By Rosey Moreno-Jones
“Enter His gates with Thanksgiving and his courts with Praise.
Give Thanks to Him – Bless His name.” Psalm 100:4
As we leave the season of fall to head into winter, we also enter into that season of Thanksgiving and Blessings. Beginning with everyone’s favorite fourth Thursday in November, we give thanks for everything we have received from our Lord. Then we head into the month of celebrating the birth of the baby Jesus who was sent to save all. It is a five week period filled with love, blessings, praise and celebration – where everyone gets caught up in the spirit of the season and, as so many say so often – “the reason for the season”.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the homes of foster and adoptive families as they strive to make the season merry and bright for the children in their care. I am always amazed at the lengths our families go to in order to bring some happiness to their children. It does not matter if they have three children in their care or ten; they work hard along with our case managers and child welfare workers to obtain gifts and all the trimmings so no child goes without during the season of Thanksgiving and Blessings.
For families who fill their homes and their hearts with caring for children in Florida’s child welfare system – the holidays can be a time of stress as the number of children removed from the custody of their parents rises during holiday times… The stress of the season can lead to more bouts of substance abuse, domestic violence and mental health issues. Our foster families open their hearts and homes to the children effected, sometimes welcoming them even on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and doing their best to bless the children with all they have to give.
But what our foster families know so well is that often – they are the ones blessed by these precious gifts called children. They have all seen so many times how the child they set out to bless ends up bringing more blessings with them. Oh sometimes those blessings are hard to spot on the surface, but with just a bit of peeling back the layers of hurt, pain and distrust, the true little gem begins to shine through. How many of us have had our entire lives changed simply by saying YES to a placement call? A call that 25 years later still resonates as one of the defining moments in MY life as I glance at a 39-year-old man across the Thanksgiving table. And I look at his lovely wife and his beaming daughters; or read with joy the letters and cards from grandchildren across the country and the daughter who will always be 12 years old to me, though today she is 40… and I count my blessings and praise my God!
For what I and so many other foster and adoptive parents have learned is simply this: “For everything created by God is good – and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude…” 1 Timothy 4: 4 – 5. When we answer, no, to this call – we say, NO, to many things we may never be aware of: the opportunity to change a life and to see ours change as well according to God’s plan. For rarely are our plans His plans – but if we listen – we will find that His plans are all that matter!
So in this season of holiday thanksgiving and blessings, if you are a foster family, please remember that God knows the plans He has for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. And if you are thinking about fostering or adopting, remember He has these plans for you as well. And perhaps while you are blessing others, you will see those blessings come back to you tenfold. Just remember to enter his gates with Thanksgiving and His courts with Praise. Remember to give thanks to Him and Bless His name!
If I can help you on this journey or come and speak at your church, civic group or business organization, please do not hesitate to call me. I am always here for you. Just reach out to me.
Rosey Moreno-Jones (352) 484-7247 firstname.lastname@example.org