By Suzanne Woods Fisher
As I was researching the foster care system for a book called Stitches in Time, I came across all kinds of troubling statistics. Some you’d expect: In recent years, a surge of children in the foster care system that state officials attribute to the opioid crisis in our country. The average age of a child in foster care is eight years old, and nearly 40% of children spend one to three years in the system.
Then there were some statistics shocked me, like 60% of child sex trafficking victims were once in foster care. And 30-60% of all foster families drop out after the first year.
But there’s good news, too. From interviews with social workers, I learned that for every negative news story, they had two positives ones. Those just didn’t make the news.
Here’s one that will bring a smile to you: Years ago, a pastor of a little church in Texas posed one bold question to his congregation: “Who will stand with me to defend, care, and support abused, abandon, and neglected children in our community?”
One woman rose to her feet and said, “I will.” Then another said yes, and another, and another. As a result, their county has more than enough licensed foster families to meet the need.
I took that basic story and fictionalized it into Stitches in Time. Luke Schrock, a reformed juvenile delinquent and now deacon of the little Amish church of Stoney Ridge in Pennsylvania, challenged his church to empty out the foster care system in Lancaster County. Some said yes, some said no. Of those who said yes, some had easy to live with foster children; others didn’t. But those committed families, willing to be foster families, did what they could, and they made quite a difference. There was one couple, in particular, whose life would never be the same…but I’ll let you find out how that story ends.
Learning about the foster care system is one of the reasons I love to write. It expanded my view of God. This is His heartbeat—caring for widows and orphans or, in modern terms, for broken families. There’s a
tremendous opportunity for Christians to make an impact and change the outcome of children in need—through fostering, or providing relief care to foster families, through intercessory prayer, financial support, or by finding a role as an advocate, such as CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate).
As I researched, studied, and interviewed social workers, foster families and my CASA-trained friends, they motivated me to do more than write about it. I want to get involved in some way. Stay tuned on that. Someday I’ll let you know how my story ends, too.How does a writer find stories? Pop over to ACFW blog as @SuzanneWoodsFisher shares the inspiration behind Stitches in Time. #ACFWBlogs #writetip #writing Click To Tweet
Carol award winner Suzanne Woods Fisher writes stories that give you something to think about long after you’ve finished reading. With over one million copies of her books sold worldwide, Suzanne is the best-selling author of more than thirty books. She lives with her very big family in northern California. You can find Suzanne on her website, Facebook and Twitter.