This article was contributed by Arkansas Baptist Children & Family Ministries.
When Daniel and Laura Bramlett moved back to Arkansas for Daniel to pastor in Hope, they knew they wanted to begin fostering again. After some time to settle in and adjust as a family, they began the process of opening their home as a foster family with Connected Foster Care, the foster care division of Arkansas Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries.
Their Connected caseworker shared that the Bramlett family saved their “yes” to welcome a child until they received a referral for a child from their own county. This March, they welcomed a little boy into their home, and the wait was worth it because he did not have to be uprooted from his community, daycare, or familiar surroundings. From day one, it has been a family effort. On his first night, he was scared to go to bed and the entire family pitched in to help make him feel safe. Their son read a book to him. Their daughter shared some of her stuffed animals with him. Laura prayed with him, and when he woke up during the night, he asked for his foster dad.
Laura shares, “Almost six weeks ago we accepted a placement after having not fostered for six years. The gap was due to a few moves and getting settled and certified in a new state. Of course, there are many similarities to our previous experience this time around, but there are also quite a few differences. Our kids are older now (10 and 12), and the day after we received our little guy, as I watched them interact with and help him, I was reminded of one reason we foster. This is a ministry our entire family can be a part of. Is it easy? Absolutely not! But sometimes God calls us to the hard to remind us we are nothing without Him. In the moments when I struggle with patience or want things to be “normal,” the Lord gently reminds me that our little one did not choose foster care. He would go back to his family in an instant if that were possible. So, for now, and however long he’s with us, we are called to love and care for him in a way that Jesus would. When we obediently respond, we can see time and time again that His grace truly is sufficient and that His power is absolutely made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9) More of you and less of me, Jesus!”
Daniel is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Hope and Laura is president of Arkansas Women’s Missionary Union (WMU). We are grateful for foster families living out the Gospel to the most vulnerable in our state. Foster care is missional living where your home becomes a perpetual mission field for a child who needs hope.
May is National Foster Care Awareness Month and in Arkansas, there are nearly 5000 children in foster care. While that number is alarming, together we can meet the need. If just 1% of Arkansas Baptists said yes, 100% of the need would be met and every child in foster care in our state would be in an Arkansas Baptist home where they can experience the love of Christ.