I recently had to place a child. In an effort to avoid moving this child to our large shelter, I scrambled to find a family that could welcome this little one in a matter of days. Getting the list of approved families, I began reading home studies, consulting with the placement committee, and making calls.
I called one – ironically, she said, she had just hung up from a call with her sister who was in labor. She needed to go care for her nieces and nephew. She felt, however, she could be prepared within the few days window. The days progressed, the birth had been complicated, and her sister needed more help. She could not take the child. Another cut me off before I even told them about the child, saying they were remodeling their house and it was torn up. They could not take a child right now. Another said she had just allowed a friend’s young adult daughter to move into a room in the house and the woman had not gone through our background check – we began to figure a fast track to make that happen, but it depended on her roomer quickly coming to our office. She didn’t.
These were all families who had gone through an arduous process to provide adoptive placements to children in foster care. They had gone through classes, intensive interviews, background checks, and reference checks. They had set aside space and bought furniture. They were committed, diligent, motivated, and all had declared their homes available on an emergency basis to take a child in.
The days ticked down. Then the woman with the new roomer called. She asked if it would help if the young roomer moved out until her background check could be completed? Yes. Yes, I said. That would make the difference. Then we could place the child with her. That is what she would do then, she said.
Matthew 8:21 and Luke 9:59, Come, follow me – Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Luke 14:15-20 – the invitation to the supper – I just bought some land and I need to attend to it, I just bought some oxen, I need to prove them, I just married a wife, and I can’t come.
I never understood those scriptures. They seemed harsh and unyielding. The people were coming, they just had to do something first – something really important. The day the woman called, clearing her house for the little one, those scriptures came to mind. So that’s how it is. That is how it is with the Savior sometimes, to do His work, to be His people, to follow him. There is a time when the situation does not allow delay, when the matter is pressing.
I have been thinking since, am I really available? Am I really interested or willing? When the thief comes in the night, I feel pretty good I would be found in the right place – at church, in prayer, reading my scriptures. But if the question is actually, will I respond? Will I clear a house or a schedule or an opinion? That is another question entirely.