This is our story-Chapter: Foster Care
We got into foster care for one reason. We want to adopt another child. We have tried without any luck to adopt again through a private agency and many many thousand dollars later and three years later we are still "number 1" on their "waiting list". In spite of the fact we prayed and prayed and sought Biblical counsel on that decision, and truly felt we were doing the right thing to sign on with this agency God has closed that door so far. We got into foster care thinking it would be a faster route to a child. We began all our classes with the intent to be foster/adopt only and only take children that were ready to adopt. As we sat though many many lectures on the needs these children may have that are placed in our home, God worked on us individually. God began, ever so slowly to soften our hearts to the need for foster parents. Although we argued with Him over this (how could we give them back? What will that do to Andrew? How can we love when we know they are leaving?) we knew God was calling us to traditional foster care. Putting our fear aside and trusting God with our hearts we jumped in head first and opened up our house to the foster care system.
Before our paperwork was even processed we got a call about a healthy baby girl 3 weeks old. The situation was amazing . . . her first AND middle name was even within one syllable of the name we have always picked out for a girl. This was the one! We, from the beginning felt like this was God's "reward" for us being patient and being WILLING to jump in head first. Sometimes God calls you to be willing to give up everything, but then gives you the desires of your heart. Remember Abraham and Isaac? God wanted Abraham's total trust but never intended to have him kill Issac! We had given our total trust, and now God was granting us the desire of our hearts. For 11 months we were madly in love with this beautiful little girl.
Through those 11 months though, we experienced a side to foster care we didn't expect to care about. We watched the grief of a mother who lost her child. We watched as every court date passed and each date was grief for one family and rejoicing for another. We saw that foster care has a very difficult side where my rejoicing is another woman's sorrow, her rejoicing meant tears for us. We realized that this wasn't as simple as adopting a child that was willingly given up. This was a chapter of sorrow for another family. What kind of people are we if we rejoice over another person's sorrow? But, how are we supposed to feel?
We began to question God a little. Trying to convince Him that this could not be the ending of a chapter for us. Reminding him of all the ways he had opened doors for Baby K to be with us. One of our friends had even remarked "what a God story you will have to tell about how your daughter came to your family" See God? It's a God story, it's PERFECT . . . people will praise you for years to come on how you orchestrated all of this so perfectly. But, it wasn't a God story. It was my version of my Fairy Tale Ending with God thrown in.
This WAS God's story, but the ending would be HIS ending and not mine. A few days before Christmas Baby K's mom got the one thing she wanted for Christmas and her beautiful little girl came home. While there was much rejoicing in her house and her family . . . we were left trusting God, but full of grief. Baby K wasn't ours to keep. She was ours on loan so that we would learn to draw closer to God. She was a part of our story to show us that in deep sorrow comes deeper love and trust for a heavenly Father that knows all things. She was a part of our story that has resulted in tremendous growth through deep pain.
Less than a month later our home is filled again this time with a sibling pair. Beautiful blue eyed baby boy and a stunning brown eyed spunky girl. We were cautious this time. Holding back the part of ourselves we gave so freely to Baby K. We were met with a lot of grief, tears, and came very close to sending these two to another house because we could not handle it. There were very difficult sicknesses, contagious things we exposed our family and friends to, physical harming of Andrew . . . You see, to love a child is painful. They say things that hurt you, they disobey, they don't make right choices and they sometimes don't want you near them and sometimes it's just down right tiring! Getting two children thrown at you with a couple hours notice is hard, very very hard. The one thing we were missing though was that these children, Little Lady especially, needed ALL of us, not just the physical safety from harm and medical attention. She needed unconditional love-a commitment that we would love her no matter what, and that we cared for her no matter how it might break our hearts in the end. How could we give that again? We were still too raw from last time.
Our little siblings have been here now for 7 months and God has changed Tim and I. We have a new vision for not only these two precious children, but for children in foster care in general. These kids need a family to love them. They need a roof over their heads, three meals a day, and to be clean. More than that though, they need to know a Heavenly Father loves them and cares for them. They may be little to us (even babies in some cases) and won't remember anything about who we are but they can know Love. They can know God's love through us. I can't make a difference in the entire world, but I can make a difference to the one or two or three God brings in my door.
We have a long way to go. We still lose our patience, raise our voice, and act out in anger are not at all Christlike more than I like to admit. We still have moments, and even days of doubt where we wonder if we can do it anymore. With God's help though we will move in the right direction. With His guidance we will take three steps forward for every two we take back. Remind us when we are down that God's not through with us yet. Remind us that He is creating a good work in us and that EVERYTHING he does is perfect and right and for His glory.
Our time with these two little ones may well be coming to a close. In the next few months if all goes according to the timeline in the court they will be adding more and more time with their mother and phasing out of our home. Christmas this year may be a repeat of last year and our time of influence over these two will be over before the start of a new year. Will we sorrow a deep grief like last time . . . absolutely. It's impossible to love deeply without experiencing a deep pain and sorrow when love is lost. It is not a sorrow without hope though. God has been faithful before and will be faithful again and again and again if that is what we are called to do.
So, is this the end or only the beginning of a chapter? Only God knows the answer to that. Even as I type this I can hear the deep breathing of a sleeping baby behind me and I wonder myself how much more I will know of his life. Will I see him walk? Will I hear his first real words? Will he run and play in my yard? Will I ever hear his little voice sing Jesus Loves Me or say I love you? God has them here now, today, for a reason and I will not live in regret or sadness over what is to come. I will love deeply, leave my fear behind, and rejoice for the time I have been given.
If adoption is in our future for G and L or someone else, then we will rejoice that God has granted the desires of our heart. Our story still has pages to be written and we want them to be written in God's handwriting and his plot . . . whatever that may be.
This is our story