Our Journey To Foster Care

 

Back in May, during my quiet time one morning the Lord kept pressing foster care into my heart over and over. This is not the first time this has happened.

When Chris and I first got married we had already started the process to become foster parents but when I became pregnant with Rhett and was crippled by severe nausea and exhaustion, we stopped.

Children who are without love, protection, or a safe place ALWAYS weigh on my heart…especially since having my own. Feeling the movement and kicks in my belly and giving life to a precious human being created a permanent soft spot in my heart. Abortion keeps me awake at night, orphans make me catch my breath and swallow hard.

I am a doer. This is what Jesus commands of us as Christians.

“But prove yourselves doer of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:23, 25

Because abortion weighs on me, I am a counselor at my local crisis pregnancy center to be there for women in their moments of fear. I don’t want to just say “Oh that’s so sad that there are so many children in foster care.” And never actually DO something about it. But at the same time, I have a 4, 3, and 2 year old at home and at that time we lived in 1,490 square foot home. I felt like I had legitimate excuses for not now.

That is, until the Lord told me that day back in May, “Stop making excuses and just do what I ask you to do.” *gulp* Well alrighty then.

So I googled foster care agencies in Columbus and called two of them.

One never returned my call, and the other called me back almost immediately.

Enter Hope Foster care. This faith based agency was brand new to our city. They had been in Macon, GA for awhile and decided to open a branch here in Columbus. I can’t remember the exact timing but I feel like it had only been up and running for a month or two before we called.

We went to an orientation meeting to have all of our questions answered and at the bottom of a sheet of paper they handed us at the end of the meeting it said “If you are ready to move forward and go through our 10 week training, sign here.” Wait….make a decision now? I figured we’d go home and talk in depth about it and analyze everything to death on why this probably wouldn’t work right now, etc etc etc.

I looked at Chris and he looked at me…and we both signed it.

We went through the training, and it was 3 hours once a week for 10 weeks. There were supposed to be three groups going through it, us, another lady, and another couple. But by week three it was just Chris and I.

We absolutely loved our trainer, Alyssa, and we had a blast with her. She brought us snacks and candy each week to help us make it through the training and even tacos several times (I think those were a peace offering for the nights we had to go over sexual abuse and neglect cases haha). We learned soooo much in those weeks. Practical things and some very heart heavy things about what these kids go through.

We were always reminded that if at any point we didn’t feel like this was a good fit, we could walk away, no hard feelings. That helped take the pressure off a ton, because honestly the more we learned the more I felt “I DON’T KNOW IF I’M THE RIGHT PERSON FOR THIS.”

In the middle of our training, we bought our current house and moved and that was SUPER fun for Alyssa to have to do two home studies (still sorry about that girl haha). So our certification took a couple of months longer due to that and due to the fact that I’m forgetful and slow when it comes to paperwork.

But we had prayed that the Lord would bring us a bigger home for a while. We wanted more space for ourselves, but mainly to have guests more often and to have room for foster kids. It was an answer to prayer, just weird timing.

So right before we moved into the new house, we got a huge curve ball thrown at us. My Krav Maga instructor approached me about becoming a business partner with him and another guy. I had wanted to become an instructor for awhile now and I would be in charge of the women’s program and teaching other women to defend themselves really appealed to me.

But there was NO way we could do this and foster.

We spent a week asking the Lord what He would have us do. And He opened doors and gave us peace about buying into the Krav Maga school. So in my mind foster care was something we would do later. Our tentative plans were to try it around February or March on 2019, so not terribly far off, but would give us the time we needed for me to settle into my new role at work. I still had some last minute paperwork to wrap up before we were certified anyways.

Then about two weeks ago I get a call from Alyssa.

“I have some exciting news! Your home is now officially open and in the time I was waiting for you to call me, DFCS has already called with a two year old boy. Talk to Chris and y’all decide if you want more info or if you want to pass on this placement.”

I think my text to Chris went something like this “GKUHIFHWRRGKJEBFTJWHWRKFJWK CALL ME.” haha

We prayed and asked the Lord for direction and honestly I felt a lot of conviction because I think in the stress of me starting this new job, I just made my own decision about the timing of foster care out of logic. And the Lord just made what He wanted to happen happen in HIS timing in HIS way.

