Christian Family Care’s chief programs officer, Pam Giardina was interviewed by Scott Hord, the Family Care Learning training manager on CFC’s Family Care Learning podcast about the calling required for foster care and adoption parents. In that episode she poses some questions every foster or adoptive family needs to consider before looking into this type of ministry.
“Over the years, what I’ve experienced a lot of times are stories like, ‘My kids had gone to school and my husband’s working and I just don’t know what to do with myself and I want to just take in kids,’ and that may sound good, but foster care is not to meet an unmet need for you,” Giardina said.
God does not need your good works, He needs those that are willing and submissive to Him to answer the call. “So I think you have to be in it for the right reason to serve kids, without getting anything back, not expecting these children to do anything, but be who they are and allow them to be who they are,” she said.
Another thing Giardina believes to be very important is knowing and understanding that this is a husband and wife ministry. “Because children need dads,” she said. “Even if he goes to work, it’s like, if you have children of your own, the dad’s role is very important and for our kids coming into foster care, that’s an important role,” she added. It’s important for husbands and wives to be on the same page that they both heard the Lord to serve Him in this way and then to realize that this is ministry for them.
This means they may have to let other distractions go because fostering or adopting is bringing that ministry right into your home. “It’s there 24/ 7, seven days a week, 365 days of the year that you’re serving these children in that capacity,” Giardina said.
Christian Family Care has supports in place to help families through the process of becoming a foster or adoptive family. However, Giardina said the expectation should be knowing that God wants you to focus all of your attention and energy on this ministry and to make these children your priority.
“An example for me is I used to run a women’s Bible study before I was called to serve here (at CFC) and when I was called to serve here, something had to give, I couldn’t be both,” Giardina said. “I had to discern, where is God calling me? So I had to put all of my heart, all of my time, all of my talent in serving Him in this ministry and of course, my first ministry is to my family, you know, to my husband and my children, but in this ministry that I was called to serve in, I had to say, ‘Okay, Lord, you have to help me prioritize here,’” she said.
Another important thing to consider before fostering or adopting is to know how the entire family unit feels about this? How do your biological children feel about this?
“Over the years, when we study families to become parents, we ask, ‘How do your children feel about this? Are they willing to share you?’” Giardina said she has seen children leave because they’re fed up with their parents’ ministry because they didn’t get their needs met. This is a part of the learning process that families have got to work through and with CFC’s training and through our home study process we can help you through it. It’s important to talk to your children about this ministry and the impact that this ministry is going to have on them. You have to reprioritize your ministry to your children so they feel that they’re not being left out because these children came in and these children may disrupt the state and the stability in the home.
“We have children telling us when we interview the children that they don’t want to share their parents…and share a bedroom with someone so then we have to go back to the family and say, ‘Did you talk to your children about this?’”
Another thing that comes up when some people seek getting into foster care is when they cannot have children of their own. This is another issue that Giardina touched on. She explained the importance for those people to understand and ask themselves why they feel the need to fill that void?
Also knowing the difficulty in fostering infants. “There are foster parents that are called to serve infants, but with a calling to serve infants, that’s very painful when you connect with those infants and then allowing them to go back to their families of origin,” she explained. “That’s hard and that’s part of discerning, what are you in here for? What can I give this baby? And, can I let this baby go when it’s time for this baby to go?”
If you are thinking about making foster care your ministry because you want to solely build your family, that’s not the reason you should do foster care or adoption. “You need to get to the root of the ‘Why?’ you’re motivated to do what you’re doing,” Giardina said.
To watch the full podcast click here: The Calling Required For Foster Care and Adoption – Family Care Learning Podcast #19