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“a joy that is never void of heartache”

September 6th, 2018 | 1 min read

By Matthew Loftus

This is a painful and necessary post from Jason Johnson about foster care and adoption:

The new reality of our family, having now adopted that little girl that was once a file on top of a stack, is that we live with the forever joy of her calling us mommy and daddy—a joy that is never void of the heartache that maybe, just maybe, all of this in an ideal sense could have been avoided in the first place. The first time we met our baby girl’s mom should not have been in a courtroom chaperoned by lawyers and standing before a judge. Perhaps long before our worlds collided that day our worlds should have collided in a different way on a different day—perhaps in our living room as well, or better yet, in hers. Then, maybe, just maybe something could have been done to prevent that day from ever happening.

Anyway, this is something that I have banged on about quite enough before, but it’s worth revisiting. It is insufficient for Christians to merely react to the suffering in the world and try to heal the wounds that have already been visited upon vulnerable people; we have to work to prevent those wounds from being inflicted in the first place. I will be the first to admit that this dichotomy is not a particularly resilient one, for the work of preventing wounds often involves helping heal the wounds of people who are or have been in the inflicting-wounds business. Furthermore, the work of building and equipping just and good systems or helping wounded people get to the point where they are not actively harming others is tedious, long, and far more difficult than work like foster care that is both necessary in the midst of suffering and already tedious, long, and difficult. But we have to do it.


Matthew Loftus

Matthew Loftus teaches and practices Family Medicine in Baltimore and East Africa. His work has been featured in Christianity Today, Comment, & First Things and he is a regular contributor for Christ and Pop Culture. You can learn more about his work and writing at