We were terrified and said yes, having no clue what we were in for. We had very few details about the little boy who was about to enter our lives for an unknown amount of time.

But when the Lord says “Yes” so do we.

God Is Sovereign, Even On The Hard Days

God is sovereign, Even on the hard days

Life as of late has been very…full.

I will be 35 weeks pregnant with our little girl this week, and as each day brings her arrival closer, I am filled with anticipation. Both good and serious. Knowing that I will soon (Lord willing) get to see the face of the child I’ve been carrying for 8 months makes me giddy with excitement. Will she have a head full of dark hair like I imagine? Will she at last be my chunky newborn, with squishy rolls of kissableness?

I cannot wait to hold her in my arms and soak in all of her uniqueness. I am also nervous to be welcoming our third child in less than three years. Come April, I will have a 2 year old, a one year old, and a newborn.

I would be lying if I said I was not overwhelmed.

God is sovereign even on the hard days

I feel like I have barely had time to wrap my mind around the fact that I have two children, and now another little one will soon be here. I struggle to comprehend the logistics of how having three children under the age of 2 will even work. Eli is crawling, but cant feed himself and due to his prematurity (read more about his story here) is still more like a 8-9 month old than a one year old.

Feeding time around here is already so chaotic that Chris and I call it “crazy hour.” He knows when he calls at 11 am, a crazy woman will likely answer the phone.

Questions like “How am I going to do this?” and “Am I going to end up in the looney bin?” cross my mind on a daily basis. My heart feels a swirling mixture of joy and sheer panic on a daily basis. I told Chris, “I’m not in the mood for another challenge. I feel like I’m barely passing on the last challenge.” I’m not on my A-game and I feel inadequate for what’s about to happen in our life.

But yesterday at church, I was really convicted by something Pastor Ken said. He was teaching on the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem before His crucifixion and it was the part of the story where Jesus tells His disciples to go and get the donkey colt (Mark 11:1-8). The disciples obey and when they were questioned by those standing near the donkey, they told them what Jesus had said and they let the disciples take the donkey colt. It was a display of His sovereignty.

Pastor Ken said, “Jesus orchestrated everything. He wasn’t just a victim to all that was about to happen to Him. He was sovereign over it. He had complete control over each and every detail.” He then asked what about our lives? Do we trust that God is truly sovereign over the things in our lives? The big and the small?

And I was like “OH SNAP.”

I think because Chris and I have chosen to trust the Lord with the size of our family that I feel a personal responsibility for our choices. Like I am the one to blame, so when it gets hard, I can’t really admit it’s hard or people will automatically roll their eyes and say “But you’re the crazy people who breed like rabbits.”

But if I am looking at my life rightly, it is God in His sovereignty who has given us each and every child. He knew I would miscarry my first baby, and in the tragedy bring our little Rhett who could not have been born without that loss. In His sovereignty He knew that Eli would be born 10 weeks early and that I would be pregnant again only 4 short months after that. If Eli had not been born early, Miss Elliot would not be about to be born. Her life would not have been possible. None of it just happened.

So I have to ask myself, “Do I really believe He is sovereign?”

God is sovereign even on the hard days

Yes, I do. And because of that I know He will be with me on the hard days of adjusting to three little ones. He will help me through the sleepless nights, late-night feedings, and “crazy hours.” He will give me immeasurable grace to faithfully discipline my two year old who loves to push the boundaries, to have eyes in the back of my head to keep an eye on my now TWO mobile children who seem to love electrical sockets. He will teach me how to be a mother when I still feel like a child myself.

So I encourage you today, whether you are a man or a woman, a mother to a brood of little ones or a single college student, your life is not an accident. Not only the timing of your birth, but also each and every circumstance that has come across your path–even the really hard and not so fun things. Even the things that feel so big and out of control that you aren’t sure you can handle them. Even the really good things that overwhelm you in the best possible sense.

God hasn’t forgotten us. Nothing “slips through the cracks.” Only God can cause both wonderful and tragic things to bring good to His children (Rom. 8:28), and He causes rivers to spring forth from the desert (Is. 43:19). He’s in the business of doing the impossible. And I’m on His team.

What are some things the Lord is “stretching” you with?

God is sovereign even on the hard days