Thursday, May 22, 2014

What fostering has taught me, entry 2

I learned that my birth children will always come before any foster or adopted children.  Too many people try to mold their foster-adopted families into, into  . . . well normalcy and they flounder.

Let me clarify before going on . . . my children from my wife's previous marriage are way more mine than a foster child.  My wife's children have a real connection to my wife, since she birthed them, and that connection is absent with foster-adopt.

When I realized that my first God given responsibility is to my birth children (which includes my wife's birth children) and that my heart would never respond in the same deep way as it does to my children, I felt dirty. I had this idyllic vision of a Brady bunch sort of family and that my heart would overflow with love towards these orphans.  I really thought that I would feel love for my foster-adopt children in the same way I feel love towards my children.  My foster-adopt children can never occupy the same place in my heart as my birth children.  Do you remember in  Genesis 22:2 that Isaac is called Abraham's only son?  I am curious if maybe Isaac is called Abraham's only only son since he was born to Abraham's first wife.  Abraham already had Ishmael by Hagar, his second wife, but Isaac is called his only son.  Dwell on that point, maybe there is something there.

Talk to any adopted person and they will tell you there is a loss of oneness, or bond, with the adoptive family that was meant for their biological family; something will always be missing for them. Always. I had to realize that no matter what I do I may  never "feel" the same feelings of love towards my foster-adopt children, or even "feel" love towards them.  Sounds awful doesn't it?  But the very nature of love is doing, not feeling.  It is a mistake to think we must feel love to give it.  Love is about doing, not feeling.  Tim Keller in his book "The Meaning of Marriage" suggests that actions of love will lead to feelings of love.  Many people think the opposite; that they cannot do actions of love without feelings of love. If that is true then the actions of love you perform are self-serving, for they do nothing more than stroke your own feelings.  If you cannot do actions of love without the motivator being your feelings of love then your actions of love are mercenary. In other words you act ONLY for the reward YOU get, like a soldier who fights, not for the cause, but for the money.

As I meditate on this topic I am reminded that God is eternally happy in Himself and that He needs nothing from anyone to be more happy or more complete.  God is Yahweh, the Self Existent One and He gains nothing He doesn't already have by loving sinners like us.  He doesn't love us to "get paid" He loves us because He is good and He is love.

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