Court is hard.
But seriously, it’s hard.
The waiting. The anticipation. The uncertainty. The confusion. The expectations. And so much more.
The whole week before our latest court date, my wife and I struggled to sleep. We were less productive at work and, even though we regularly gave the outcome over to God, the uncertainty just occupied our minds.
But here’s the thing: This year, court got even harder for so many.
At our most recent court date, we were all waiting to be called into the courtroom and our caseworker and I were talking. She brought up the fact that half of her court dates in the larger county in our area have had restrictions on all additional parties other than attorneys and the judge.
So she would write an extensive report, but biological parents, foster parents, and herself weren’t able to even be present for court.
Talk about stress and uncertainty!
Friends, whatever court has looked like for you this year, I just want to remind you that you’re not alone. This year has been a test of faith in so many ways, and this is another unique aspect of how that’s played out.
In light of that, I want to share a few truths I’ve been holding on to:
#1: The outcome is not on your shoulders.
“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” – Colossians 1:16-17
Balancing the brokenness of our world with the sovereignty of God is not easy. But it’s important to remember our role as foster parents: We are here to love on the kids in our care well, be an advocate for the kids’ needs and development, and show the love of Jesus to the foster care community.
Our God is faithful, and He truly is trustworthy.
We can’t control the outcome, but we can entrust it to Him.
#2: It is our responsibility to represent Christ well.
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” – Ephesians 5:1-2
There are frustrations inherent in the foster care system as we navigate brokenness. It’s to be expected.
Those frustrations can easily cause us to react instead of respond.
William J. Toms has said, “Be careful how you live; you will be the only Bible some people ever read.”
Through the disappointments, frustrations, delays, or hurts, let’s be intentional to communicate in love, respect, and hope, representing Someone greater than any situation we’re currently navigating to all of those around us.
#3: Especially with COVID-19, expect delays.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13
Every case is different. Every court system is different. But the pandemic exacerbated delays in a lot of counties, especially as some assigned services became unavailable, extended, or inaccessible because of online-only options.
In many areas, this has put judges in difficult positions to balance delays out of everyone’s control with necessary accountability.
So if you can come into court with delays as a very possible expectation, this will limit frustration and help you keep perspective on the situation affecting the system as a whole.
Court is hard. And to close, I want to share one more Scripture:
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10
Friend, our God is with you. He understands. He sees you. He sees your case. He sees your children. He sees their parents. And He desires to strengthen and uphold you.
You are not alone.
Let’s stay close to our God through the process.
Some additional resources on navigating court:
Austin and his wife, Larisa, are parents through foster care as well as biologically. In addition to supporting The Forgotten Initiative, Austin is the Founder of Austin Savage & Company, a full-service content marketing agency.
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