After much discussion and prayer, John and I decided that rather than providing temporary foster care, we would pursue adoption through foster care. We'd concentrate on helping the kids who were almost certainly going to need an adoptive family. And we thought we'd care for a younger child, maybe a toddler.
To qualify as adoptive parents through foster care, we had to take an eight-week foster-care training class, complete a home study and make sure our criminal clearance and medical records were current.
We felt as if we were just plodding along, no longer bubbling with excitement, but we truly believed we were where God wanted us and were being obedient to Him. Each Thursday I dreaded the training class. We really didn't think we'd be foster parents anytime soon, but we both felt that God wanted us to be there.
Then came the home study or, as John calls it, the full-cavity search. This sweet, young woman came to our home and asked us all kinds of intrusive questions.
"Tell me about your childhood," she'd begin. "How often do you talk to your parents? Did you ever experience abuse as a child? How will you discipline? How's your marriage? How often do you floss?" OK, that last question wasn't part of the interview, but it felt as if she wanted to know absolutely everything about us. Though I understood why she needed to ask so many questions, it just felt wrong for her to be so nosy.
Going through this kind of interrogation was stressful. There was so much on the line. We kept worrying, What if we answer something wrong?
But at the end of the day, this pain-in-the-neck part of the process was doable. We didn't enjoy it, but we got through it. And I believe God used it to change and grow John and me and prepare us for what was ahead. Put another way: If you can't handle the process, the kids are gonna eat your lunch.
If you're a type-A control freak, like I was, adoption through foster care (or adoption of any type) is going to be very, very difficult. You have no control. This was hard for me. But through it all, God taught me much more deeply that He is in control, and I need to learn to trust Him with my life.
The truth is, I learned many of those lessons through flat-out failure as I floundered and fretted the entire time. Instead of praying, I worried. Instead of trusting, I called Deeanna constantly with a steady stream of complaints about the process. Instead of waiting onGod, I called social workers and guardians ad litem (the special lawyers appointed by the court to represent children in foster care) far more often than I should have, which probably wasn't productive. Too often I lived in the stress of it all instead of living in the peace God provides for such situations in life.
Thankfully, God is patient and kind, even if we have to learn the hard way sometimes.