The weight of foster care has the potential to either break your marriage or bond you like never before. You are not just bringing children from hard places into your home, you also bringing them into your marriage. The goal, of course, is for you to be closer, more connected and experiencing greater depths of intimacy because of it – but these things do not just happen, they must be intentionally cultivated and fought for.
One of the most difficult seasons of our marriage was the early days of beginning our foster care journey. With three young kids already, pressures at work and a busy schedule the responsibilities and obligations that come with bringing a child into our home that demanded so much time and energy were overwhelming and exhausting. There were several occasions that my wife and I had to sit back and regroup in our marriage. We needed to stop thinking about the juggling act of all that needed to get done and revisit the most important question – not What do we need to do? but How are we doing? Are we good? Are we connected? Are we as together as we need to be?
THE ENEMY’S BULLSEYE
Foster care is spiritual warfare. It is a very real battle against an enemy who is unequivocally committed to seeking, stealing and destroying that which is good (John 10:10). His schemes are evidenced in the lives of struggling families and marginalized children and extend themselves even towards those who work to put an end to his destructive ambitions – namely, you. Your obedience to God does not insulate you from the attack of the enemy, it actually paints a bigger bullseye on your back and exposes you to his schemes all the more. Foster care is nothing if not the call to purposefully, willingly, sacrificially and joyously position yourself and your marriage in the crosshairs of the enemy’s attack. As you stand for these kids, together as husband and wife, you will inevitably get beat, battered and bruised along the way. After all, that is why you’re doing what you’re doing – taking the blows so these kids no longer have to.
Satan has his sights set on your marriage in foster care. You are living, breathing, crying and walking out the gospel in the lives of vulnerable kids on a daily basis while exposing yourself and your marriage to a spiritual warfare unlike any other. If he can crack your marriage under the weight of foster care, he no doubt believes, perhaps he could crumble the whole thing around you.
Jason Johnson is a foster and adoptive father and a regular writer and speaker on orphan care related issues. He has 13 years of pastoral ministry experience including planting a church in 2008. He is the author of ALL IN Orphan Care and currently leads the National Church Mobilization Initiative with Christian Alliance for Orphans. He has a deep passion to see a movement of orphan care be mobilized and sustained within the Church.