Tonight was the 2nd time that Hubbs and I were able to attend a foster care pre-service class together, something I’ve really come to appreciate. There is a lot of information dished out in these classes; they run 3 hours long and they don’t start until 6:30pm. By that time my brain and body are pretty much exhausted, regardless of what kind of day it’s been.

Last night’s class was about mandated reporters of suspected child abuse in the state of California. Who they are, what the legal definition of child abuse is, signs to look for, when to call, what the interview process is like for the child, scenario examples of home visits from licensed social workers, when mandated reporters drop the ball on reporting abuse and why.

The goal is to remove the risk from the child, not to remove the child from the risk.

The last half-hour of the class they showed a video of several former foster care children who were now aged out of the system and what their lives looked like as adults. It began with a child who had 1 foster care family from the time he was 14 months old who loved him very much and met his needs all the way into adulthood. For that he was incredibly grateful.

There was another child who was taken in by a fundamentalist Baptist minister and his family after his mother was killed in a car accident. However, the child was kicked out of the family and put into foster care at the age of 8 because the minister – the “father” to this child – decided the child wasn’t a born-again Christian.

There was a set of sisters torn apart when they had to enter foster care. And another child who went through 10 different foster homes, beginning when she was a toddler, after her father had been shot dead and her mother chose drugs over properly caring for her and her siblings.

These and countless other stories bear incredible levels of pain. All the children highlighted eventually had relative levels of “success” in spite of their growing-up journeys. However most had only 1 or 2 adults they considered mentors or who showed them the kind of love they desperately wanted and needed in their early years.

The kind of love that didn’t leave them when they weren’t loving in return. The unconditional love I have received from my own parents that I can’t imagine living without.

Whenever I hear the song “Follow You” on the radio, I think about our potential role as foster care parents. It reminds me of the blessings I have received in my own life and the desire I have to share those blessings with others; the desire I have to be used by God to help heal the hurts that are so very real in this world.

The video at the bottom of the page is the song, but I’ve shown the lyrics first as the video is related to an experience the songwriters had that differs from foster care, but the message is the same:

To claim Jesus as Lord is to be Jesus to others.

Follow You ~ Leeland w/Brandon Heath

You lived among the least of these
The weary and the weak
And it would be a tragedy for me to turn away.

All my needs you have supplied.
When I was dead you gave me life.
How could I not give it away so freely?

And I’ll follow you into the homes that are broken.
Follow you into the world.
Meet the needs for the poor and the needy, God.

Use my hands, use my feet
To make your kingdom come
Through the corners of the earth
Until your work is done

‘Cause Faith without works is dead
And on the cross your blood was shed
So how could I not give it away so freely?

And I’ll follow you into the homes that are broken.
Follow you into the world.
Meet the needs for the poor and the needy God.
Follow you into the World.

I give all myself.
I give all myself
I give all myself… to you.
And I give all myself.
Yes, I give all myself.
And I give all myself… to you.

And I’ll follow you into the homes that are broken
Follow you into the world.
Meet the needs for the poor and the needy God.
Follow you into the World.

Follow You, by Leeland with Brandon Heath
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