Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Our Foster Care/Adoption Journey Part 1

It’s hard to decide where to begin. We are just your basic, average, all American family. Mark and I got married 16 years ago, with big dreams of having a life and a family together. We were both raised in Christian homes, with loving parents who raised us well. 

 In 2002, we welcomed our first son, Riley. Oh, what a blessing he was! Being his parents gave us purpose and a new perspective. It was also during that time that we got plugged into a local church and our faith started maturing.

In 2005, we had Tyler, our second son. It was during my pregnancy with him that I sensed God calling me to quit my teaching career and stay home to raise my boys. Even though it was clear God wanted this for me, I resisted. It was an extremely difficult transition. We struggled financially during this time, but God always provided. We learned to trust Him, even in the challenges. I also began growing spiritually during this time through Bible studies and MOPS.

In 2008, life was better. We celebrated our 10 year anniversary that summer, Riley was in school, Tyler was potty trained, and we were doing ok financially. We thought our life was good and sensed God telling us that our perfect little family of 4 wasn’t complete. We discussed having another child and decided to try.

That fall, Mariah Wilde from Family Link Foster Care and Adoption Agency, came to talk to our church about the need for Christian families to foster and adopt children in state care. It got my attention, and Mark and I talked about that as an option for growing our family. We decided to think and pray about it.

God gave us our answer in 2009, when we found out we were expecting Kendall, who was born in January 2010. She was another joy and blessing! She is our one and only baby girl. Fostering and adopting was still on our hearts, but we focused on raising our children. Somewhere in that time, Mariah came back to our church. What I remember about that was that there was a slideshow of children waiting to be adopted and one of the pictures was a baby girl named Kendall. I knew it wasn’t a random thing.

Finally, in 2011, we decided to go for it. We started our training with Family Link in the fall of 2011 and were licensed as a foster/adopt home in December 2011. We really always wanted to adopt but decided to be willing to give fostering and emergency placements a chance.

Our very first placement came on December 27, 2011: an 8 year old boy and a 3 year old girl. We had them only 3 weeks before the court ordered them to be placed with their grandma. We learned a lot from that short placement. It was challenging, it was stressful and emotional, but it was good. Loving them for 3 weeks was the right thing to do. It was worth it, and we were affirmed in continuing this path.

But it also gave us clarity. We were living in a 1600 square foot house with only 3 bedrooms and a tiny backyard. It was very cramped for 5 kids. We have learned a lot about being wise with our finances and trusting God to provide for our needs, so we began to pray about a larger home in a wise way. We made a wish list for an ideal house for us and gave parameters of what we could afford. It was a tall order; seemingly impossible to find.

But God provided! And it was even better than we hoped and imagined. I’ll tell that story another time.

After we moved we reactivated to foster, and in September 2012, we accepted a placement of 2 little girls, ages 2 and 1 (our Kendall was 2 ½). They had been in another foster home, so when we got them, their reunification date was already set. We had them for 3 months, when they were successfully reunited with their parents. This placement was extremely difficult for our family. The little girls required a lot of attention (to put it mildly), and it left us feeling like failures. After they went home, we questioned the call to foster. We considered checking it off the “to-do” list and moving on. We went inactive to reconsider, regroup and pray.

But God didn’t let us quit…
(Part 2 coming soon)

1 comment:

Sue Ellen Creek said...

What an emotional yet wonderful journey...so far. I can't wait to see the next installment!