They came for him yesterday

The social worker came for him yesterday.

She stepped inside our door, and our child ran crying into the kitchen.

He cried and clung to Will, his two-year-old tears saying, “Don’t let them take me away!”

Will picked him up, held him close, then buckled him in the car seat, and they took him away.

I was helpless to do anything but remember the heaviness of my baby’s head on my shoulder at night, the clutch of his chubby fists on my arm, the sound of little feet running to meet me.

The feet will always haunt me. Will brought my child to see me one day at work. I spied him from far down the hall and called his name. At the sound of my voice, my round-faced boy gave a little jump of joy and ran down that long hall to meet me, arms outstretched. He ran right into my heart.

People say I’m too busy and overworked to do foster care. My own children have needs, and our house is too small. Some of my gifts are lying dormant, growing rusty with disuse. All these things are true. People are so wise and knowing (though perhaps not all-knowing). But their wisdom does not acknowledge how I feel.

I have gone through this heartbreak too many times. Only twice in three months, but losing children is always an immeasurable loss.

And so I bend my head and wipe my tears, remembering my chubby baby boy, knowing that my pain is nothing compared to his as he is shuffled from home to home. I remember him, and the thousands of other homeless children who are victims of broken families and broken foster systems. I cry even more as I think of all the happy Christian families in their warm, excluding circles.

I’m supposed to be celebrating the New Year with glory and dreams and heartwarming sentiments. I know the joy and dreams will come, but right now I am heartbroken, asking myself: where is God?

And where is the church?



23 thoughts on “They came for him yesterday

  1. Maria

    I hear you, Rosina, and He does too.

    One day when I was grieving the loss of yet another child, the Father told me, “I lost My Son too.”

    He’s grieving with you.


  2. Lois overholt

    One thing I consoled myself with is, that if this child had never come into our home there may not have been anyone else to pray for them. So sorry as I know the pain.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. M’Lou

    My heart aches for you and Will!💔 What can the church do? How have we failed you? We didn’t know…….
    Too often we are caught up in our own trials. May 2019 find us all being more thoughtful, kinder and sensitive to the needs of others! I love you!❤️ May God bless you in the New Year!


  4. M’Lou

    My heart aches for you and Will!💔 What can the church do? How have we failed you? We didn’t know…….
    Too often we are caught up in our own trials. May 2019 find us all being more thoughtful, kinder and sensitive to the needs of others! I love you!❤️ May God bless you in the New Year!


    1. I was not referring to a specific congregation. You all have been very kind! I was speaking of a longing for the worldwide church to be more involved in orphan care.

      We love you, too! ❤


  5. Jean Zook

    I’m so sorry. I know your pain. During the process of one such loss, I wept & wailed…then told God that I wanted to care for the little ones, if He wanted me to. But I told Him (between my sobs) that He has to protect my heart, cuz I can’t handle the pain of it all. And He did. The hurt was there, but it was amazingly manageable. And the sting was minimal. PTL!!
    I am so tired of the comments people “shame” us with. (innocent comments). And sometimes I’m scared. We only get one shot at life. Will we regret our choices? It’s brutally hard at times. What if the people are right? What if we don’t reach around to our grand-babies? What if our dreams never happen? What if…what if?? The questions flit through my mind accusingly.
    But there are those who so beautifully minister life to my fainting heart. There are those who bless us & affirm us in the path we believe God chose for us. And I look at my messy corners, and my buried hopes & dreams…& I measure it against the incredible joy that awaits us in glory…bringing our treasures along with us. And I wipe my tears & put one foot in front of the other, & focus on “the joy that is set before us.” “If God be for us, who can stand against us?!”
    The little people need us, & we need them. We weren’t called to be perfect. But we were “chosen” by the One who is Perfection Incarnate.
    As an encouragement….we are seeing an increasing number of Christians doing foster care/adoptions in our area. It’s exciting! Be faithful….& pray that God would raise up more people to join you in your area. And keep carrying His light & truth to those little ones. I pray God would come & carry your pain, & heal your hearts. (you & yours…& the little guy too) ((Hugs))


    1. Thank you so much! I believe God is working to open people’s hearts and minds to the possibility of foster care and adoption. Taking care of these needy little ones is very hard sometimes, but as you said, joy awaits.


  6. Jewell Schaefer

    I have seen someone who was in your position. She was our son’s foster mother. We wanted a child so badly, but were unable to birth a live child. We met the foster parents and got to know the 16 month old. We ate supper together and then I helped bathe him and put him to bed. The next morning we returned to pick him up and keep him for the weekend. Oh, what joy I felt when I picked him up and held him. We had a wonderful day and night together. Then, Sunday morning, we had to go back to the foster family’s farm and sign the adoption papers. Everyone was crying, The foster mother first, then my son and myself and I’m sure our husbands wanted to. We left crying, we rode in silence and I thought about the foster mother and how our son was so blessed to be in an Old Order Mennonite home where he got love and Christian training from a mother and father who loved him very much. I thank the wonderful foster parents who want to love and take care of children who need a home. I thank my son’s foster parents for the love and care they gave our son. I thank you for the love and care you gave your foster son. People like you are needed very much.


  7. Hi Rosina, my heart is breaking for you! It makes me think of Alfred Tennyson “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” And I don’t know if it is better or not! I cannot fathom how it would feel to have a child taken and I’m very sorry for your pain. I don’t even know if there is anything that could be said. I can say that this life is full of pain and heartache, but you have blessed your child with a loving mom and care for a time. That will not be forgotten by him or by God. God is very clear that we are to bless the widows and orphans and you are doing exactly what he asks. Thank you for all you are doing for the children!


