“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)
Nobody likes heartaches, right? Very early in life the world tells us to seek for happy endings, to choose what makes us feel good and to avoid uncomfortable situations.
If you follow these guidelines you will probably be satisfied with any Disney movie but you would definitely need to adjust your expectations to become a foster parent, a role that Christen Sakales has played for almost 4 years.
For this mom and her family, the number one goal is to help children be reunified with their families, even if it means putting themselves in a sad place where they mourn the separations from children that they grow to love.
“Foster Care is a picture of the Gospel, it means it’s all about reconciliation. Just like Jesus reconciled us with our Father through His sacrifice on the cross, we have to sacrifice ourselves to try and bring these families together again” says Christen.
Many people would steer clear from Foster Care because of the pain of loving the children then seeing them go. Ask around and you will get answers like “I couldn’t do this” or “I am not emotionally prepared”.
It is understandable that some fear the outcome of a temporary placement. Those, however, could be missing out on a whole lot of joy that only comes with doing God’s will.
Christen’s greatest joys include seeing her first long term placement be adopted by her neighbor: “He came to me when he was one. He couldn’t talk or even eat. He had to undergo five different therapies. Now, at the age of five, he is a completely healthy child my neighbors would’ve never met had he not come to our house. Seeing him go was tough but I literally felt God’s hand on my shoulders guiding everything.”
She also remembers when an emergency placement made a decision for Jesus over Easter weekend. She remembers when she was able to help a little girl who was very anxious and homesick being placed with her baby sister after Christen advocated for her.
Another sweet moment was when her second long-term placement started reciting Bible verses after hearing them repeatedly at bed time.
“She was our baby for almost three years and is not in a Christian home now but we believe that the seeds were planted. Hearing her sing those Bible verses filled our hearts with hope. She was the hardest loss we had. After that, I told myself I wouldn’t foster for a while”.
Well… Little 8 month-old, foster baby girl who is currently under the Sakales care is glad that God always has the last say in it all. A prayer lifted by the biological mom was answered and baby “A” was placed in a Christian, loving home.
The little foster baby requires special attention since she needs to be fed through a tube. The birth mom has been around and is thankful for all that the Sakales have done to keep the baby safe and loved.
Christen and her family continue to work on their “Ministry of Reconciliation” while striving to make a difference in the lives of those involved in this case.
We don’t know what the future holds for the Sakales but we know that all the sacrifices they’ve made and will make in benefit to “the least of these” will be rewarded by the One who “sets the lonely in families” (Psalm 68:6). To Him be the glory!
Christen Sakales has been an Idlewild Member since 1997. She is married to Mike and is a mom for Lamaya (16) and Javoni (9) both adopted when they were little kids. She is a licensed mental health professional, a medical foster mom, a Guardian ad Litem and also a part of the S.W.A.T team, a ministry who cares for hospitalized newborn foster babies.
Click HERE to know how you can support the Sakales and other foster families in our church and community.