February 26, 2018
Author: Kelly Zarle – Foster Parent with A Door of Hope
People say ‘I’ve always wanted to foster but I just couldn’t do it, I couldn’t get that attached.’
Really? You can’t? Because I think if you can love at all if you can attach to anyone in your life – you can foster.
Broken down in its simplest form isn’t fostering just representative of the human experience to vulnerably love someone? Shouldn’t that really be our goal for all of our relationships?
Think about it.
Stripped down, isn’t it how most of your greatest relationships started? How your best friends, children, spouses came into your life?
Someone unexpectedly comes into your life, they have their past, you have yours, you both are flawed, seemingly ‘hard to love’ human beings at times. You learn to work together, along with all of the outside forces in your lives that affect your relationship. You work desperately not to give up on one another, you build a relationship based on each person loving the other to the best of their ability for as little or as long as you have together, both never guaranteed tomorrow.
At some point it will be over, you will say goodbye. It’s inevitable, at some point in your life you will let go of everyone you have ever known. Yet while you have one another you strive each day not to let that fear stop you from loving them NOW. You will, of course, be heartbroken with every goodbye but you will go on, each bettered because of the lessons learned and the time you spent together. This is precisely foster care. This is exactly every relationship.
So I ask you, is it really that different than any other relationship you’ve had? Is it that complicated after all? Or are you just trying to avoid loss wherever you can because life is hard? It’s understandable, it really is, but love and loss go hand in hand. You can’t avoid one without denying yourself the other.
I get it. To love is to be vulnerable. The vulnerability is scary hard, but in this day and age what isn’t?
Can you imagine this very scary world of unavoidable grief without your core ‘people’ to support you? Now, on top of that, imagine being a child in it. Then if that wasn’t enough, imagine someone telling you, that scared lonely child, “no I am sorry I can’t take you in when you need me most; I can’t love you, simply put – because I’m afraid to lose you.” That’s what we are saying when we say “I’d get too attached.” We are saying “I fear loss, so I am also choosing to forego love no matter the cost.” When put like that, does it sound different to you? Can you see how a child knowing a loving home far outweighs any risk we may take in loving them?
My prayer for everyone that has foster care on their heart is that they wouldn’t let the fear of loss paralyze them, but the hope of love drives them. It’s not that I think everyone should foster but I know way too many people that want to do it, would be great at it but think they can’t. I want everyone to know they can!
Think about it, is it that you really “can’t” or is it that you are afraid? Because if fear is what’s stopping you I can promise you the kids are worth conquering that fear. Everything truly worthwhile always is. The same way all your loved ones currently in your life have been worth it this whole time and always will be to you.
Love is always worth it. Living out the Gospel will never let you down, saying you can’t always will.
Author: Kelly Zarle
About the Author: I am Kelly, the wife of Aaron and mother to three of the loudest, quirkiest, sweetest little bundles of chaos ever to exist! They all are the center of my world! Orbiting around them are my amazing friends, loving family, and my crazy mutts! They are all my world and this is my take on it. I write for myself because I find that writing about my life helps keep it all in perspective and provides me a sense of gravity but I also love to over-share and so that’s how this blog was born! See more here: http://realmamanodrama.blogspot.com/
December 17, 2015
Can we truly prevent our most vulnerable children from being trafficked?
The answer is a resounding yes!
Body of Christ, we must spread this message throughout our community. We hear almost daily in the news about children being rescued. We hear about sting operations. We even hear about how ‘bad’ Florida is when it comes to human trafficking. But not only can the trafficking of our children be prevented…I believe the body of Christ is the solution! (more…)
December 13, 2015
There is something about a baby, a newborn baby, needing a foster home that deeply impacts me.
All abuse, regardless of age, is horrific and should make our stomachs churn. But sometimes, I wonder why a baby being cast aside or broken by those that should love them the most impacts me on the deepest level imaginable. Is it because I remember when my son and daughter were born? That I can clearly recall how small and vulnerable they were? Or is it because I think about our savior Jesus Christ’s birth? How, from the beginning of His life, many hated and conspired to kill him even as a baby?
December 10, 2015
With 2015 quickly coming to a close, our entire team here at A Door Of Hope would like to thank you for your support and prayers this past year. What a year it has been! We’ve seen growth in every area of our ministry: our church partners, our licensed foster homes, our prayer partners, the children we’re serving, and the much-needed staff to license and support more Christian foster homes! The momentum is tangible as we are literally pursuing the goal for every child in crisis throughout Tampa Bay to have a home.
So would you join us in prayer around a few specific numbers?
