It is with great privilege and honor we share with you the story of Bret & Lisa Williams in our BRAVE STORY SERIES. We love their story and believe it may resonate with you if you’re trying to “come around the idea of foster care.” Loving a child from hard places is scary and sacrificial, but so courageous. Fear tells you to stay comfortable while faith tells you to be brave and do the right thing, even when it’s hard.
By Bret Williams
My journey into the world of foster care, and child welfare, in general, began with my wife. One hour into a five-hour road trip, realizing she had a captive audience, she began to plead her case.
A well-planned defense strategy began to emerge from my soft spoken, loving wife. After sharply and succinctly listing all of the major life changing decisions that I had initiated and ultimately made, she declared that it was now her turn. I quickly objected but was instantaneously overruled. She explained how the Lord had been breaking her heart for children who found themselves without a loving, stable family. She was willing to open up our home, sacrificing our comfort and stability, for one of these little ones. Finding myself unprepared for the debate, I asked for a continuation and was granted a reprieve. The remaining three hours of our trip was, at best, awkward.
It was not until a few months later, when I was asked to give a lecture on the reality and tragedy of human sex trafficking, that God began to slice through the hardness of my heart.
The Truth Found Me
In preparing for my talk, my research repeatedly led me back to the staggering connection between our child welfare system and the sex trafficking industry. Around 60% of all victims of domestic sex trafficking have spent some period of time in the child welfare system. Predatory pimps and traffickers know exactly where our vulnerable children end up.
They hang out at the end of the road, where parents and family have failed them, where our government system has failed them, and yes, where the church has failed them.
A porn addicted culture that fuels a multi-billion-dollar sex trafficking industry has found a seemingly endless supply of fresh meat to abuse and throw away, our children. You see, boys grow too big and learn to defend themselves; girls get too old, disease ridden, and worn out. The basic theory of supply and demand requires a constant resupply of inventory. There is no better system at turning out hopeless, unloved children, who seek some sort of attention, purpose, and stability, than our child welfare system.
Unfortunately, these helpless children are perfectly poised to be forced into prostitution and exploited through pornography. I am not here to bag on CPS or our court system. They are given the “lemons” of all family situations and told to make “lemonade” without being supplied the water that dilutes the bitterness or the sugar to bring sweetness. When we look at the state of our current system it leaves a sour taste in our mouths for sure.
On the day of my lecture, God broke my heart.
In a room full of people, I was preaching to myself, and in tears the majority of the time. I went home and shared my freshly tenderized heart with my wife, and we quickly signed up to attend training to become “foster to adopt” certified through an independent, Christian agency called 4Kids (www.4kidsofstx.org).
The First Steps Into Foster Care
On our first evening of training, I entered the room of 12-15 people, mostly couples. Naturally, I began to introduce myself to the other men in the room, quickly realizing that the Lord had first moved in the “mother’s heart” of their wives, and that they had, like myself, eventually been convicted, or otherwise, “come around to the idea.” I was in a room full of Deborahs and a room full of Baraks (Judges 4). Deborah, a prophetess and judge of Israel, clear in the direction that the Lord was giving her, and confident that He would go before her and the entire nation of Israel, was certain of the victory. And Barak, a fearful, hesitant commander, who would only go into battle if Deborah went with him, who finally conceded and reluctantly pressed forward.
In that room it became clear to me that God has not abandoned his children. He has a plan for these children.
Right now, it seems to be an army of Deborahs, strong women of faith, who are the leading voice in the church’s response to the tragedy of our children being cast aside and dropped into the hands of crooked and depraved men. Praise God for these women! They are making a gender appropriate response to a universal need. They say, “these children need parents, I will be their mother.”
Time to rise up.
The God you sing praises to, He is the Father of the fatherless, the protector of widows (Psalm 68). As you follow Him, and He molds your heart to His, your physical response must reflect this love. These children need parents; you can be their father. For many of these children, a father is someone who abused them, their siblings, or their mother. To them, a father is someone who abandons his children for the lusts and pride of this life. Does God have a plan for these children? Yes!
You. You can show them what a good father looks like.
And ultimately, you can point them to their Good Good Father.
I am not telling you that you are called to adopt, that is not my place. I am telling you that you are called to “loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke (Isa 58).” I will let you and the Holy Spirit decide what to do with that passage.
Thankfully, there are so many ways other than fostering or adoption to get involved in the lives of these neglected and forgotten children . From respite care, to becoming a CASA volunteer, to mentoring, you can find a way to share Christ-like love with a foster child. My encouragement is for you to seek the Lord on this matter, he will surely guide you in righteousness.
One of the best ways that you can advocate for these children is to stop fueling the industry that fuels the sex trafficking industry. Porn has no place in your walk, no place in your faith, no place in your life. You see, the reason most men don’t speak out against pornography is because they are at best, occasional, closet users, and at worst, in the slavery of porn addiction.
Become an advocate, speaking out against pornography and its direct connection to sex trafficking, then, love the orphan.
It is my prayer to see Deborahs continue to rise up and answer the call, and it is the cry of my heart that men cast off the spirit of Barak and become a generation of Joshuas, men who are strong and very courageous, ready to take the land from the enemy.
Joshuas, who will lead their families, teaching them to carefully obey everything that the Lord commands them.
Joshuas, ready to see fortified walls crumble, knowing that the victory is ultimately theirs through Christ.
Joshuas, who lead their families into the deep waters of foster care and adoption (Joshua 1).
” Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the Lord; exult before him! Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.”
Bret is a pastor and speaker who is passionate about teaching students and families how to live out their Kingdom purpose through a life of obedience to Jesus Christ. He desires to see families who live as citizens of heaven, who look markedly set apart from this world, but actively engaged in this world spreading the love of Christ to a broken and hurting world. He is married to his wife Lisa, has two wonderful daughters, and is actively pursuing a child through foster to adopt certification.