John Allen and I always knew adoption would be a way we would grow our family. We talked about it while we dated and the conversation continued on into our marriage. After being married for 5 years we had our first son and then soon our second son followed. Meanwhile, we were very good friends with a family that started their family’s foster care journey. We observed them - We loved on them - We prayed for them - We were amazed. And yet, we didn’t think this was what WE were called to do. I actually uttered those 5 powerful words that now make every fiber of my being cringe:
“I could never do that.”
Over time, the Lord worked and moved fiercely in my heart and in my husband’s heart. When sitting in a church service one Sunday and listening to a sermon on abortion and how it should effect us as, this resinated loud and clear: Being pro-life is not just about standing for life for unborn babies in their mother’s wombs. It is also about standing up for life after their birth. It’s about standing up for those who do not have a voice. Whether that is because they are still in their mommy’s womb or whether that is because they are involuntarily caught up in the world of foster care.
It was time. It had always been time.
The thing that I had uttered several years earlier that “I could never do…” was the exact thing Jesus was calling our family to do.
In our fear, in our weakness, in our uncertainty, HE is all knowing, HE is strong, and HE is certain. He created us. He desires to use us.
And finally surrendering in 2014 was just the beginning.
I think probably the biggest fear my husband and I struggled with was just the concept of deeply loving and caring for a child that would eventually be reunified with their birth-family and leave our home.
It was a hard pill to swallow at first digesting and wrapping our mind around the fact that not every child would stay. But after working through this, we both realized it’s not about us. It’s about loving on and caring for a child, no matter their situation or trauma. We, as their foster parents, are here for them and will we advocate for them and we will fight for them. If they eventually are able to be adopted by our family we will rejoice and be incredibly excited, but if they eventually are able to be returned to their birth family, we will also rejoice and be incredibly excited!
Foster Care is: Trying on your patience, difficult on your heart (especially for all you mommas out there), overwhelming in the amount of paper work-doctor visits-therapy appointments-social worker drops in’s-court days, birth family visits, uncomfortable in way it pushes you outside of your “box/bubble.”
Foster Care is: Rewarding when you see trauma behaviors slowly fade, Incredible when your foster child tells you they love you or gives you that huge toothless smile, beautiful when a birth parent/family moves from being angry at you to eventually asking you what all their child has done or accomplished that week, amazing when we as foster parents get to be involved in a child’s life along with their birth families life, even if it’s only for a season.
Foster Care is one of the most intense things we have ever been a part of but also one of the most incredibly beautiful things we have ever been a part of as well!
Austin, Foster Mom
P.S. Here are a few of my favorite resources:
-Becoming a foster parent in the state of Mississippi:
-One of my favorite and very encouraging foster care/adoption websites:
http://www.respiteredefined.com (Creator and founder is Caitlin Frost, who's story will be featured next week!) Find her on Instagram @respiteredefined
-Use the hashtags #fostercare #fostertoadopt #fostermom #fosterfamily for an entire community of families traveling this fostering/adoption journey together on Instagram!