Share your story: : Our fostering and adoption story began in April 2001. Darrel and I had been married only a year when my parents took in a foster baby. The news of this little baby and her situation rocked our worlds. We were planning on trying to start a family later that year but when we heard about her, we set our hearts to seeking God about how He might use us to impact her life. After a couple months it became clear to us that our heart's desires were to be her parents. It also became clear that the likelihood of her being reunited with her birth parents was very low. We started classes to become foster parents and in Oct of 2001, she was transferred into our home as our foster baby. She was 6 months old. The adoption process is long in the foster care system - even when birth parents aren't involved - so we were finally able to adopt her in May of 2003. We named her Josephine (Josie) Susan. We were finally "officially" her parents and we were absolutely thrilled! During those two years, God had deepened our passion for kids in the foster care system who need permanent homes. We told our case worker that if her birth mother had any more babies, we would take them. On Aug 6, 2003 we got a phone call that would change our lives. Josie's birth mom had had another baby girl on Aug 4th. She needed to be picked up from the hospital that day at 4pm. The voice on the phone asked "Do you want her?". Our immediate and enthusiastic answer was YES. We picked up our precious second daughter, Eliza Jane, from the hospital that afternoon. She weighed 5 lb 3oz and looked at us with dark intense eyes. We lay in bed that night completely overwhelmed at God's goodness in calling us to love these precious little girls. Eliza was adopted in Dec of 2005 when she was 16 months old. As Josie and Eliza grew, their birth mother made the decision to get her tubes tied so we knew there would be no more birth siblings. We decided to have a biological child and I gave birth to Evangeline in August of 2007. Then (much to our surprise) we got pregnant again and had a baby boy, Abraham, in Sept 2009. We are busy parents!! We are thrilled that God put the desire to foster/adopt in our hearts all those years ago and used us to provide a home for our beautiful adopted daughters. We cannot imagine our lives without them. Now that our children are getting older, we are hoping to be able to get involved in foster care again in the next couple years. We are not sure what it will look like yet or whether adoption will be a part of that, but the desire to use our home to minister to hurting children and families is still a big part of who we are and how we want to serve God.
How has your story shaped who you are today?: Adopting through the foster care system is long and sometimes disheartening. Walking through the experience of taking in a child, loving that child, but not really knowing if you will be given the opportunity to adopt that child is an emotionally intense and exhausting existence. The only thing we could do was cling to what we DID know - that God is good. He is faithful. He works for the good of those who love Him. He has plans to prosper us, not to harm us. And that is true for our children as well. Before the adoptions were final, we clung to those promises when fear of losing our children overwhelmed us. These experiences gave us first-hand opportunities in exercising our faith and trust in God. It built a foundation of faith that has made it easier to say "yes" to God even when the future was unclear. And we can truthfully and confidently say that it has ALWAYS been worth the risk to say "yes" to Him. It has made us into risk-takers and radical seekers and followers of Jesus and all He has for our family.
Why were you compelled to share your story on our blog?: There are thousands and thousands of children in the foster care system who need temporary or permanent homes. We love telling our story because we hope to inspire other families to step out of their comfort zone and have the guts to say "yes" to God if He is calling you into this sort of ministry to children and families. It isn't always easy and it isn't always pretty, but we can promise that it is ALWAYS worth it. We have never regretted saying "yes" to God. Once you step out in faith, you won't believe how He will bless you and equip you for the calling He has for you.
What encouraging words would you give to someone who shares a similar story?: We would quote His Word that says in Galatians 6:9 "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Your journey in foster care or adoption may be messy. It may be exhausting and disheartening at times. Let me assure you - ours is too!! But answering the call that God has placed on your life and following Him despite the risk, is the safest place for you to be. It is always worth it. And you may not see fruit now, while you are in the trenches, but God's Word does not return void. He is good and He is worth following. And you don't have to do it by yourself. Isaiah 40:11 "He tends his flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those who have young."