is in the courtroom, in the visitation room, or perhaps most acutely in their bedroom late at night, when the grief gets especially hard and heavy. You are there loving them, comforting them, and praying over them. In your prayers you ask God for their mind to find rest enough to sleep. You plead for their soul to find enough relief to begin healing from all they have seen, lost, and experienced.

Perhaps you exhibit real manhood in the car while teaching them how to drive. Maybe it happens on the back porch as you counsel them on how to navigate junior high and high school. It is on display as you guide them with stability, constancy, and steadiness in a world they’ve only known to be full of chaos and disruption.

A Reflection of Christ

This is the picture of manhood you are painting – a pure and undefiled reflection of who God is. These kids in foster care are seeing Him through your care of and commitment to them. You reflect Christ in your willingness to go to great lengths to protect them and provide for them. Each day, you broker hope for them into the deepest recesses of their hearts. It is a hope that believes God is still good today despite all that’s been lost yesterday. It believes that despite the struggles of today, there is no reason to be afraid of tomorrow. What a gift you are giving. When the odds try to say that what has been must always be, you give these kids the courage to dream about what could be now and forever. 

Everlasting Impact

What you are doing is far more than caring for kids from hard places today. You are creating generational ripple effects. Your actions will impact the future trajectories of all those around you. You may not see it now. You may not ever see it in this lifetime, but what are you doing is of eternal significance. That is remarkable.

If you feel beaten, it’s because you are a fighter.

If you feel bruised, it’s because you are a protector.

If you feel empty, it’s because you are a provider.

If you feel lonely, it’s because you are a leader.

If you feel tired, it’s because you are exhausting yourself on things that ultimately matter…

…and in the end, you know there’s really no better way to live.

On those especially hard and heavy and confusing days – when you start to question whether what you’re doing is worth it – be reminded that it is. God never promises that taking up your cross daily will be easy, but He does guarantee it will be worth it. These kids are absolutely and always worth it.

Happy Father’s Day, Foster Dad

Thank you for the sacrifices you make. Many little things you do go largely unnoticed, but your actions speak volumes. Thank you for being more concerned with private faithfulness than public fame. Thank you for being an earthly example of a loving heavenly father to your family.

The beautiful, sacrificial, redemptive work you are doing of laying yourself down for the sake of these kids is worth it. This Father’s Day, know that you are cultivating that which is good and gospel-rich into the lives of those around you. The impacts are far greater and beyond measure than could ever be fully understood on this side of eternity. Your friends and neighbors see it. Your church sees it. The stranger at the grocery store sees it. Your biological children see it. Your wife sees it. The story is so much bigger than just these kids you are loving. It’s reaching anyone and everyone near you. You are putting something pure and vivid and undefiled about Jesus on display for all of them to see. It leaves them wondering how and why you do it.

Thank you for doing what you’re doing, and Happy Father’s Day.

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