Did you know that May is National Foster Care Awareness Month? To help raise awareness of this community that we love so dearly, things are looking a little different this month on the podcast. Every week this month, we are highlighting stories from each perspective of the foster care community—agency workers, foster parents, vulnerable adults, and children—because every member of the foster care community matters and has a story to tell.
In this episode, I am joined by Kristen Lucero, a former foster child who is now a licensed foster parent. By the time she was adopted at age 5, she had already lived in three different homes. Although Kristen remembers feeling grateful to be adopted, she found herself struggling with abandonment, self-worth, belonging, and identity until she was 22 years old. Today, Kristen shares with us the importance of recognizing that God is expressing His love for us through the people He has placed in our lives and the importance for parents to hold fast to their calling even when a child makes it difficult.
TAKEAWAYS FROM TODAY’S CONVERSATION:
1. Be committed to holding fast to your calling.
Caring for a child can be difficult; your children may reject your love, nurturing, and care. Regardless of if the children are biologically yours, in your home through foster care, or if you are their parents through adoption, you need to be ready to hold fast to your calling as a parent, regardless of how they treat you in the moment. As we heard through Kristen’s story, there was a time when she fully rejected her adoptive mom’s love for her. It is through her mom’s perseverance and calling that they have a great relationship today. And it was through her mom’s consistent display of love that Kristen was able to see God’s love through her mom’s actions.
“It’s so beautiful just continuing to press on, often with no reciprocation, just solely rooted in the truth that this is the placement the Lord has given me.”
2. You are worthy of love, regardless of the state of your family.
Feeling unworthy, “less than,” or like you don’t belong is something we have heard many children express is a struggle after experiencing foster care or adoption. Today, Kristen shared her own struggle with self-worth and accepting love. As she got older, she was able to see how God was faithfully pursuing her through the love of the people that were in her life. Every person that showed her love and care was just a reflection of the love that God has for her. Whatever your story, you are so loved and your life matters deeply!
“Even though your mama wasn’t able to take care of you, you are still loved, regardless of if you ended up getting adopted or not, or if your mom was able to stay around or if she wasn’t. You are still loved, not only by her, but by God first and foremost.”
3. We are called to steward relationships, not control outcomes.
It can be easy to slip into trying to take a “savior” role as a foster parent or even in everyday relationships. We begin to feel like the success or failure of another person’s life depends on us. The reality is that the children and individuals that enter into our lives don’t belong to us. We have been called, not to possess people or the outcomes of their life, but to steward the relationship we have with them. That means recognizing that God is the one who is their Savior and Protector. It is our job to remain close to Him, asking how we can better steward the relationship or support them.
“This person belongs to you, Lord. What do they need? Show me what they need. Tell me how I can open my ears and eyes to them and how I can steward their heart.”
Meet Our Guest
Kristen Lucero is a Resident Assistant House Parent and a licensed foster mom with Direction 61:3, an organization that provides a network of support to older foster and aged-out youth as they become vibrantly independent young adults. Kristen is also a former foster child. She was put into foster care around the age of two and was adopted at five years old after living in three different homes. After struggling with issues of abandonment, self-worth, belonging, and identity, the Lord captured her heart at the age of 22. Kristen lives in Texas and is currently caring for three beautiful, young ladies who have aged out of care.
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