One of the biggest fears that families have prior to stepping into foster care, is how it will
affect their family. There are rational fears behind the effects of opening your home to an
additional child (or four…but we’ll revisit that later). Before we make any life-altering decisions,
most of us contemplate the pros and cons, and we may consult the trusted people around us. In
those moments, where we feel a seed has been planted in our hearts to serve the Lord and his
children, fear and doubt can start to creep in. As parents, it is our job to protect our children. But
as believers, how do we effectively share our dreams and desires to help others? We yearn to
do this in a way that is beneficial and blesses everyone involved. You might think, “Fostering is
not for me and my family… We have too many kids, too many basketball games, too many
birthday parties, and not even enough seats in our cars!” And while this all may be accurate
information, I truly believe that if you internally carry the burden of wanting to serve, the Lord is
revealing your true calling to you, which should not be ignored. My family found themselves in this situation back in 2015. We had been serving as a family in the three-year-old class at our church every weekend. During our time loving these sweet kids, we found out many of them were in foster care. This is when the seed was planted.
The next step was for my parents to share this calling with a 16 year old me, alongside my 12 year old sister. As they came to inform us about how our family dynamics would change, my parents spoke so much life into us. They empowered us with the idea that just because we were going to be “foster sisters”, that did not mean that we couldn’t make a difference in these kids’ lives during their time in our home. Fast forward to 2016 when we were officially certified! The excitement had been building for months, and we had a bedroom open for a couple boys ages 2-6. My mom received a placement call for a 7 month old, a 22 month old, and a 3 year old. Later, after she told her case worker absolutely not, she got a call again asking if we would just take the 7 month old until they could find a home for all three children. The other two kids remained in a foster home where they were not getting the best care. A few months went by and we fell head over heels in love with Baby Bear. The same calling my parents felt to initially become a foster family, started to stir inside of me but with a little twist – to take placement of the two siblings. This was a crazy idea because at the time we only had a three bedroom house, cars that could only fit a maximum of 5 people, and my sister and I’s crazy traveling/competitive club volleyball schedules. I felt somewhere in my heart that I was made to be their big sister, whether it was for just a few months or 5 years; I KNEW this was the next step for our family. After voicing some personal sacrifices I was willing to make, and many weeks of trying to get my parents on board, they finally agreed.
Those next few months with 3 under age three were so difficult. I was able to witness the trauma that these kids had experienced and what the effects on their lives were going to be. I had continued reassurance in my decision of taking in this sibling group by the way they began to thrive under our care. After multiple medical procedures, speech and occupational therapies, and praying so hard for these kids and their biological family, I began to see the Lord at work. These kids were forever changed. They went from being angry, resistant, fearful, and often dysregulated, to happy, healthy, ambitious kids who loved to have fun! As soon as we got the hang of things, and felt totally confident in our ability to care for them, we were thrown for a real one when their biological mom became pregnant. The same conversations came up again… four kids under the age of four is like next level. We looked to the Lord for comfort and guidance; it was very clear that we were also supposed to take placement of this new baby. At this point, we had bought an SUV to fit everyone, and moved into a much bigger house. These were somewhat miracles of provision, and we believed it was truly a blessing since we were fulfilling His calling on our lives.
After 3.5 years in foster care, an intense two-week termination trial, and then a full year of just waiting around, we were given an adoption date. In this particular case, adoption was part of their journey, which was not even a part of our main goal in the beginning. One thing I can say is our entire family could not imagine our life without these four kids. This entire process inspired me so greatly, that I decided I wanted a career in this field. Now working for a Foster Parent Recruiter & Trainer, I share this story to as many as I can in hopes that I am planting seeds for others. In the Bible, the Book of Nehemiah is a memoir about the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Nehemiah dedicated himself to doing the work of the Lord to repair what was once lost. Once he had others (like our Family) on board to help fulfill the calling, they were almost surprised with how much they accomplished although it seemed impossible! During that time, there was opposition to the rebuilding. Good things like helping the poor along the way, and salvations occurred, but not without even MORE opposition! Needless to say, it was a difficult process with a great ending result. When we include the Lord in trying to fulfill our passions of helping, nothing is
impossible! I encourage you to read the book of Nehemiah 🙂
I also encourage you that if you are thinking about fostering and are worried about your biological family, share what’s on your heart! What breaks your heart may also break theirs. The apparent opportunities to advance the kingdom when you profess to others your callings are endless! You never know, maybe it is THEIR calling to one day serve within the same space. I will be forever grateful to my parents for including my sister and I on their fostering journey. My adopted siblings have not only changed my life, but it has allowed God to work through me in my current profession. Let’s get as many people involved as possible!!!