  8. Glenda

    Thank you so much for daring to love this little one. I didn’t get to meet my little girl’s foster family but we see evidence daily of the love she was given before she was ours. “Making a difference in the life of one child” has new and real meaning for us! Hugs!!


    1. I determined from the start that I would let myself love these children, even if it broke my heart. I’m so glad to hear of times when love made an obvious difference.


  9. Browsing

    I’m sorry you have experienced so much pain. The measure of your agony is a measure of your love and concern for the situation. I’m going to share some things with you that I hope will help you if you ever return to that agony.

    I grew up in an abusive home, and it was not Mennonite. (I’m not a Mennonite, but have been visiting a Menno church, and I found your blog when someone mentioned the book by Joy Hart you reviewed.)

    You ask where God is, but he hasn’t moved. His character and his location never change. He is love, and he is omnipresent. One day he WILL remove his bride from the earth, along with his
    Holy Spirit, and the time of suffering like never before will commence because of the removal of the salt and light of the earth, and revelation of the anti-christ. But that time isn’t here yet. Those of us who belong to Jesus are living sacrifices, temples of the Holy Spirit, and we might not be able to see it, but we shine like stars in the universe.

    You’re right to grieve and be angry about the injustice of the situation and the system. In our anger, we have to be careful not to sin and do what Job did, and blame God. It was Satan who asked to decimate Job’s life, it was Satan who asked to decimate Job’s health, and it was Satan who influenced Job’s wife and his three friends to exasperate him with their endless false accusations. Only his fourth friend Elihu got it right, and was not reprimanded by God. Elihu saw that Job wasn’t afflicted because he had sinned, but that in his agony he was justifying himself at God’s expense. God then makes a personal appearance to underscore that truth, and Job humbles himself and apologizes (repents).

    When we’re faced with agonizing situations in which God is allowing evil, we need to remember who it is who is asking for the decimation. Job experienced things that seemed random to outside observers, but were attributed to the hand of God. Job didn’t get to see that it was Satan behind the requests, and Satan who afflicted him. Because God is the one in ultimate authority, God confronts Job’s attitude toward him, and expects repentance for blaming God in things he didn’t understand. When we’re faced with children who are suffering as a result of other’s sin, the dynamics are different to Job’s suffering, but the authority of God allowing it remains, as does the evil one’s delight in the affliction.

    God’s authority in what he does and does not allow as a result of our sin leaves us stupefied, because unspeakable horror is often what is allowed. We cannot fathom that God would say “ok” to any amount of child abuse, etc., but we’re faced with the reality of free will and Satan’s existence on a daily basis. For people working in any capacity with the foster system, evil is a palpable fact, not a philosophical hypothesis. PTS (and secondary PTS) as a result of the horror is all too possible.

    If we’re going to thrive, not just survive, in this fallen world, we have to remember why God sent his sinless, adorable Son to take on human flesh and live among us. He knew we’d abuse him and murder him. During Christmas time, we sometimes sing and remember Jesus was “born to die” as we consider a wise man’s gift of fragrant materials used in burial, but we don’t always appreciate that God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son, not God so loved the world that he killed his only Son. It was the world’s desire, along with Satan’s desire, to take this innocent son who was sent and torture him to death. One of many wonders besides the resurrection is that God used our desire to corner Jesus into an inescapable death as the opportunity for him to be our redeeming sacrifice. We’re shown very clearly who is in charge — Jesus allows himself to be arrested when he could have left them all on their faces. Instead, they pick themselves up off the ground and arrest him anyway. He does not cry out at the torture and mock trials, and he chooses the moment to die on the cross. He does not let his body choose. We see the truth in Isaiah 53:10. It was God’s will that Jesus be a sin-offering for us. He is the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

    This can make all the difference as we encounter horror. God wants to stop the cycle of abuse, and he sent his son in the midst of it to do so. This is to be our measure of how much God cares. When you receive a foster child into your home, YOU ARE MAKING A HUGE IMPACT ON THEIR LIVES. Even if it’s only for 24 hours. You only sometimes see the trauma of their leaving and your horror at what they’re possibly returning to, but you’re not able to see the difference your person and prayers made (and are continuing to make if you keep praying.)

    I can remember almost every act of love and kindness I received from strangers as a child, because they stood in stark contrast to the abuse at home. I am grateful for them, and anyone who says I should have never experienced any kindness because going back to the abuse was too incongruous is speaking for the enemy. God’s will is for people to stop abusing children. But if you have ANY opportunity to minister to the abused, be grateful you’ve been given the opportunity. Those children will eventually see Jesus in you–that you are part of his body. Don’t blame God for allowing people to choose not to listen to him and abuse. Believe that He cares even more than you do, and that he will guide you as you pray for the situations.

    When we encounter evil and its effects, we should not think that’s the time to yell at God to get off his indifferent duff. We should remember why Jesus allowed himself to suffer, and ask God how we can cooperate with his will in the situation in prayer. When we learn things that are more than our humanity can bear, we should grieve appropriately and ask God to take the burden and bring healing to our minds and spirits. Horror and PTS are real, and so is their cure — the everlasting arms. We might spend our entire lives there, waiting for healing that’s not going to be complete until after our deaths, but that’s the best place to be — in the everlasting arms.

    Abide in him. Apart from him, you can do nothing.


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