She’s the kind of woman who loves intensely. The kind of person who doesn’t need a lot of friends, yet bonds deeply with every single one. She cries when saying goodbye to visiting relatives, even those who live nearby. As for children, you don’t spend three decades as an elementary-school teacher if you don’t have at least a soft spot for little ones.
Yes, Lorie loves children, but she never had any of her own. She always dreamed of being a mother, of getting married and raising kids, but the married part never happened.
“Since I couldn’t have a biological child, I thought I would adopt,” Lorie says. “When I wasn’t matched with a child to adopt, I became depressed. I questioned why God wouldn’t let my dreams come true.”
As for foster care, she had heard the stories. She knew about the heartache that lingers when a child leaves.
“If I wept when I left family I would see again in a few months,” she says, “how could I handle loving and nurturing a child, only to let him or her go forever?”
So, Lorie gave up her dream of motherhood.
A willing heart
Then Lorie heard about an event on the radio—an opportunity to assist vulnerable kids in the foster care system, to help them find safe and loving homes. The event, called Wait No More, was sponsored by Focus on the Family, and it was coming to her city.
Once there, she listened to adults who fostered and had been fostered as children. She heard about God’s great love for children in need of willing families. She learned about the challenges of fostering, and the blessings.
The more she heard, the more interested Lorie became. That’s when all her excuses—that she was too old, too alone, too afraid of getting attached and getting hurt—evaporated. It was no longer about her.
“I loved hearing how God put families together through fostering and adoption,” she says, “and I decided to investigate more.”
That very day at Wait No More, Lorie signed up to take the next step.
In need of a home
By 2015 Lorie had taken in several children. Each new placement was an adventure, and she treasured every child before they even met. Some stayed for several weeks, others for several months, but they all eventually moved on, leaving Lorie bereft.
“It was agony to see them go,” she says. “[But] God healed my heart after each child left.”
In August Lorie received a call about a little girl named Natalie. Lorie, as usual, was smitten. Two-year-old Natalie, though, was scared, having just been removed from her relatives’ home the day before.
Initially, Lorie’s heart was guarded. “[She knew] that Natalie could go back to her biological family at any time,” says her friend Angela.
But Natalie didn’t go back. She stayed. A month passed, then a year. After nearly two years with Natalie, the caseworkers asked Lorie something they had never mentioned before: Would you be willing to consider adoption?
No more fears
Lorie wasn’t sure what to say, so she prayed. She allowed herself to dream again. It was difficult and delightful and frightening all at once. Natalie, meanwhile, had questions—about where she would live, where she would end up. Lorie could only reply that God loved her and the court system would decide what was best.
“The next three years were a roller coaster that Natalie didn’t know she was on,” Lorie says.
Caseworkers and supervisors came and went, and it seemed like everyone had a different opinion about Natalie’s situation. Finally, at an August 2019 hearing, a counselor who’d seen the pair interact testified on Lorie’s behalf. If it pleases the court, it would be in the best interests of the child to remain in her current residence. The judge agreed, and suddenly Lorie wasn’t sure what to believe. Could it really be true?
It was. Nearly a year’s worth of paperwork later, Lorie signed the documents to adopt Natalie.
“In my heart, Natalie has been my child for over five years,” she says, “but in September 2020, the court made it official. She finally has a forever home.”
Lorie plans to continue opening her home to children in need, and her daughter agrees. Natalie says it’s difficult when kids aren’t sure where they’ll be living next.
“Now that I’m adopted, I know I’m not going to a different home,” she says. “It’s not stressful, because I know I’m going to stay with Mom.” •
Wait No More educates and empowers families to help waiting kids in foster care. Learn more at WaitNoMore.org.