Mom Giggling Child

by Christie Erwin

November is National Adoption Month and the second Sunday in November is Orphan Sunday. On one hand, I love this month because it is a time to celebrate all of the families that have been brought together through the miracle of adoption. On the other hand, my heart is weighed down by all of the foster children in my state who are still hoping, still dreaming, still waiting on a forever family.

After 16 years of foster parenting, there are a few important things I have learned about the children that have come in and out of our home from the foster care system. I have learned that they have entered this foster care journey through no fault of their own, and they don’t deserve to be stigmatized for the indiscretions and inadequacies of their parents. They are special. They are unique. They are each one of a kind with special talents, gifts, and potential. All of those things may be untapped and underdeveloped, but they are there nonetheless.

They deserve a voice. Not a quiet, meek, timid, and reserved voice, but a resounding and reverberating cry for justice, for unconditional love, and the right to live in safety and peace. Granted, that voice may not be their own, but they deserve to have someone embrace their cause and make sure it is heard.

Children in the foster care system deserve to be valued, to know that value, and have it instilled in them. They deserve to internalize the truth that they are worth fighting for.

Foster children deserve to be known in a deep, non-condemning, unconditionally loving way. They deserve to be number one in someone’s life. They deserve to be loved with everything I have as a parent: the sold out, no-holds-barred love, without the presumption of receiving something in return, without condition, regardless of their behavior, attitude or actions.

Foster children deserve to be protected. They deserve to be children, not little adults who have to shoulder the responsibilities of a household of younger siblings or of the moral indiscretions of others. Foster children need to be hugged, kissed, nurtured, taught, played with, sung to, tucked in at night, and brought before the Father.

Orphan Sunday is a plea, an entreaty for families who will step out in faith and embrace a child in need. It is not about finding perfect families. It is about finding loving, nurturing, compassionate, and willing families. Families that reach out with the hands of God and end up getting much more than they give. Children are waiting. They need you. There may be no one else. There may be no other time.

{Editor’s note: Christie Erwin and her husband, Jeff, have been foster parents for over 16 years. Christie is the co-chairman of the Pulaski County Adoption Coalition and the coordinator of the Pulaski County Heart Gallery in Pulaski County, Arkansas. In addition, the Erwin’s are founding members of The C.A.L.L. (Children of Arkansas Loved for a Lifetime). Christie is a 2009 Congressional Coalition on Adoption “Angel in Adoption” award winner. Her book, The Middle Mom is a passionate portrayal of her family’s journey through foster care and adoption as well as a challenge to others to get involved in the lives of children in need.  This post ran on MomLife Today originally in 2009, to learn the very latest on Christie Erwin, Arkansas Mother of the Year 2016 and her ministry, Project Zero, listen to this podcast and check out the beautiful photos of her family!}

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