“Don’t you think it’s better if married couples foster and not single people?”

Probably the most common question I get when people find out I’m in the process of getting licensed as a foster parent. I’m very well aware of the stereotypes and I hit a lot of them. I’m a man, I’m 30, I have a full sleeve of tattoos and I have been known to dress to the beat of my own drum. I’m not exactly the poster child for babysitters…

And I agree, it’s better for married couples to foster than for single people. Kids need two parents. But there’s a flaw in this approach. There are roughly 50 million married Christians in America. There are 428,000 kids in the foster system. That means if only .00856% of Christian couples decided to foster we’d no longer have a system.

I’m fostering because not even .00856% of Christians are willing to foster.

That sentence sucks to say and could be the one sentence that prevents the entire world from sharing this article. But there is clearly a gap in the system and I’ve been called to fill it, even if I am a single, tatted, 30-year-old. God can use anyone, can’t he?

So because there’s still hundreds of thousands of kids in the system I’m going to try and help in whatever way I can. I’m very human. I definitely always thought about it like, “One day, when I’m married, I’ll foster.” I wasn’t even thinking about having kids in my home until I said, “I do.” I even had a friend say that’s the way God designed it.

Then I woke up.

It must have been two years ago. I woke up and realized a discrepancy in my logic. God didn’t biblically call me to get married, but He did biblically call me to care for the orphans and the widows. Period.

This is when my view started to shift. God gave me an order. Not because He’s a dictator but because He’s a loving father who knows I’ll find my purpose in life through kids, not money or promotions.

He didn’t say, “Hey, care about kids, but only if it’s convenient and makes sense to culture.” He straight up said care for the orphans. Following God is an adventure and by definition my adventure has lived miles off of the well-beaten path and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m not fostering because I’m going to make a perfect foster parent. I’m not fostering because I’m a “good Christian” or anything like that. I’m going to fail, I’m going to make mistakes, and yes, a married couple would be better, but one thing I’ll never do is fail to try.

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Lairs Johnston

Lairs is the Marketing Director for Save the Storks. Born and raised in Bellingham, Washington, Lairs acclimated easily to the cold weather of Colorado Springs but has yet to be okay with the lack of any form of water. With a fascination for sports and music and a passion for people, snowboarding, and rock climbing, Lairs is a perfect fit for this city! He’s 30 but reads at a 32 year old level. With a desire to foster and adopt, Lairs sees how kids don’t eliminate dreams, they fulfill them.

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  • This is so inspiring Lairs. I have always wanted and felt called to foster but as a single mom I had lost hope of fostering. Now though, I am encouraged and inspired that I don’t need to be married to someone who feels the same as I do to foster. So thank you!

    • Chandra Maple

      I fostered and adopted a medically fragile child as a single mom. You can definitely do it!

  • Amanda Harman

    yes yes yes and amen. I am single and went through foster training too. there is no time to waste, church. this kids need us!!

  • Calyn Stringer

    I love your heart, Lairs. Thanks for sharing your story. I’ve had a couple of single friends ask me about foster care recently, and your story helps reinforce that fact that God doesn’t call the equipped; he equips the chosen. And He has chosen us, the church, to care for orphans. Thanks for stepping up! I know through your encouragement, you will see others step up as well.

  • Judith Cain

    This is great to read. I’m a single female foster carer in the UK. People ask why and the answer is simply James 1:27. Love and joy to you!

  • AH Wilson

    Thank you for sharing! For years I told myself and others that I would foster/adopt when I was married. Now as a 27 year old, still single, I’m finding myself asking why. God has begun to prick my heart to move forward in obedience regardless of where I stand with my marital status. I appreciate reading this as I begin to move forward with however that looks with or without my “requirements.”

  • Samantha Zipp

    Thank you for sharing. I also had a dream of always being a foster mom and always pictured it as a married person. Then God called me to the mission field and I wondered how that dream might go. Here I am as a licensed foster parent, single, and living in the Philippines. I love bringing babies into my home and I feel so strongly about foster care, that God is leading me to spread awareness to the Filipino community and I hope to start a fostering program in my Filipino church. Many kids are in orphanages here, if we could get them into foster homes, what a difference that could make.
    I started in respite care with an orphanage I volunteer at and later moved into fostering. I know two parents are best and I don’t see myself adopting because I do think two parents are important, but I can provide temporary care for a child until a forever family is found.

  • Nadia Stevens

    Thanks for posting this. I started foster care 5 years ago when I was 25, and that was after debating whether it was right for a single parent to adopt or not (compared to a married couple) for years. If you have any questions, let me know, or I’m working on a series of blog posts for beginner foster parents at JustNadie.com

  • Mere

    I’m a single, tatted, 32 year old female, and I’ve been called to do the same. This article is perfect!

    • Jen Muhlbach

      I think you need to exchange numbers 😉

      • Mere

        Haha! Cute! 🙂

  • Ron

    Lairs, you may read at the level of a 32-year-old but your wisdom is beyond your years! Blessings on you and your ministry.

  • Mary Ettner

    I’m a single 28 year old who is in the prayer and preparation process of becoming a foster mom. If im being honest, I’m terrified about doing it as a single person. I LOVE your views on this and find this article so encouraging. Thank you so much for posting. Those of you reading, please lift me up in prayer as I prepare my heart and my home for fostering.

  • Jonas

    You are truly inspiring, man!

  • Sara Jean Parkman

    Oh my word… I don’t even know how to say YES YES YES to this enough. I am also 30 and single and a couple weeks away from being a licensed foster parent. I have said all of these things to people as I prepare to enter into this amazing and scary thing.. Thank you for sharing!