We got home tonight, and after putting the boys down, Lauryn mentioned that she wrote something. I’m very excited to share this with our friends and family. I’d encourage you especially to consider the last paragraph. 🙂
From my bride, Lauryn:
Many of you have asked us why we chose to foster. Well, the simple answer is that we really didn’t. To share a short story of how we got to this place, we had always planned to adopt when our hypothetical kids were older, rooted in the Lord and about to start a life of their own. It was kind of our next step in life. My plan was to have my four kids by the time I was 30 (The reason for four: so that they would all have a partner to ride roller coasters with….totally serious). I will be 30 in about a year and a half and so far God has only chosen to give us one beautiful blessing, that we are so grateful for. So fostering was never really on the radar. Even adoption was not “Plan A”; it was more like chapter 2, saved for the distant future.
So, we knew we wanted more kids, but since I hadn’t gotten pregnant again we decided to explore our options as far as adoption– domestic and international. The international route didn’t seem financially possible right now, nor best in our minds while we are still paying off debt, so we decided to explore the world of foster-to-adopt. After submitting our information to a local agency we heard from them about 6 months later, and it wasn’t the most encouraging conversation, to say the least.
My first conversation was with a licensing worker that told us we were “wasting the state’s resources” and “not meeting the needs of our community” by opening our home up only to little kids. So that was pretty discouraging, but I think his heart was good; he was really just trying to encourage us to decide if this was the right route for us, or if we just needed to go adopt a baby (because otherwise we weren’t going to be an effective foster family and it would be a waste of everyone’s time). After that conversation we just decided to learn more about the foster care system and proceeded with our initial training.
During our training class, we would leave every night talking about all the things we had learned and the experiences that were shared. Even though it was a little intimidating, we continued to feel compelled to keep going, and we really attribute that to the Lord’s leading. God tells us that His power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9), and this is a situation where you really are very weak and unable to control most things. Whether it’s the kids and what’s going on inside of them, or the system/state, there are just a lot of variables that you are not in control of. So it is kind of a scary situation in which to put yourself, but we had to decide if we were willing to walk forward in faith or be held back by fear. With God’s Word reminding us that the same God that rose Jesus from the dead lives in us (Romans 8:11) and that we are more than conquerors through him who loved us (Romans 8:37), we felt more than able. Some of the most effective things we will do for God’s Kingdom are the scariest. I think about sharing the Gospel and how I am almost always a little nervous even though I’m confident in its message; our flesh is so very weak!
Through this process we’ve had a lot of families come into our lives that have fostered and they have encouraged us to remember that God has a plan for this process, and while we feel very out of control, He is completely sovereign. He has a child chosen for our home and will give us the grace we need when the moment comes. I love the quote from Kathy Keller that says, “God doesn’t give hypothetical grace for our hypothetical nightmare situation. He only gives us grace for our actual situation.” You can look at somebody else’s situation and think, “I wish I had the strength for that,” or, “I don’t know how they do it.” But in the life of a believer it is God’s sustaining Grace that we are privileged to testify to!
It seemed like a long journey to get here (it really wasn’t), but ultimately it was God who placed this calling on our life in His perfect timing. He’s the one who is going to sustain it and give us the grace to move forward or not. We are by no means foster care experts or even parenting experts in our very limited experience, but we know that because God loves us we can love whomever He puts in our life (1 John 4:19), for however long He wills.
We also know that our hearts will be broken when kids leave. But I hope and pray that we will be able to worship the God of reconciliation if that is what he chooses to do, or thank him for the beginning of new family through adoption. Or maybe it will seem unjust and we will be forced to rely on God as the ultimate Vindicator and Protector. Whatever happens, I hope and pray that we can trust in His sovereignty. So far this process has done nothing but increase my reliance on the Lord and help me to think a lot less about myself, for my good and His glory!