“5,000 kids in Pulaski County don’t have a permanent place to call home.”

 

I was shocked. Sitting in my pew that Sunday morning, I tried to picture that many people— 5,000 kids waiting for a family, waiting for God to do something. Foster care and adoption had never been on my family’s radar until that day. Slowly but surely, we believe God started whispering into our lives.

I am proud to say that Central Church of Christ is a church who embraces the idea found in James 1:27 of taking care of widows and orphans (the least of these) when they can’t do it themselves. I have watched from afar many families at Central take in children who are not their own and treat them as a family member through the foster care system. I have seen families adopt children and give them a permanent, loving home to call their own. And for the people who feel they can’t do that, they find ways to give back to the system or serve those foster and adoptive families in creative ways.

About a year ago, my wife and I felt God asking us to build his kingdom by joining the already thriving network of foster care families at Central. After many months, we officially became certified and received our first placement— a 7-month-old girl.

Through this process we have learned much about working in the kingdom. We quickly found out that building God’s kingdom will, in fact, change your own way of life. We don’t have nearly as much free time as we used to and we find our own resources being poured into a child who doesn’t belong to us. Working in the kingdom isn’t always fun. In fact, it’s hard, hard work. But it’s rewarding.

When you grow God’s kingdom, you usually have to sacrifice something of value to yourself so that you can give something of value to someone else. This is so clearly evident in the lives of foster families. And it’s a hard thing to do— but you push on because you know it’s good.

We find ourselves being swept up in the narrative of God more and more everyday. Are we perfect? Far from it. Have we arrived? Absolutely not. But we are growing. When you make an intentional decision to grow God’s kingdom, often you find yourself growing as well.

Psalm 68 says, “God in His holy house is a father to those who have no father. And He keeps the women safe whose husbands have died. God makes a home for those who are alone.” (NLV)

He is a father to the fatherless and he surrounds people who are truly lonely. This is the heart of God. As my wife and I continue to love kids in the foster care system and welcome them into our home, we do so with the expectation that we are aligning our hearts right next to God’s and, in the process, our hearts will eventually look more and more like his.

We want his kingdom on earth to be just like it is in heaven. For us, that starts by joining a movement of people who are loving and embracing 5,000 kids in Pulaski County.

Corey Stumne

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