I have a heart for adoption. It is such a picture of God’s grace and love for His children, how He makes us fully His own and part of his family, gives us a whole new identity. You can read more about some of my adoption thoughts here. The E. family is a pretty amazing picture of that love. Foster parents are huge heroes in my book; opening their homes and hearts to babies and kids, loving them like their own, releasing them back to family situations that may be unstable. And then to do it again and again… well that takes supernatural love. This family has loved Believe since she was a baby. I’m honored that I got to be there to document the story of them making her fully and legally one of their own. E. family, may God’s grace shower down on you as you pour yourselves out to the children who are in your home today and in the future. You are brave and courageous. (Also, your outfits are so awesome!)
PS- Keri has some moving thoughts about their story through foster care and adoption which I’ve included at the end of the blog post. I hope it gives strength and encouragement to those who might be on a similar journey. Funny thing- I’m in the middle of the book Keri mentioned. Their story is so worth reading and sharing. I love how Believe got her name. Check it our below.
We always tell people that we are the unlikeliest couple to become foster parents. You see we knew all of “those crazy foster families” you think of when you say the word foster parents. We had a neighbor that had experienced her share of difficult children, and we knew we did not want that in our home. However, God had a different plan for us (doesn’t He always) and 2 1/2 years ago we were licensed. We tell everyone that if God had given us everything we wanted in life (in our case a house full of children) would we be all that He had wanted us to be? The answer is probably no. Because truth be told if we had been blessed with 5 kids we probably would have been happy and felt like things were complete for us. We would have been so busy taking care of our own family we would have justified why we couldn’t do the work the Lord has called all of us to do, “…to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” James 1:27.
Instead, God gave us heartache–miscarriages, infertility, failed domestic adoptions and an ocean full of tears. From this we somehow landed upon this book, “Adopted for Life” by Russell Moore, and we knew in an instance that God had been calling us to foster care and we were refusing to hear His voice. Reading that book feels like it was decades ago as we have seen 13 children come in and out of home in the past 2 1/2 years. We have always kept our son’s birth order (he stays the oldest in the home) so that he is a good influence to children living with us versus him being influenced by them. We have had children live with us from ages newborn from the hospital to 4yrs. old. We have had sibling sets, but we really try to not have siblings sets because we have learned that each one of these foster kids needs a lot of one on one attention and we know that gets hard when you have more than one in your home. Each case is different.
We have seen some real abuse, but the majority of our cases have been just neglect from parents—lack of food, lack of shelter or lack of protection. The children thrive on routine and structure. Some of them have stayed with us a mere 24 hours and others have been with us for over 4 months. The child in our home the longest is now our adopted daughter. She came to us at 2 months old. We were told she may not walk or perhaps have a limp due to her neglect. We were told she was showing signs of depression (yes, babies can be depressed) and that we would have trouble getting eye contact from her. Well, one year of weekly physical therapy, lots of laughing and smiling therapy in the home and more love than you can imagine and today we have the most charming well-adjusted little girl.
Believe was not the name she was given at birth. We had always known that we would name a daughter Believe because truthfully we just believed God had a daughter out there for us, we just hadn’t met her yet! When our daughter came to us we had to keep believing that despite everything she had experienced in those first 2 months of life she was going to be more than what people expected of her. Her life verse is, “Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believe you would see the Glory of God?”‘ –John 11:40. Truly our daughter encapsulates this verse. She is the Glory of God living here in our lives daily. Our advice to anyone thinking about foster care is that it is never as scary as it seems. There are so many people out there that will give you their thoughts and advice on the matter, but at the end of the day the reality is that if we are not doing something to help with this national epidemic than we are no better than those who are causing the problem. These kids in the foster system longed to be loved and cared for like every child does…they just happened to be born into a situation they had no control over. They are the victims living among us.