All Of Life Interview: Lauren Belcher

February 9, 2017  |  Andie Szyman

What is your name?

Lauren Belcher

belcher

How would you describe your work?

I am a licensing worker with Arms of Love Foster Care and we are a ministry of Arizona Baptist Children’s Services. We license believing foster homes to share Christ’s love with broken and hurting children and families. We work with foster and adoptive families who want to care for children in state custody. There are a great deal of children in foster care in Northern Arizona who are in need of homes. I work for a faith based agency who contracts with the state to provide all of the required training and will walk through the licensing process with families, but we look at everything through a ministry lens and will train families in that way.

As an image-bearer of God, how does your work reflect some aspect of God’s work?

James 1:27 calls us to care for orphans and widows and I believe that is a call to all believers, but looks differently for each person. For some it is to become a foster parent, for others it might be to pray for or support foster parents in their church or community through volunteering with an agency. There are many different ways that people can get involved with foster care and I can help people get connected with where they feel that God is calling them. As a foster parent you will have children that are in state custody in your home. You will be feeding, comforting and loving a child unconditionally and this gives them a picture of who Christ is. There is so much eternal impact in foster care that we may not even see. This is a calling that my husband and I have felt be put on our life and we have fostered and adopted our son, Nyko, and we are currently getting extra training to be therapeutic foster parents.

How does your work give you a unique vantage point into the brokenness of the world?

The children and their families that are involved in the foster care system are very broken. As a foster parent, you have a unique opportunity to minister, pray for and show Christ’s love to the biological parents of the children and see restoration within a family. If reunification with the biological parents is not possible then you have the opportunity to adopt the children in your home and provide them with a safe, loving and permanent home. As a foster parent, your mission field is not only the biological family of the child, but there are many other that work with the children including DCS workers, therapists and attorneys that you can pray for and represent Christ to.

Jesus commands us to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” How does your work function as an opportunity to love and serve others?

I see working with foster children and their families as being the hands and feet of Jesus. Just a couple of weeks ago I was visiting one of my families who is fostering a teenage girl. I expected this to be an easy, quick home visit and when I got there the girl was so upset about being away from her biological family. After talking with her, I had her call her mom because I thought it would help calm her down. The mom ended up wanting to talk to me and shared about how grateful she was to the foster mom, because she is loving and caring for her daughters so well. I facilitated a really beautiful conversation between the foster mom, bio mom and teenage girl, where the mom expressed her gratitude to the foster mom and gave her daughter permission to settle into the home. We prayed with the mom and girl and the relationship with them has continued to grow. I can’t imagine how hard it woul be as a parent, to see your child being cared for by someone else and this foster mom showed the bio mom so much love, grace and respect. As a foster parent you will work with children and their families who have not had their needs met and have issues with trusting others. Through loving them and introducing them to a God that will love them unconditionally, never let them down and always meet their needs you are serving them in a way that no one ever has before.