Monday, October 06, 2014

Taking My Kids Off the Pedestal

I'm honored to be a contributor this year to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital's Children's Wishing Well blog. We've spent a lot of time at VCH this year with "Baby Girl Chandler" (AKA "BGC" on this blog), and though that isn't a prerequisite for contributing to Wishing Well, it has increased my knowledge of and appreciation for children's health care.

My first post is up on Wishing Well today, and in it, I share some thoughts about foster care that have been swimming around my heart and mind for quite a while. It felt really good to let it out. Though I didn't emphasize the religious basis of these thoughts in the published post, I'll say here that it all began with a book that I actually didn't even read.

I used to get a lot of review copies in my old job as editor of Circuit Rider and Ministry Matters, and (shocker) I didn’t have time to read them all, but I tried to give the appealing ones at least a little peek. That’s where I saw the line in Jennie Allen’s Anything that advocated praying a crazy prayer, that of offering God “anything.” Anything God wanted or needed from you, you offer that up. That is definitely a frightening thought, especially since my first thought was “my kids.” If I offer God anything, God might take my kids. That’s not a theologically sound thought, and I definitely don’t think God kills kids, takes anybody because he “needs another angel” or whatnot. That’s crazy. But as I weighed that crazy thought with the calling to foster care that I was already pondering—had been pondering for a while—I realized that, yes, in a way, answering God’s call would mean offering something of my kids.

The idea that opening our home to other children might mean my own children having less—less space, less attention, less of our disposable income, anything less than our undivided focus—I would be sacrificing something that my own privileged kids may take for granted. Not so much space and time and stuff, but their place on the pedestal of our family’s life.

This pedestal, all shiny white with Corinthian detail, has a plaque on it that says:

These children are special.

These children deserve the best of everything.

These children, by virtue of being born into a comparatively well-off family in a safe suburb, should be shielded from people not like us.

These children should not have to share the good things they have with those who have not.

To read the rest, go visit Children's Wishing Well.


EMU said...

Love this! All of it!

Random: Jennie Allen's kids go to the school I taught at in Austin. :)

Anonymous said...

Our family has been indirectly affected by foster care. My husband has a cousin who when through the system and eventually was adopted into the family. And He has several foster brothers. Their influence on our family has opened up the idea of adopting when our little ones are a little bigger.


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