I’m one of those people who typically shies away from hard things. Give up sugar for 30 days? No thanks, I’d rather not. Run a marathon? But why!?! Pursue my master’s degree? Nah! Become a foster mom? Me, really, Lord?
God Asked Us to Foster
As hard as it was even to start the process, I knew this was what God asked my husband and me to do. We have always wanted to adopt, but we did not realize becoming foster parents would be part of this journey. After slowly taking our time to become certified, we jumped in. No less than a month after our home was approved, a sweet, tiny, nameless 9-day- old baby girl was placed into our care. For the past ten years, we have had numerous infant placements that included too many good-byes said to children we loved and cared for. I have been quite the roller coaster ride.
Any seasoned foster parent will tell you the “roller coaster ride” begins when you say yes to a placement: the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows, the victories and defeats. Until you are dizzy from the ride, no one can tell you just how it feels or how hard it is. Never have I had to lean more heavily on Jesus than through this.
There’s a faulty mindset: that when you do what God is asking you to do, life will be easy and the road smooth before you. But His callings are never easy. He always asks us to do hard things.
Noah, build an ark. It’s not like he had Home Depot to run to!
Moses, lead my people out of slavery. He didn’t have John Maxwell’s book 21 Laws of Leadership to prepare him.
Mary, be the mother to the Son of God!
Hard things. Weighty callings. Divine design. Yet each one obeyed. Mary even stating, “I am the Lord’s servant” (Luke 1:38 NIV).
Just One More
In 2015, our family of 6 was just right. “Big” family by today’s standards, but doable! Two boys, two girls. Two bio kiddos, two adopted kiddos. My family was complete. But the want to keep fostering nagged at me. I couldn’t give up on the fact that there were children out there that needed a safe place to be. We were already certified, up to date on our training, and had just moved into a new home. So I begged my husband to let us foster just one more.
A Four Day Placement
July 24, 2015, my husband and seven-year-old son left for a hiking trip. My car was in the shop, broken down, and out of the blue, my phone rings. “We have a Native American, seven-week-old baby boy. Can you come and pick him up at the department. It’ll just be a four-day placement until mom gets out of detox, and he should return to his parents at the shelter hearing on Tuesday.” I accepted it under the condition that they bring him out to me.
It would be so fun! Thinking I would get to snuggle a sweet, chubby, eight-pound baby for a weekend. The weekend turned into a whole month and a month turned into two and on and on. During this time, we found out his birth mom drank alcohol and bottles of cough syrup throughout her pregnancy which meant Little Man would eventually be diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.
Asking Us to Adopt
Around the time Little Man turned a year old, he began showing some interesting behaviors and was not developing in his speech. In fact, he wasn’t talking at all like a neurotypical child. After a brain and spinal MRI, a trip to the neurologist, two failed sleep studies, surgery to remove his tonsils and adenoids, and a complete pediatric evaluation, we were given multiple diagnoses, including that he was born with a brain malformation. As well, CPS and his caseworker were asking us to adopt as his birth parents were not able to become safe, healthy, and sober enough to parent him.
Another Child? With Special Needs?
The weight of this calling was dragging me under. I began voicing my concerns to God. How can I raise another child, especially one with multiple special needs? Are you certain I’m supposed to adopt him? I’m sure I sounded like Moses. Am I the one you want for this job? But what about…? And how will I….?
Isaiah 43:2 says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (NIV).
I knew that I knew that God would be with me. He wouldn’t let these waters pull me down. But it was the most challenging “yes” of my life. As I wrestled it out with God, I stumbled upon Bob Goff’s book “Love Does.” Chapter 9 broke me. There are tear stains on the pages from the moment God moved my heart with Bob’s words. As he closes the chapter, he says, “So the next time God asks you to do something that is completely inexplicable, something you’re sure is a prank because it requires a decision or courage that’s the way above your pay grade, something that MIGHT EVEN SAVE LIVES, say yes (p. 66).”
My Obedience and Faith
I said yes! My yes took my obedience and my faith. It has brought me much deeper with Jesus and has given me a depth of understanding of God’s love for me that I never had before.
I encourage you to say yes to foster care, to adoption, do the hard things he’s calling you to do. He promises to equip you and to guide you, and to never leave you.