On Mission Magazine
By Paul Wynn
Early in their marriage, John and Angela King felt God’s urging to open their home to children, but the way it happened wasn’t what they expected.
“We originally thought we would adopt,” says Angela. “We thought that would be an international adoption because that was what we had been around and seen.” Over time, though, the Kings saw God close doors to international adoption. But then God opened doors to foster parenting.
For Angela, the unknown was challenging.
“We had never really seen many people doing foster care, so it was scary,” she says.
As they began to explore foster parenting, the Kings came to Hope Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. That’s where they discovered Fostering Hope, a ministry of the church whose mission was to support and encourage Christian families involved in foster care.
“When we came to Hope Church, there was a clear vision,” says John. “God just really connected our passion for children to His heart to care for the forgotten.”
So two years ago, the Kings became certified foster parents.
“When we moved here and were around other families doing foster care, we thought, ‘Okay, maybe that is something we can handle,’” says Angela of the process to overcome their fears.
Bringing hope to families
The Kings already had three biological children, ages 4 to 9, so they agreed they would start by fostering one baby girl. But within a week of taking that first placement, God called them to take her 3-year-old brother as well.
That pair of siblings has now been placed in the Kings’ home on three separate occasions. Over that time, they have developed a close, loving relationship with the children’s birth mother.
“We were initially afraid of what a relationship with the birth family would look like,” says John. “But Angela has built trust where there was distrust, and we’ve been able to speak God’s truth and love into their lives, too.”
Every night, John and Angela read a story from a children’s Bible to the 3-year-old. When he went for an overnight visit with his mother, he asked to take the Bible, so Angela packed it in his bag.
“His mom told me he brought it to her and said, ‘it’s bedtime; I need a Bible story.’ It’s a ritual they have continued to do together.”
Fostering Hope has been a key resource for the Kings all along the way. When a newborn baby was placed with them, Fostering Hope brought meals for the first two weeks, so they wouldn’t have to worry about cooking while adjusting to their new version of normal.
The ministry also provides diapers and clothes, and they have an online and in-person community where foster parents can find recommendations on doctors and therapists for children or even just ask for advice on parenting through specific behavioral challenges they are facing.
The ministry has extended far beyond the Hope Church congregation as well. Families from 15 Las Vegas-area churches are engaged in the vital, ongoing ministry.
“Sometimes, it feels really lonely as a foster parent,” says John. “Being around other families on the same journey is a huge encouragement.”
Hope beyond church
Hope Church has seen the impact the ministry can have with the social workers in the foster care system as well.
“We’ve seen people from the Department of Family Services come and visit our church because they just want to know what the difference is. Why are there people from this church who are just flooding into our system to take care of kids they don’t even know? We get to share with them that it’s all about the gospel,” says John.
“Foster care is a huge opportunity for us to do what James 1:27 tells us to do, ‘care for widows and orphans in their distress,’” John adds. “We, as Jesus’ followers, have the privilege of being His hands and feet to these children.”
Paul Wynn is a freelance writer and producer.
Learn more about the ministry of Fostering Hope on the Stories of Hope podcast, and get practical advice for fostering and adoption on the Adopting and Fostering Home podcast at SendRelief.org/Podcast.
Learn how your church can help children in foster care at SendRelief.org/Adoption-Foster-Care.