Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My Story

In our home we have five children, ages six and under. Go ahead laugh, we do. God certainly has a sense of humor and we wouldn't have it any other way.

When my husband and I went through premarital counseling a decade ago we spoke about what we wanted our family to look like. I promise you this is NOT what we envisioned and dreamed about.  We knew we wanted biological children and then one day when our children were older we would adopt.

However, God had other plans.

After trying to become pregnant for ten months I was at my breaking point. People around us were getting pregnant with babies they hadn't planned for, babies they didn't desire.  And here we were starting fertility medications and listening to empty promises from our doctor. I had been faithfully praying, studying His Word and seeking counsel.  I truly felt with every fiber of my being that He had given me the desire to become a mother. So why wasn't it happening?

In the midst of our struggle I decided to stop asking God to give us the desires of our heart but instead to take the desire. I didn't want it, it was painful and it wasn't necessary to happiness.  There were plenty of people who lived amazing lives without becoming a mother, right??  Please know, it was never easy to ask Him to take the desire away but it was all my hard and weary heart could muster. I was tired of asking, begging, pleading and desiring something that just was not happening.

During a Bible Study my mentor challenged our idea of what a "family" was. Dumbfounded I had asked her what she meant.  And she simply replied, "I think you and Aaron would be wonderful foster parents."

After a short discussion with my husband and some time in prayer we came upon a few conclusions.
We were blessed, we had budgeted from the beginning of our marriage for me to be a stay at home mom. So why not.
We were blessed, we had just moved into the house my husband grew up in. A five bedroom, two bathroom farm house with a lot of land.  So why not.
We were blessed, we had the desire in both of our hearts to become parents. How that happened did not matter to us. So why not.
We did NOT go into this with the intention to adopt, we would continue our fertility treatments. Our goal was the same, we wanted to have biological children but UNTIL then we could be parents to children who needed some.  We were on the same page.  So why not.
Lastly, we fell in love serving together. While dating, we went on a missions trip and literally fell in love serving orphans in the Dominican Republic.  Serving together has always drawn us closer to Him and closer to one another.
THIS WOULD BE OUR SHARED CALLING. So why not.  Let's do this!

Within ten months we had our first case and it became clear very quickly that they needed us.
They needed all we had to give, their case was complex, they had faced MANY forms of abuse.  So we quit trying to become pregnant and we dug deep.

Five months into our journey we found out we were not only pregnant but we were 13 weeks pregnant.  Our foster placement was moved to another home about a month after that. They were moved to a home with a more mature foster mom, who had experience with their form of trauma and could advocate for them better.  We were thankful for the transfer because we literally had nothing left to give. Yet we also felt defeated because we did not see their case through to the end.  This was NOT what I had envisioned when we set out to do foster care.

Do you see a pattern here.

It has been seven years and I am still haunted by my "failure." But God makes beauty from the ashes.
He allowed us to know of their "end." Those kids needed to move in order to meet the forever family who had been praying for them and who had EXACTLY the right knowledge to advocate for their special needs.
Even in the gift of knowing their happy ending my failure made me timid. I wanted to hide in our big farm house with our perfect baby and pretend we were not foster parents anymore. We enjoyed parenthood so much and despite our past trouble to conceive we quickly became pregnant again with our second son. I was blissful and happy.  The Lord brought us respite cases that we were happy to do, yet we decided we would not do a long term case for awhile. We would enjoy our babies. We screened phone calls and often never returned messages for cases they thought we would be interested in.
I didn't like failing and I was THRILLED with our little family.  I did not want to complicate that.

However the social workers kept calling and leaving messages about one case in particular.
Long story short, we picked up a newborn baby girl from the hospital who would be in care for
"a month...tops."  Our first son was thirteen months old and I was just into my second trimester with our second.
This would be amazing. A snugly newborn, I was feeling great, we could love her and then hand her off with plenty of time before our baby arrived. However things did not go as I had envisioned.

Days prior to the arrival of our second son we signed intent to adopt papers for our little ballerina.
When he was born we now had a twenty month old, a six month old and a newborn. We were buying
diapers in three sizes and wipes by the case. We were exhausted but we were fulfilled.
Our daughters adoption brought a renewed sense of what redemption means.

We never intended to adopt when we became foster parents. We didn't take our daughter in hoping her case would go to termination. We never wanted a family to be broken apart for our selfish desires. Yet there were reasons that her birth mom could not parent, we watched as God worked in our hearts and in our marriage. He was patient when we were not. He protected her and provided for her. He spoke directly to my heart and asked me to fall in love with her for forever. He redeemed this little girls story in ways I wish I could shout from the rooftops. One day maybe she will share, we have been very open and honest with her about her adoption journey.  She knows she was formed in His image with a purpose in mind. We are blessed to be the ones who get to encourage her
to hold strong to His promises and fulfill her calling.  She is my daily reminder of how sweet redemption is. My very ugly sin is transformed by the blood of Christ, just as her life story was.

Just when we thought the Lord had fulfilled His promises to us He gave us a sweet SUPRISE. This very tired mama had just begun to celebrate the fact we only had two kiddos in diapers and I started to not feel well.
(Go ahead insert chuckle.)
The Lord blessed us with our third son. I guess the Lord did a work in our lives because hiding
"in our big farmhouse" soon became a thing of the past. When you have four small children you start to wonder if having one more would really be that much more work. So WE started calling our foster care agency begging to serve once again. Thus our fifth child (who has been with us a year).

We get plenty of comments and stares but I know that fostering has blessed us more than we could bless any of the children coming into our home. Selfishly we continue to foster as a way to not only serve with one another as husband and wife but to serve as a family. I will be forever thankful to Him for giving me the desire of my heart in ways that I never dreamed were possible.

No comments:

Post a Comment