Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Follow Me

Written by Stephanie Hixon

In 2011, the Lord spoke clearly to me that I was going to be a Foster Mama.

I was about to turn 40, I had a very busy social life, I was very active in my church, I was single with family living out of town, I lived on a school teacher’s salary – and I had no desire to be a Foster Mama.  Zero, zilch, nada.  So my story isn’t exactly like the one described in Mark 1:16-20, where the first disciples immediately responded to the call of Jesus when He said “follow me”.  Oh no.  I clung tightly to the safety of my net.  It was after a lot of crying, arguing, worrying and questioning that I responded – finally able to release my net and say “Yes Lord!  Send me! 

Once I stepped into obedience, the Lord supernaturally changed my heart.  I began to search the Bible to see His heart for the orphan, and it became crystal clear that every Christian is called (and expected) to care for the orphan.  Every Christian.  Selah.

In May of 2012, I started my 10 week GPS (Group Participation and Selection) foster parent training class, jumped through every single hoop put before me, and got “the call” around noon on October 18, 2012.  Since that day, I have had the honor and privilege of being Mama Steph to two incredible daughters and one amazing son.  Do I still have a lot of crying, arguing, worrying and questioning?  You bet I do.  Are my children worth it?  Absolutely.

There are many ways for God’s people to respond to the fatherless, but I’d like to share some practical ways that the Church can respond specifically to foster care.  Becoming a foster family is obviously one way, but it is not the only way!  The truth is, as a single foster mama, I have not been able to attend a small group or serve at my church in two years.  There are many times when I have to drive through a fast food joint to grab dinner on the go, because this tired mama just can’t think about fixing supper.  Sometimes I have to send my child with a transporter who has a broken car seat, and simply pray that my child arrives to his visit safely.  There are ways you can help.

How can you respond to the call of every Christian?

  • Prepare a meal and take it to a foster family.  Foster families aren’t like your typical family.  We have to juggle life between family visits, court appearances, social worker home visits, and numerous other requirements.  A home-cooked meal is always a need!
  • Attend a training and become a transporter for foster children.  Being a transporter offers numerous ministry opportunities!!  You are able to minister to foster children, foster parents, birth families, and DHR.  The impact you can make as a transporter is immeasurable, and it is a huge need.
  • Become a substitute caregiver for foster families.  Foster families can’t simply call a college student to come babysit their kids for a couple of hours.  Babysitters must meet certain criteria in order to keep foster kids, and every foster family needs someone to call so that they can attend a small group, grab dinner with friends, or simply go to the grocery store alone!
  • Participate in a GPS class in order to become a respite family.  Respite families are able to keep foster children overnight, but they are not full-time foster families.  This is an excellent way to minister to both foster children and foster families!  Respite is a vital part of helping full-time foster families stay refreshed.
  • Mentor and support birth families.  The heart of God is to restore families. Therefore, reunification is always our hope and our goal.  Lifeline is beginning a new “Birth Family Mentoring and Support Training” (, where you have the opportunity to come alongside a birth mother or birth family and provide prayer support, lay counseling, accountability and emotional support as she/they walk through this process.
  • Commit to pray for foster families, foster children, birth families, and DHR social workers.  Seek out a foster family at your church, and commit to wrap around them in prayer and support.  Foster families can feel “unseen” by the church – it is incredibly important for them to feel supported by their church family.
  • Support foster care programs financially.  There are way more foster children than there are Christian foster families.  The Lord is speaking to the hearts of more and more Christians every day, and more and more Christians are stepping into obedience to the call and desiring to become foster parents.  Foster programs, like the foster program at Lifeline Children’s Services (, require financial support in order to meet the demand so that these families can be trained.
  • Support The Forgotten Initiative (  TFI exists to “bring joy and purpose to the foster care community”.  They have many opportunities to serve foster families, foster children and DHR – such as redecorating family visit rooms at DHR, hosting diaper or car seat drives, blessing DHR workers with a luncheon, hosting donations for Christmas gifts or school supplies, and much more!

Pray today and ask the Lord how He would like for you and your family to respond to caring for the orphan.

Stephanie Hixon is a dear friend and a single foster mama. She's an amazing woman and lover of Jesus. She has been a licensed foster mama for nearly 3 years and resides in Birmingham, Alabama.

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