I knew a woman that read through the whole Bible aloud while pregnant with each of her children. I loved that idea to connect with your unborn child. My son heard many a lesson plan in the womb, and I would tell my belly that he’d come out smarter than a 5th grader since I taught middle school.
Things are a little different with our foster children. We don’t have the 9 month luxury of praying over them before meeting them. In the foster care world, you find out they exist, and then they arrive at your doorstep a day or so later. With our current placement, it was almost as if a stork dropped her off- there was a knock on the door, a baby exchanged hands, and that was that. The gravity and sudden responsibility of doing right by someone else’s child doesn’t escape me. Every day I pray the following things:
- Wisdom– James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given to you.” When I know that a child has had it rough, I would love more than anything to step in and be an infallible presence of perfect love and infinite wisdom. I can’t be infallible, but it is comforting to know God promises to infuse us with wisdom if we ask it. So I ask it. A lot.
- Stability– I pray for stability both in the child’s home life and for their time in foster care that they won’t be moved from home to home or experience multiple disruptions. I pray for a sense of security, belonging, and safety.
- Identity– This is probably what I find myself praying for the most. I want the children in my care to have a sense of belonging, to know who they are, to feel connected with their heritage, and have a sense of place.
- The Parents– Romans 5:8 “ But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” I’m always hoping that parents will redeem themselves, integrate into a supportive community, and be able to turn things around. Whether the case is moving towards reunification or adoption, this prayer still applies because there is always hope.
- Development– These kids come with issues. I pray for insight in how to navigate all of it and for the child to overcome trauma, learn coping skills, and build new neural pathways. I pray for normal development and the ability to identify and address any issue or diagnoses.
- The future– While all of our futures are unknown, there is more concern for those who are at-risk. When I think about years down the road for these kids, I pray against addiction and for healthy relationships, educational support, and positive role models. I hope they can look at what’s gone before them and view it as a cautionary tale instead of falling into step with it.
My list could probably go on, but these are my 6 constants along with a revolving door of other requests and praises. Of course all of it is enveloped in a prayer for them to be loved and nurtured, and while they are with me, that I can exemplify Christ-like love and do right by them.