Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Hope is an amazing thing.  And, the lack of hope is very depressing.

Recently, I experienced these truths.  In early March, DYFS informed our family they would be removing our four foster children from our home.  There was no rational reason for the removal, but DFYS can do whatever they want.  Foster parents have no rights and no legal recourse to keep foster children.  Hopelessness.

The next day, DYFS instructed us to take our foster daughter to the hospital because they thought she was dehydrated.  At the hospital, two doctors determined she was not dehydrated; rather, she was a healthy three year old.  Nevertheless, DYFS told us that we could not take her home.  She would stay at the hospital for the night and, later, would be placed in a new foster home, that was foreign to her.  When we had to leave, she was crying and asking when we would pick her up.  We could not answer.  All we could do was cry with her.  Hopelessness.

We had lost our foster daughter and knew that, soon, we would lose our three foster sons.  Hopelessness grew and turned into despair.

The next day, we spoke to Law Guardians.  Law Guardians are attorneys appointed by the court to represent the interests of the children.  DYFS had failed to inform the Law Guardians of the removal, even though the removal would effect the children.  The Law Guardians were opposing the removal.  They thought it would be best if the children remained with us.  They requested an emergency hearing to keep the children with us.  Hope blossomed.

Law Guardians rarely, if ever, oppose DYFS and try to keep children with specific foster parents.  But, they undertook this action.  Hope.

With this hope,  my despair, depression, and hopelessness dissipated, replaced by hope and the energy to assist in keeping the children with us.  Over the next few days, I spent hours talking to the Law Guardians and others to keep the children.  I spent hours drafting a court document to communicate our story to the judge.  Energy came from hope.

Bible verses about hope came to my mind.  First, there is hopelessness.  The world around us is full of pain and sorrow.  No one escapes this pain.  Furthermore, the ultimate pain comes upon death because everyone is a sinner doomed to hell.  Hopelessness.  There is nothing we can do to save ourselves.  Hopelessness turns to depression, despair and death.

But, there is hope because Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross for my sins and His righteousness was imputed to me.  Romans 8:24 says, "In this hope, we are saved."  Instead of eternity in hell, we have "hope of eternal life" (Titus 1:2).  While it is difficult to live in this world (the present age), we are "waiting for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13).  When things are bad, we should continue to hope in God.  Psalm 71:14 says, "I will hope continually and praise you . . ."  Psalm 78:7 says, "they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God . . ."

Because of hope provided by God, there is no reason to be hopeless, stuck in despair, or depressed.  Rather, God's hope should energize us to live holy lives and do good works until Jesus returns.

The placement of our foster children is not yet resolved.  The court ordered DYFS to place the girl with some family friends, who she already knew.  In addition, DYFS was ordered to leave the boys with us.  In May, there is to be a trial to determine whether all of the children should stay with us or be removed.  On one hand, there is hopelessness.  The children may be removed and we can do nothing about it.  From a human standpoint, we can do nothing but let the Law Guardians do the work and advocate for the children.  On the other hand, I have hope that God is in control and He, alone, will determine where these precious children will live.

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