THE MATZDORFFS FOSTER
You may have heard us talking recently about the great need for foster families in our communities. With more than 10,000 children in the foster care system in MA, it is a great need and can require big sacrifice. But as with any great need, comes a great opportunity to demonstrate the love and generosity of God. To God’s glory, several families in our church have responded and begun the process to become foster parents.
Rachel & James Matzdorff are one family from our church that has begun this process. Rachel Matzdorff recently posted several FAQs we thought would be great to share, not only as an encouragement to those considering foster care, but also to ANYONE following God’s call to step out in obedience and faith.
James and I are becoming foster parents. We have had conversations with many of you reading this and in those conversations some of the same questions have been asked. I decided to start this blog to document our journey through foster care. Of course, as we start fostering children, the amount of information shared will greatly decrease, but we want to be able to share with you how God is and will continue to work in our hearts and lives during this process. Here are a few of the questions:
• Why are we doing foster care?
Simply, we are doing foster care because we believe God is calling us to be foster parents. We believe the Gospel calls us to action; to love others around us in a way that is only capable through Jesus. Christ has made a change in our hearts and in our lives and we can celebrate that internally, but need to share that with others externally. One way we feel God is calling us to live out the Gospel is through foster care. We are working to be obedient to His calling in our life though we know it will come with definite sacrifice in the ways we are choosing to spend our time and resources. The only way we can do this is through Jesus’ help and we pray to Him daily to continue to work in our hearts and in our lives as we prepare for this change.
• What are you telling your kids?
Even before we realized that God was calling us to be foster parents, we have been working to teach our children to live on mission. This is GOD’S mission, not our own. We have been teaching them to love their neighbors, open their home to others, and to pray daily for God’s provision in their lives. We have been reading Courtney DeFeo’s book In This House We Will Giggle which outlines a different virtue every month using Jesus as our model. It brings you back to scripture and gives you practical ways of practicing this in your home and community. We have been talking about how Jesus calls us to love, serve, and pray for those we live with, worship with, go to school with, work with, etc.
As we go through the foster care process our conversations with our children are beginning to turn more towards showing love specifically to children in the foster care system. God has been preparing them for this through our conversations even if we didn’t know it was specifically for providing foster care. We have been talking in general about ways we can serve those who have specific needs and now our conversations are becoming more targeted in regards to the children who will come into our home.
We know and acknowledge that this will be a change for them; that there will be good days and bad days. We know we will have to continue to pray with them and for them. We know that there will be continual reminders of how this is what Christ is calling us to do and how we need to be obedient in that. BUT what better way of modeling for them how to be obedient to Christ’s calling in our lives and how to show love to those that need it most!
• Aren’t you busy enough?
Here is where praying about and knowing what God’s plan is for your life really comes into play. Yes, we are busy; but is what we are busy with the things God is calling us to do? For example, I taught a course at ENC this past spring semester. I loved it. I loved working with college students and preparing them to be teachers that meet the needs of their students. It was wonderful seeing students who are excited to become teachers and willing to try new things. However, that was something that I enjoyed doing and found satisfaction in, it wasn’t something I was necessarily doing with the mindset of bringing glory to God. After lots of prayer and conversation with James, I will not be teaching that course next year. We feel like God is asking us to become devoted foster parents and this is one thing we are sacrificing in order to be obedient to him.
We know there will be constant sacrifices, but those are all things that WE are wanting and that God is not necessarily wanting for us. Please pray with us as we continue to make those decisions.
• Aren’t you worried about having to give the children back?
Yes. Everyday. There are more than 510,000 children in the foster care system in the United States, more than 10,000 in MA alone who need parents who are willing to get attached, love them, and endure the pain of having to let them go. It is only by God’s grace that we will be able to endure the pain of sending them back. Jesus says, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt. 10:39). We want to lose our lives for the sake of our foster children—not only because they need us to, but because Christ met our even more desperate need.
Opening your heart to love any child is risky and requires a loss of self. Opening your heart and home to a foster child may seem especially risky. But in losing ourselves, we gain. We grow in understanding how Jesus loved us and gave himself up for us. In seeking to love sacrificially, we pray others will see a picture of the gospel and be drawn to Christ.
I have been reading blogs, talking to social workers, and other moms that are foster moms and getting advice, and a full understanding of what we will endure. And still, we know God is sovereign and will be walking along side us and will meet us in our time of need.
• What’s next? When will you be getting foster children?
Our next step is taking the MAPP course which is required for foster parents. It is a 30 hour training that explains even more where foster children are coming from, what traumas they have endured, and what will be expected of us as foster parents as we work with these children that have suffered so much. Once we have completed the course, we will go through the extensive home study process. Once we pass the home study, we will then be approved and licensed foster parents. With that being said, we could have foster children as early as August or as late as next Spring. We are continuing to pray for God’s timing and Him revealing to us when we are ready.
Please pray with us as we continue this process. We know we won’t be able to do this alone. It is only with God’s strength and your support that we will be able to be foster parents. We love you all and are so thankful that you are part of our “village.”
Originally posted at thematzdorffsfoster.wordpress.com
If you’re interested in learning more about foster care, shoot us an email and we’ll get you connected to the right people. firstname.lastname@example.org