Love Like a Child

How the relentless compassion of biological children transformed their parents’ view of foster care.

Love moved Brent and Lynn to open their home to children from hard places, but concern for their own biological children caused them to question the decision. Fostering brought challenging behaviors, difficult decisions and heart-wrenching goodbyes to their household. But it was the unwavering compassion it instilled in their children that transformed the parents’ good intentions into a family-driven mission.  

Several children came and left Brent and Lynn’s home over the following months. Each new placement brought both joys and challenges, but each time the parents presented a new opportunity to foster, their biological children took up the charge. “We want to help kids who need us.”

Then, a pair of young brothers sent the family into a tailspin. There was no calm, no honeymoon period when they arrived. The boys were angry and hurting, and they made their feelings known.

From the start the boys began sneaking into their new siblings’ rooms and breaking their possessions. The older one of the boys aimed his frustration at the youngest resident brother, 9-year-old Skylar. Fearful of the impact the placement was having their own children, the parents approached Skylar after a particularly hard day and asked him, “Is this too hard?” Skylar recognized the option they were giving him. But he shook his head.

“I told you I wanted a little brother and I still do. I love them and I don’t want them going anywhere,” he told them.

Skylar’s older brother, Dillon, whose room had been ransacked more than once, agreed.

“Those were only objects; they’re people. They’re kids. They’re more important,” Dillon said.

Brent and Lynn were amazed at their biological children’s ability to see past the difficulties into the heart of what they were doing. Their family had the chance to show love to kids who needed it, to give them a better life than they’d known before. And they wanted to keep going.

After one giggle-filled rough-housing session with his little brother, Skylar admitted he often forgets that he and the kids from foster care aren’t biologically related.

“Our kids have probably brought us through the hardest times. Their innocence allows them to see fostering as just what we’re supposed to do, what needs to happen,” Brent said.

Perhaps one of the most evident examples of this has come from the family’s youngest biological child, 8-year-old Brensyn. Because her family has fostered since she was a toddler, this life is all she’s ever known. And as she’s embraced it, God has used her to achieve the impossible.

When a 7-month-old baby girl joined the family through foster care, doctors warned Brent and Lynn that the child likely wouldn’t live to see her first birthday, let alone ever walk or talk. Still the family committed to doing all they could, Brensyn included. And as the baby grew, surpassing expectation after expectation, little Brensyn walked every step with her, attending her little sister’s therapies and working through exercises with her at home. And it was Brensyn who stood by and encouraged the little girl’s first steps.

Now five years old, that same little girl not only walks and talks, but sings and dances. She’s even preparing to start kindergarten with her peers next year. And Lynn and Brent credit much of her incredible progress to the unwavering care shown by her big sister, Brensyn.

Seeing the steadfast love their biological children pour into each placement, Brent and Lynn once worried too about the pain their family would endure when it was time to say goodbye. Now, after participating in the restoration of three different families, that fear has turned to joy.  

"It was exhilarating to see the progress they can make when someone is cheering them on. We have changed the whole way that we view family. We are a community. We do things together,” Lynn said.

Foster care put Brent and Lynn in the perfect position to witness to the salvation of three different biological families who came to know Christ as they worked toward reunification. Through the hardships the family has endured together, the parents have also watched God cultivate an uncontained, unconditional love for others in their three biological children.

That, Lynn said, is how she knows this is what God wants them to do. She and her husband now see their call to foster as an invitation to be part of not only the kids’ stories but part of the redemption He has for their families as well.

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