The refugees in our own back yard

Since were on the topic refugees, I wanted to highlight another critical refugee problem in our US Foster Care system.

The word refugee comes from the French word refugié, which means: “to take shelter, protect.” It was a word that meant “one seeking asylum,” until 1914, when it evolved to mean “one fleeing home.”

Every year in the United States, over 250,000 American children enter the US Foster Care system, technically becoming refugees, due to the fact they have been forced to flee their homes to seek asylum from the abuse and neglect of their own parents, in the form of another safe family willing to let them in.

As I have been following the story of the crisis in Syria, I am beyond excited to see people stirred to action in helping to support refugees while encouraging others to do the same. I have a special heart for refugees and my heart breaks for the absolute gut wrenching tragedy that is happening. I want to make it clear that I am in no way making light of the largest refugee crisis since WWII, happening right now in front of our eyes. I have been praying and crying out to God on their behalf and during this time.  During times of prayer, I have felt the Lord opening my eyes and quickening my Spirit to respond to another refugee crisis that has been largely ignored for decades right here in front of our eyes.

Right now I am reading a book about a couple who has fostered or adopted 32 children from the US Foster Care system. Their stories actually make me physically sick to my stomach. I find myself enraged, nauseous, crying, and it is awakening in me a greater passion to see the church of America begin to further and more faithfully obey God’s command to look after orphans.

Every year, 250,000 refugees enter the US Foster Care System, and they are waiting for 1 person to say YES by opening their hearts and homes to them, and yet, there are still hundreds of thousands of kids in the system waiting.

We are not doing our job right now.

Statistically speaking, if only 1 family from every other church adopted or fostered a child in the foster care system, it would be EMPTY!

DID YOU READ THAT?

EMPTY!

Please pause to really think about it: 1 family, from every other church, would nearly empty out the foster care system.

INCREDIBLE!

I have been reading stories like Kurt’s: A 16-month old baby found during a meth raid in a trailer off to the side of the main home. Even before entering the trailer, you could smell the stench of feces (human and animal) and rotten food. Inside there was a toilet overflowing with excrement, rotten food and garbage all over, animal feces everywhere, and hundreds of flies. Kurt was found lying in his own excrement, next to a bottle of rotten milk, with flies all over him. He wasn’t crying, but just lay there with his eyes open; the officer thought he was dead.

Kurt had somehow by the grace of God survived a nightmare, and was finally rescued from his hell on earth.  He now needed an emergency home, and THANK GOD, a couple had said yes to fostering/ adopting and took him in.

I read about another little girl, who at the tender age of 16 months had been through unimaginable abuse. At one point, her siblings could see through the crack in the door, as the grandma and boyfriend tied her up with her hands and feet BEHIND HER BACK, while they did who knows what to her. She was screaming and the other siblings did everything they could to wake up their mother who was passed out on crack, and never responded to her screaming.

The boyfriend in the bathroom was a registered sex offender.  It makes me sick.

I can hardly even type these stories, but it is these stories that help me realize that there is a tremendous refugee crisis with the children in our foster care system and as our hearts continue to be broken and moved for the refugees in Syria maybe too our hearts will be open to the refugees right here.

It is easy for us to challenge others to open their doors and borders to refugees, but sometimes were not quite as generous with the borders of our own homes.

While it is critical that we continue to advocate for the refugee crisis happening in Syria and Europe and even support ministries that are serving there faithfully (even years down the road faithfully) we can’t simply encourage other countries to open their borders and welcome them in without also being willing to open the borders of our own hearts and homes by welcoming in the refugees right in front of us.

God commands us to “look after and care for orphans.”  Based on the statistics it seems that we may be expecting someone else to do it.  It is time to move forward in obedience and trust the Lord is big enough and sovereign enough to shut the doors if it is not what He wants of you and your family.

There are kids RIGHT NOW in need of a safe and loving home.

Anyone willing to open up their borders?

“Let us not love in word or deed, but in ACTION”