The Butterfields: A Foster Family's Journey
Will and Bethany Butterfield are foster parents for Louisiana Baptist Children's Home. They live in Central Louisiana and have two biological children. Shortly after being certified, the Butterfield family welcomed two siblings into their home as foster placements. In the fall of 2013, the children were freed for adoption. The Butterfields are currently in the process of adopting them.
"For He who calls is faithful." (1 Thessalonians 5:24). We knew God was calling us to adopt. What we didn't know was how He was going to accomplish that plan. One week after we began praying over that decision, Beth Green came to speak at our church, The Gathering Place, about orphan care. When she spoke about foster care, we knew God was calling us to foster-to-adopt.
Receiving our first placement was scary and exciting all at once. It's kind of like being thrown in the deep end to learn how to swim. You've only been told what to do, but you've never actually done it. Our biological kids were thrilled, but our foster kids were terrified. With as much as we had read and studied, we were certain we would be able to move forward with only a few hang-ups. But as the weeks progressed, we were caught off guard by how hard it was to parent a traumatized child. Children who have been abused or neglected don't react to the world in the ways we expect a child to react. Even though we were expecting the unexpected, nothing prepared us for parenting in such a hard place. Unfortunately, there are some things you can only learn from the trenches.
Thankfully, we received tons of support from Louisiana Baptist Children's Home. We can honestly say we wouldn't have lasted long in foster care without them. LBCH was available for support and tips when our Department of Child and Family Services worker simply had too much on her plate and couldn't meet with us. Our LBCH worker answered questions and made herself available for every meeting and court date. LBCH also provided vital emotional and spiritual support. Without them, we know we would have given up when times were hard.
God has taught us so much through our experience of foster care and adoption that words couldn't possibly do it justice! He has shown us more about Himself through this experience than we have ever learned from anything else. We have seen for the first time the depth of the darkness that is in this world. But because of that, we have also seen the magnitude of God's power. "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it." (John 1:5). God's love and power will always, always triumph over the darkness. "My grace is sufficient for you, My power made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9). God has used this journey of foster care and adoption to show us how imperfect we truly are. But even greater, He has shown us the sufficiency of His grace to cover our sins and work through our weaknesses. How beautiful it is that in our imperfections, the gospel is so profoundly illustrated!
We have been so blessed to get to walk with God in this journey as He grows our family in such a grace-filled way. Our advice to families considering doing foster care is to pray hard about it before you jump in. Know without a doubt that God is calling you into it. If God says yes, it will likely be the hardest thing you'll ever do for many reasons, but it will also be the most beautiful thing you'll ever do for many more reasons. If God says no, there are many other ways you can be involved in foster care and orphan ministry. We foster families desperately need your support. It is often the small things that are the biggest blessings. Offer to babysit, pick up a few groceries, or just let us know you're thinking of us! Most importantly, pray. Pray without ceasing. Pray for healing over our children, and pray for wisdom and strength in our parenting. Pray that the grace of the gospel is made known to the biological families and to all those touched by foster care and adoption.