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The Magic Wand and The Big 3 objections to foster care

This article gives some insight into the need to find more foster careers in NI but is appropriate for the majority of the UK. It also seeks to answer how we can meet that need despite the many questions we might have. The article is from the blog Village Faith.

“It’s like we would need a wand to magic up foster carers,” the social worker joked, sat back into her chair and held her mug of tea. My dead eyes and pan face couldn’t even muster a polite smile.

She’s right. With 170 foster carers needed, 44 in Northern Trust ( including Carrick) A magic wand would come in handy.


What if the church did the job of the magic wand. What if instead conjuring up wishes, the church made a commitment. Instead of having to mysteriously make things appear, the church was present and able to offer refuge.

To those unsure of what it actually looks like and to those wrestling with the idea about fostering naturally it can birth questions. There is a wonder that searches deeper unearthing thoughts that need to be asked. Wisdom ensures that we do.

Here are some of the 3 most common responses I have when talking about fostering;

1) I would get too attached

Then wouldn’t that make you a perfect candidate? For most of these children they will have suffered trauma and may have an attachment disorder. They need to eat up all the love you can give. They need to be able to have the opportunity to rebuild their idea of love and realise this is a necessity they are worthy of. The secure walls of a foster home can invite this.

~ “Don’t let the fear of loving a child that may leave deter you, let the fear of a child never knowing love drive you” Jason Johnston ~

I once had a 9 year old who had moved 4 times already. Removed from her parents, whilst her brother and sisters remained. The sense of trauma, worthlessness and heavy sadness was tangible. It can be hard enough to figure out the world at the age of 9. She taught me. She possessed resilience and impeccable survival skills. She had sense of humour, loved pasta and felt most at ease when kicking a ball in the park. There are 3000 more stories like hers. Each varying in complexity, trauma and need of someone safe to attach to.

At times this can be wrapped in challenging behaviour due to the childhood trauma. Whilst it may be tough, deep down there is an inner child making up for love lost. As foster carers, there is a tremendous privilege in building up their strengths and ironing out the creases of the challenges

The painful part is sometimes only being there for a chapter of the story. It’s inconvenient. Our life may not remain in a tight neat box and not be ‘inside the lines.’ To keep it simple James 1 v 27 ” Pure and genuine worship in the sight of God the Father means caring for the orphans ( those without a home) and widows in their distress” This is worship. This is pouring the perfume, this is loving until it hurts.

2) It’s not the right time

I love the T.V show ‘This is Us’ It’s warmth despite carrying and undertone of struggles and sadness. I don’t know what will happen in the show, but I love that it continues to champion the spirit of hospitality.


The character Jack and Rebecca expecting triplets, tragically loose one of their babies. So with two new born’s and suffering the bereavement of one lost, they open their home to another baby who needs it. The Big Three. Some might say not great timing. And whilst this of course is through the lens of Hollywood, it’s not hard to be fiercely gripped as it provokes the reality of child needing a home.

Of course life’s timing is personal and plausible. It is such a commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

However for some, it is a stage curtain waiting to be pulled. If you are waiting for the ‘perfect’ time when your job isn’t as stressful, you’re less busy, you get the bigger home with the garden and grass an inch high, then the curtain will remain down. What if it was ready to be drawn now?

If the stories you hear and the very word ‘fostering’ leaves a thousand tiny pin pricks on your heart with a lingering ache. If in order to cope, you soothe it with excuses.

~Lean into that which causes your heart to hurt~

Naturally there will be questions, doubts and fears. But then you can’t grow without these by your side. Learn to be familiar with them.

3) I don’t think I could

Not everyone will have a child in their home, but there is part for everyone. This can be from making dinners, planning trips to the prayer support or the befriender. All needed roles.

When I started this, I was single, no children and not maternal remotely at all, at all, at all. But I cared. Again and again threaded through the Bible are normal people. All powerful God uses normal people. We are all He has to see His justice and freedom outworked on Earth. Beyond our fears and insecurities, children wait.

This is the beauty of it all. We don’t have to have it figured out or have all the tools in the parenting toolkit. Thank goodness. All He asks is for a willingness to say Yes.

~And in that Yes God walks with us to equip us~

There is a serious need for carers. Ones willing to say YES because they simply can’t stand anymore stories of abuse. Ones who set aside their fear because they realise these children need it. I am sickened for those that might never find this freedom. Those that go from home to home to home. When will we rise up and say ‘Enough is enough, I will stand in the gap, I will be your place of refuge.’ I promise you, there is nothing more rewarding.” Courtnay Philips.

Originally posted on: Village Faith - under the title The Magic Wand and The Big 3; the most common responses to foster care. You can read more here.