October 28, 2015
Last night I was sitting at a red light listening to the new Steven Curtis Chapman song ‘Amen.’ I was overwhelmed by our Lord’s love as I prayed for a two-month-old little girl that had just been placed in one of our homes. I was in awe of how the Lord was using the ‘A’ family foster home as an example of the gospel… an example of His love. You see, this little girl came into their home physically and emotionally broken–by sin NOT of her own doing. Yet the ‘A’ family simply said “yes” and accepted her into their family. (more…)
October 05, 2015
Eight-year-old Sebastian entered the Cooper’s home with bright eyes and a head full of lice. The last ten hours had been a whirlwind. All he knew was that he was in a stranger’s house with a mom, a dad, and another young boy named George.
The first night consisted of an awkward dinner and figuring out where Sebastian was going to sleep. Luckily, their two dogs helped him feel more at home and he enjoyed their dog kisses. Later that night, Sebastian’s curiosity led him to explore his new home. The cross and picture hanging above George’s bed caught his eye. Sebastian turned to his foster mom and said, “I’ve seen that death symbol before, I know it’s important.”
September 28, 2015
We know a wonderful 8th grade teacher who loves to talk about her experience as a foster mom. So after telling her new class about her role, she was delighted when one student shared that she’d been in foster care. Below, the teacher writes what came next:
“My student shared with me how her parents adopted her when she was 2 and that she’d been their foster child. Instantly I had a connection with this girl.
Soon we did an activity in class where the kids had to write one negative stereotype people have said that hurt them. This girl wrote, ‘My family doesn’t love me.’ (more…)
September 21, 2015
Abuse. Neglect. Abandonment.
When children are removed from their homes for reasons like these, child protective investigators must conduct an in-depth investigation. Why? Because we want to know as much about that child as possible in order to match them with the best foster home available. One of the many questions children are asked is what they dislike. That way, if a child is deathly terrified of dogs for instance, we’d be sure not to place them in a foster home that breeds dogs!
Recently, a young girl just under 10 years old was asked what she disliked. She simply answered, “Scary movies. Vampires. Skunks. Smelly dogs.”
Oftentimes people assume foster children are different. But the truth is that at the end of the day, they’re just like all other children…and they are just like OUR children. These are children who, by no fault of their own, have been taken away from their parents because of their parents’ decisions.
6-8 children are removed from their homes throughout Tampa Bay every day. These are children with unique gifts, special talents, and simple fears like “scary movies, vampires, skunks, and smelly dogs.” Our hope and prayer is that these children will be seen for who they truly are: just kids. And our desire is to place them in a Christian foster home where they will–many times for the first time–experience safety and unconditional Christ-like love.
August 31, 2015
During the past year, we have seen amazing favor from the Lord.
Last July, 4KIDS of Tampa and 4KIDS of West Central Florida merged and became 4KIDS Tampa Bay. This merger allowed the ministry to license Christian foster homes throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco County, as one authentically Christian organization.
As a ministry, we were convicted to glorify God by pursuing the goal for every child in crisis to have a home. This conviction led us to evaluate our ministry, including our name and branding. After much prayer and consideration, we have decided to create an entirely new website and brand to more effectively share the mission and vision of our ministry here in Tampa Bay.
We continue to share a love for our brothers and sisters in Christ serving within 4KIDS of South Florida. Our partnership and being co-laborers in this area of ministry has not changed. Effective immediately, however, we are excited to announce that we have become A Door Of Hope!
John 10:9 says, “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved…” We believe that the message of Christ is the ultimate Door of Hope. And so, our desire is to share with children in foster care systems that there is hope. As we continue to recruit, train, license, and support Christian foster homes, we will make it our priority to give these children a door of hope.
July 20, 2015
I have seen children cry countless times. Many times as a parent to our now 8-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, but also in my previous profession of being a Police Officer and Detective.
The night of July 9, 2015, was different though. She was weeping, not crying, not having a temper tantrum, but actual gut wrenching weeping.
Our foster daughters, who have been with us for just over a year now had just come back from a visit with their mom. The visit had taken place at their mom’s apartment, the apartment that has a bedroom all set for them to go to if a court approves.
Our 4 year-old-foster daughter was confused. Before leaving the apartment she asked her mom if she could get her pajamas from “Dan and Teri’s house” and come back to sleep in her bed.
If she has a bed, why not sleep in it? If she has a mom, why not live with her? If she can be there for two hours, why not stay the night? These were questions I know her little brain was struggling to answer as she laid in bed that night back in our home.
What was my response to her weeping? I knelt down, wrapped my arms around her and held her while she wept, tears filling my eyes.
While holding her I prayed. I prayed for Christ to heal her heart, prayed for her to KNOW she was loved by a perfect Father, a Father that would never leave her.
In John 10:9, Jesus tells us that He is the door and that if anyone enters by Him they will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
This truth is why we are A Door Of Hope. We humbly understand that the Lord is using His church and Christian foster homes to share the unconditional love of Christ with children in crisis.
Thank you for supporting the work of this ministry.