We have several friends who are parents in the foster care system. They vary in every way from foster only, adopt only, still waiting to adopt, or celebrating a recent adoption. One family, however, is smack in the middle of the dreaded nightmare that scares so many families away from opening their home to foster children. They have had a child removed from their home after more than three years, and a completed adoption of her siblings. Every emotion you can possibly fathom at just reading those words has flooded their hearts and home, and the hearts of so many who love them and have prayed for them throughout this process. They did not have a foster child return home....they lost their daughter to a list of rules that over looks what is best for the children involved. It's unimaginable, yet it happens more often than it should. The system is flawed. Rules are in place to protect the occasional parent who is trying to get it right, but so often, blinded eyes act on rules independent of common sense.
After hearing the unimaginable happened to our friends, I was angry, hurt and confused... After all hundreds, if not thousands, of people were praying for their little girl to stay. For the judge to rule in favor of their family, not in opposition. I found myself asking,
Why did you not show up that day, God? This family has put their complete faith in you. They have been such a light to all who have walked along side them through this with such grace and hope. Where are you God?
I've thought long and hard about that question as Scott and I cry considering this would be comparable to us losing our daughter now, after three and a half years in our family. As our boys pray for their friends and beg God to not let this happen, I wonder and pray along,
where are you?
Here's what God has reminded me of....
He is here. God is still with each of them and He is present for every tear they have, and will continue to shed. He is present in every prayer they will pray over her life. He is there with their other children who will continue to love and pray for their sister. He is there with her, tucked in her young heart, in every prayer she heard spoken over her life, in every kiss, in every hug they've given over the last three and a half years. God is the center of their continued faith as they almost comfort those around them with their words of hope and love. He has not turned His back on her, nor on this family. God is still in control of the flawed, and so often, broken, system.
So we will weep with our friends as they weep and we will bear up under them in prayer. As we read so many times in the Bible that God does not leave, or forsake us (Isaiah 41, 1 Peter 5, Phil 4), that He is our strength (Psalm 28, Isaiah 40, Psalm 119) and our comforter (2 Cor 1), we are reminded that this continues to be true today. Their hurt is real and it is deep and even though we know so often, God does not always answer prayers in the way we want, He does always answer, so we will hold out in faith, that God is not finished yet.
Whatever your trial, your hurt, your fear, your joy.... God IS there.