When faced with new information or unfamiliar experiences, our brains must either assimilate or accommodate. To assimilate is to fit the new information into an already held set of beliefs and understanding. To accommodate is to adjust our beliefs and understanding to fit the new information. This is a natural process of learning that occurs in big and small ways on a regular basis. An understanding of this concept is significant to teaching a heathy belief system about God, others, and the world at large.
With so much false information in the world, it’s so important to provide children with a good foundation to build upon as they encounter opportunities and make decisions. This foundation becomes their schema, the lens they use to see their experiences and interpret their world. When this foundation is built with grace and truth, it leads to healthy development mentally, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually.
The family is the best place for this foundation to be built. What happens though when the family starts crumbling around us? Who will restore the foundation? Can the church also adjust to this new experience and become the place of grace and truth for children whose families lack this foundation?
This is what foster care is all about. While some children are placed in new forever families through adoption, most children who spend time in foster care go back to live with a biological family member. What experience will they carry back with them? What if they could carry a new lens of grace and truth back with them because of their time with a family that is built on that foundation? What if their foster family was able to introduce their permanent family to this same foundation?
Will our churches take notice of the reality that many children in foster care are growing up without anyone to provide a foundation of grace and truth? This is a solvable problem if we will embrace it together. If all of the children in foster care attended our churches this Sunday, they would make up only one percent of our church. This means if each of our churches could commit to hosting one foster child for every 100 members (1%), we would be caring for 100% of the foster children in Arkansas! This commitment would change the trajectory of families in our state and build a Gospel-centered foundation of grace and truth for the next generation.