Kevin and I are becoming foster parents!
God has been at work BIG TIME in both of our hearts (honestly for years). Even when we were dating, we talked about adopting in the future, but we didn't quite know what he'd teach us in the coming years. God has taught us about the foster care system - the brokenness and the victories. Kevin's job has given him the insight on what it looks like to age out of the foster care system and how hard it is for those kids. We've met with multiple families both in our church and outside of it who have fostered and adopted. We've soaked in as much as our brains could handle and laid it all out for God to mold and shape!
There were multiple nights that we floated around our pool and talked about what it would look like to foster/adopt. I even had visions of us taking in pregnant teenage girls. I often ended up in tears thinking about how hurt most of these children are - from feeling unloved or unwanted. Kevin knows, first hand, what that feels like so I constantly pictured 13 year old Kevin so afraid and in need of love.
Because mine and Kevin's journeys have been unique, I want you to hear from both of us today! They're separate yet they come together and make one huge story about how God led us to this point.
I've always known that I was called to do something huge - something uncomfortable, something for God's Kingdom, something that would require sacrifice. I tried to go be a missionary in Thailand and God said 'no.' I tried to find a non-profit to work for and God said 'no.' I tried to move to Brazil and God said 'no.' I also knew I'd be married to a missionary.
But then nothing seemed to be falling in line with that. The lyrics to Casting Crowns recent song "Just Be Held" come to mind.
Your world's not falling apart
It's falling into place
Fast forward to 2015 - I'm married to a missionary and my world is about to be rocked. As a Believer, I think we're all missionaries - called to show the love of Christ to all who are around us - yes, even your coworkers in a Corporate America job. But heck - my Corporate America hubby now works for a church! And I am a missionary too.
Will I ever be 100% ready to be a mother (foster/bio)? No. I can't do it on my own. I can only do it through God's strength. He will equip me, because I will fail and I will fall short, but He will pick me up!
I'll be honest. I'm scared. I'm nervous. I'm afraid. I know that what we're doing is not easy and that I will cry A LOT. But God has given me certain gifts and a compassion for these children and has given Kevin the ability to relate to these kids because he's been there, so I know that we'll be okay. Please don't assume that we think it's going to be a piece of cake! Please be a shoulder for me to cry on when it's hard!
Our end goal is not adoption. We are not doing this to try and fill a void in our little family or because we don't have biological kids yet. We are doing it because God is calling us to it, He commands us to take care of the orphans and to just be a safe, loving home for the kids. Even if we never "attach" to the kids or them to us, we will still know we're doing what He wants. I hope that we do! I hope we bond with the kids, but if we don't, it's okay. If the opportunity to adopt presents itself and we feel confirmation from God, we will absolutely do it! We're just taking it one step at a time as He leads.
When I tell people that we are becoming foster parents, I always hear “Wow, that’s really cool, but…” Those sentences end with something like “do you know how hard that will be” or “some of those are really bad kids” or “why not just try to have your own kids?” Simply put, it’s hard for most people to understand why we would move from our comfortable lives into the uncomfortable uncertainty of foster care. And when I really think about why I’m choosing to do it, I always feel like there is one answer: I must do it.
I must do it because these kids need to be loved. I must do it because these kids need to hear the gospel. These kids need to see the gospel and understand that they are His chosen ones. I must because God has asked me to care for the orphans. Because God rescued me from being an orphan myself. God wants me to point them to Him as their loving father. I must.
The truth is this: everyone needs to be rescued. The reality is that I am not the rescuer. Jesus Christ is. I was rescued by Jesus, because a family took me in and led me to him. I am simply put, becoming a foster parent, not for me or my family, but for God’s Kingdom. I recognize that every child is God’s first and ours second. I want so much for these kids to understand that they have a daddy and it will never be me, it is the Lord. He is perfect, he has a purpose and plan for their lives. He loves them more than I ever could, but he is asking me to bring them to Him.
When my parents abandoned me at age 13, I was bitter and angry. I blamed God and swore against his name. How could he do this to me? Why was I locked up in mental hospitals and juvenile detention as a middle schooler? Why was I sleeping in a park instead of a bed in a home? Why did nobody love me enough to want me?
God wanted me to come home and He provided a family to bring me to Him. Like the single mom with 3 kids that was stretched to her limits but who I know, found herself on her knees, begging God to provide so she could show me love, that’s the kind of love and faithfulness I want to be known for.
We are not fostering to complete our family. We are fostering to show love. To be obedient. To provide a safe outlet for wounded children with lots of hurts and questions, ones that are bitter and angry, like I was. What changed my life was not just a family that loved the Lord and loved me and who has never stopped loving me since, it was my heart being changed by the same God that softened their hearts toward me. By believing in Jesus Christ and his death on the cross, I had value. I was given purpose and suddenly found my life to be one worth living.
That is the life I want to provide for our foster kids, for God’s children. One worth living. One filled with enough love to overcome the heartache. With enough value to trudge on in the messiness of sin. One filled with purpose that they are a son and daughter of the most high God and the knowledge that beyond all else, they matter.
We truly thought that this was way into our future. We thought we'd have older kids and already have parenting experience. In July 2015, we went on a short-term mission trip to an orphanage in Honduras where God started nudging us. He said "just check it out. Go to an info meeting. Check out the training classes." So we did!
In August 2015, we started our classes and through a crazy chain of events, we've decided to move into a larger home that will allow us to take in sibling groups. We're licensed for ages 6-18, as we feel that there is such a need for this age group. It breaks our hearts to think of siblings being split up so we want to do what we can to keep them together!
We'll be getting our first placement in January so please please please pray for us! Though we won't be able to post photos of the kids on social media, we'll keep you posted on how things are going.
If you're interested in helping, please read THIS!