“I think sometimes we get ministry and we look at it religiously. You know what I mean?” Pam Giardina said.
Christian Family Care’s chief programs officer, Pam Giardina was recently 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 talks about the meaning of ministry and what it looks like to serve children in the foster care system.
“We serve by our gifts and our talents and what we have, and God takes what we have, no matter how little it is and He can multiply it, He can equip us to make it even more,” Giardina said. “The simple act of saying, ‘Well, I’m getting to take care of these children. I’m a mom and I’m going to use that ministry of serving children,’” she said.
Giardina believes we don’t have children for them to serve us, we have children to serve them. “God gives them as a gift to us and so it’s that act of service and the things that we do, the ordinary things of life that we do for our kids that are coming from the system, creates a place of safety and security so they know they’re safe here until they can return to their families of origin,” she said.
Our role as an agency is to equip foster and adoptive parents to be able to do the work and the ministry, to give them the knowledge they need to understand life from a child’s perspective that has experienced trauma so that they can still create that place and that child can thrive in that home.
Someone that’s doing foster care may not understand that it’s a ministry. “They’re thinking, well, ‘I’m just going to open my home and here I am, and I’m just going to do this thing um, what’s the difference between that?’” Hord said.
“I think it’s a matter of semantics because it’s the ordinary, you know, serving God is ministry. The scripture says, ‘Whatever you do, do it heartily as unto the Lord and not unto man.’ Whatever we do, we do it as unto the Lord with that heart of Lord. That’s an expression of my love for you, you know?” Giardina said.
Even the things that are the drudgery of ordinary days, she explained. “We go, ‘Okay, Lord, but this is a part of your plan for me. You know your plan for me is family and marriage and I’m called to serve you in this way,” she said.
Our lives should be an expression of our love for the Lord and being able to help lead people to that grace and we do it by example. “We’re a living epistle and that’s what foster care is,” she said.
“We interface as parents, we interface with the state, with the courts, with workers, but really what we’re doing is we’re a container for the good news for God,” she said. “The love of God in us, God has saved us and transformed us and our life should be that expression to our children, to our foster children, and into to the world,” she said.
Giardina explained that this goes kind of discipleship should be expressed even towards the child’s parents through shared parenting. “ I think we get religious in the church where we look at discipleship and we think it has to be first, you got to get them saved, and then you got to give them the Bible, and then you’ve got to do these Bible lessons with them, but you know, really discipleship is coming alongside, walking alongside with that person, wherever they’re at and helping to speak into their life, the truth that God has imparted to us in a way that they can receive it,” she said. “It’s like with your own kids, even before you have a foster child, you’re there to disciple them and help them along that path to lead them to know the loving God that’s there for them,” she added.
To watch the full podcast click here: The Calling Required For Foster Care and Adoption – Family Care Learning Podcast #19