I think it's safe to say foster care chose us.
I wanted nothing to do with it. I wanted as close to a normal family as possible and foster care was not going to offer me that desire.
I didn't want troubled kids.
I didn't want to get too attached.
Do you see a theme?
It was all about me. My desire for a family was centered ALL around me and what I wanted. I was telling people I was seeking God's desire for our family, but really, I was forcing my own desires.
Unbeknownst to me, God started putting the call for foster care on my heart once I was diagnosed as infertile. We thought about IVF, but God happily slammed shut all the doors leading down that road. And so, because I was NOT going to do foster care, we thought God was leading us to adopt domestically.
We jumped on that bandwagon and got super excited about bringing home a little baby girl.
But the more we dug into the adoption, the more unsettled I became. I wasn't sure this was really where God wanted us. I wasn't sure this was really what I wanted. Also, I was a little perturbed by the lack of enthusiasm some of our family and close friends showed at this path. I was saddened by the seeming lack of support and excitement shown to us by our church leaders. And I saw that as a sign. I sensed their unease. I knew I needed to start listening.
After a year of fruitlessly pursuing adoption, we took some time off. We still made public efforts to appear like we were actively pursuing the adoption still, but we just weren't in it anymore. We needed a break from the constant striving and we needed time to think and pray.
One said public effort was to get our pictures taken for our adoption portfolio. We went home around my nephew's birthday when we knew the whole family would be available. I asked a good friend of mine to snap some pictures and we called it a day.
That very night, my mom and I were sitting at the dining room table and I was bemoaning the fact that it was taking us so long to get going with the adoption and how I was starting to feel like God didn't want us to be parents.
Six simple words from my mom changed my life.
"Why aren't you doing foster care?"
I looked at her. I scrambled for an answer. And there was none. I had no reason. No excuse. Nothing to say. And something began in my heart stirred.
That night and for a few nights afterwards, I lay awake in bed, praying. I was asking God what He was doing with this heart-stirring. I asked Him for confirmation. I asked Him for clarity.
Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. Right as we were both about to doze off one night, I spoke more life-changing words into the dark room.
"Chris, I think we're supposed to be doing foster care."
And his response?
We continued to talk that night. As we conversed, I saw so many puzzle pieces fall into place. I saw how our call to be generous and hospitable fit perfectly into foster care. I saw how my heart for birth moms and dads worked so well into this new plan. I saw how caring for orphans and widows IS foster care.
And I felt my heart morph. I felt a passion start to burn. And as we started telling people this new plan, the excitement and passion spread. The people who weren't so excited about the adoption, erupted with joy and anticipation when we announced we were doing foster care instead.
Not only that, but finally choosing to follow God's leading, to be obedient and listen to His call, brought an immense sense of freedom. Yes, we were no longer in control which is something we've both struggled with, but that lack of control brought a surrender and a joy that I've never experienced before.
So, here we are. I'm typing this as Chris is dusting the house as we await the arrival of the social worker who will complete our last safety inspection. That will hopefully get faxed in to the state before day's end and then, maybe, just maybe tomorrow will bring a new adventure!
This road has not been smooth sailing. And it will NEVER be smooth sailing. Kids in care are hurt. They are traumatized. They are delayed and in need of many services. There is and will be a lot of anger and sadness to work through. There will be failures on our end as parents to provide the right amount of understanding and correction.
But this is what we are supposed to do. This is what we were meant to do all along.
And as scary as this road is, how uncertain the future looks, knowing that we are in the midst of God's plan is so comforting. So worth it.
I am so thankful foster care chose us. We haven't even begun and it has taught us so much about ourselves and each other.