We believe there are three core values that are important for Safe Families to live out. Radical hospitality is the idea we love strangers by opening our lives and by inviting them into our homes to live and fellowship with us. By caring for children in our homes and supporting parents, we can prevent child abuse and the need for foster care. We have seen reductions in the number of children entering foster care because of our efforts. We call it radical hospitality because the idea of caring for a vulnerable child without being paid or adopting them, is quite unusual and sets us apart from others.
The second core value, disruptive generosity is complex. We know that generosity means the sharing of one’s possessions (our home, our car, our funds, etc.) with those in need. Nevertheless, the Bible clearly teaches that God is the only true owner of everything. We are not the owners. We are just stewards or custodians of God’s good earth to share it with others as He leads. God wants all humans to have enough. Those who have more than they need should share with those who do not have enough (Luke 3:11). We know that when we live a generous life, it inspires others to look beyond what they need, to what they can freely give to others without expectations.
The ancient writer Tertullian (200 AD) once said, “It is our care for the helpless, our practice of lovingkindness, that brands us in the eyes of many of our opponents.”
Lonely but not Alone
Kim came to the US from China to begin her post-graduate studies at the university. After two years, when her father became ill and was no longer able to send money for her education costs, Kim make the painful decision to drop out of school. She moved to Chicago and began working as a cashier.
She was feeling lonely and became involved with the first boyfriend she had and became pregnant. She broke up with him when he pressured her to end her pregnancy. Eight and a half months pregnant, she was experiencing shame regarding her behavior and anxiety over how she could ever build a secure life for herself and her child. She had no one to turn to. She went to an adoption agency to adopt her child but the agency referred her to Safe Families because of her reluctance and doubt.
When Kim came to Safe Families for help, the staff explained that a volunteer family would care for her child while she got on her feet and secured housing. Kim wept with relief. Not long after this meeting, Kim delivered a baby boy, who went to stay with the Safe Family volunteers. She was overwhelmed by the generosity of the Host Family to open their hearts and home to love her and her new baby. Kim named the baby after the Safe Family host father, and she requested that they become his godparents. The relationship continued with Kim long after the baby returned to her care.
So many times, parents just need space to step back, evaluate their life and think about the future. Lives can be profoundly changed by living out generosity as stewards of God’s goodness and lovingkindness to us. Happy Thanksgiving from Safe Families for Children.
Dr. Dave Anderson, Founder of SFFC