"Religion that our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this; to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27

The Iles Family:
 Answering God's Call to Foster Children In Need

Clint and Amanda Iles have served as foster parents for 3½ years. They have three biological children: Jack, age 7, Sydney, age 4 and Ellen, age 6 months.  The Iles attend Calvary Baptist Church, Woodworth Campus in Woodworth, Louisiana.  When asked about what led the couple to become foster parents, Amanda stated "Nothing very specifically led us to foster care...the Lord just placed a burden on our hearts for orphans, and after looking into the various options for service, foster care was the right fit!"

 Amanda shares her first foster care experience:

"Kaden's Story" story by Amanda Iles

One of the most common questions we are asked as foster parents is "How do you parent a child for months and then just give them back? Isn't that so hard?"          

My answer is "It's not about me. It's not about my heartache, my attachment. It's not even about that child. It's all about God's redemptive work in the lives of families. It's all about His kingdom and His purposes."

Allow me to tell you about Kaden.       

Our first foster care placement was a six-month-old boy named Kaden. He had been placed into foster care at birth, but we were his third home. At first, Kaden had no emotions or attachment towards us. For the first three months, he didn't seem to care if we were even in the room. It was a very difficult time as we cared for this baby, along with our biological children who were 9 months old and 3 years old at the time. Day in and day out, we fixed bottles, rocked babies, went to work, and cleaned high chairs.

During those months of exhaustion, we clung to the verses 2 Corinthians 4:16-18: "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

And, sure enough, Kaden started to bond to us. By the time he was a year old, we were "mama" and "daddy" and he meshed into our family. We were in love with this active, precious boy.

And then it was time to give him back.

I was able to build a relationship with Kaden's mother. As Kaden transitioned home, I spent a lot of time with her and we truly became friends. As hard as it was to see Kaden go, I was so thrilled that this little family could be reunited. The weekend before Kaden went home permanently, I was able to share the gospel with his mother. We sat on the floor of her apartment, ate Chick-Fil-A and talked about Jesus. It is one of the sweetest moments of my life. She didn't accept Christ that day, but at least I knew that I was faithful to share about His grace and mercy.

When I packed Kaden's bags for the last time, I packed a Bible for his mother with a note that just said "Start with Matthew and go from there." I knew that if she only read the first bit of the New Testament, at least she would read about Jesus.

I didn't hear from her for a couple of months. Then she sent me a text that said, "I've been reading my Bible. Psalm 27 and Isaiah 54 are my favorites." I knew she had been reading much more than the first book of the New Testament.

Every two or three months, I would hear from Kaden's mother. She would send a picture text, or a note to say that everything was going well.  Until one Sunday night, I was watching TV and I got a text that just said, "I joined a church about a month ago, and I was baptized this morning. Kaden will be dedicated April 29th."

  All of those sleepless nights, dirty diapers, and scoops of formula absolutely pale in comparison to the joy of knowing that Kaden's mother had accepted Christ. Kaden will be raised in church, and will hopefully come to know Jesus as His own Savior.

God didn't need us in order to save Kaden's mother, but I'm so thrilled that He allowed us to be a part of Kaden's story. Being a foster parent is so hard, but so worth it!!


 
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