Kindness in Foster Care
Ephesians 4:32 tells us, “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ, forgave you.”
Having tenderhearted kindness is something that we are to exhibit as followers of Christ. Tender hearts are to feel easily and quickly, which is something that all of us truly do when acting in kindness in the middle of foster care. The best thing about having tenderly kind hearts is that they overflow with kind lips and actions. Kindness can be easy to give when it has been shown to you and modeled for you. But what if that wasn’t the case?
Throughout our foster care journey, kindness is not something that we have seen often nor has it always been returned. Many times, when it is shown, it is often received with speculation. That does not mean, however, that we have to stop giving and using that gift that was so graciously given to us.
Most of the children that come into our homes do not know how to react to true kindness when it is shown to them or modeled in the home. Most of the “kind” things in their young lives that have been done for them or given to them have included some sort of repercussion or expectation. A lot of the time, kindness was just never given to them at all.
The love of Christ that is in us must always overflow with kindness towards them until they see that real genuine kindness costs nothing at all. Being kind can be especially hard when it is not returned or when it is returned with very unkind actions. Many times the children may express their past hurts and newly felt emotions in very unkind ways. Always remember that those unkind actions are not personal attacks and that what the child really needs from us most is a kind, loving response.
Showing kindness to the parents of foster children is just as important. I have had many biological parents ask me, “Why are you being kind to me?” These parents, stuck in their mess, oftentimes do not understand why I would show kindness to them knowing their failures, actions, and overall situations.
Maybe they have even been very unkind towards us…but the question really is, who are we called to be?
Colossians 3:12 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
I cannot help to be reminded every time I see parents in their struggles that Christ saw me in the middle of my mess and ultimately made a beautiful message out of it. Therefore, I cannot help but imagine the message that He could make out of the lives of these children and parents. My role is to show them a glimpse of His love through the same kindness that He constantly shows me. Titus 3:4-5 sums this up when Paul says, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.”
Kindness is no small thing. It is very powerful and can yield amazing fruit in not only our lives but in the lives of all of those with whom we come in contact.