3 things that Fostering and Adoption have taught us...
Almost eight years ago Jamin invited us to one of the first Every Child Initiative meetings. The ECI was so new it was just an idea without a name. We left church that day asking ourselves why Jamin would invite us to such a meeting. We actually didn’t make the connection that our daughter adopted from China seven years earlier would make us good candidates to participate in the initiative. Since that day we have fostered approximately 32 children some for a night, some for months, some for years, and one that we officially adopted two years ago next month. We have learned a lot on this journey.
Sticking with the church-appropriate lessons, here are our top three:
1. God’s plan, not ours. (Jeremiah 29:11)
This is not the coffee mug and plaque version of this popular life verse, it’s the years of wandering in the desert version wondering what the heck God had in store for this child and how your family fits into their story. It’s the total surrender to all the things you said you didn’t want to do.
“Don’t send us babies. We don’t want to be up all night.”
We brought five babies home from the hospital. We also took many placements under the age of two.
“Don’t ask me to work with the biological parents, they are really messed up.”
Now some of those biological parents are parenting in healthy ways and have become our friends.
“Whatever your plan God, please don’t let it include an open adoption.”
But that was exactly his plan to stretch us and mold us. We talk to our son’s birth mom every week and see his birth family once a year.
2. Don’t worry He gives you everything you need. (Matthew 6:25-34)
If we had to stop and actually have everything perfect and in place before we took a new placement, we never would have taken the first kid. We learned to step out in faith and God always came through in far better ways than we could imagine. The most notorious example is the two-month-old baby that I took in the middle of the night without waking anyone up to tell them. The baby just needed a place to stay for a few hours and would be gone before anyone even woke up. Instead, Baby L stayed for 29 days until she was placed with her forever family. It’s only because of God and the angels He sent us that we made it through those 29 days with three babies under two! Just finding three open daycare spots were a huge miracle!
We have learned when you step out in faith God will provide just what you need.
3. Proclaim the gospel to a watching world. (Matthew 5:14-16)
Although we were both raised in Christian homes, we were not raised to proclaim the gospel. Being asked to share our grace story was the most intimidating part of joining Summit Church. Through foster care and adoption, God has provided us the easiest opening to share the gospel with a watching world. Trust me, when you roll up at Publix with three kids of three different races and they are all calling you mommy it’s inevitable that some sweet and curious person will ask “are they all yours?” The door is kicked wide open and you can’t help but tell people what Jesus has done for you and what he can do for them! You may as well shout it from the produce section because they already think you are crazy!
Every person reading this blog has a part to play in the Every Child Initiative. You can pray for the children and their bio families, your prayers are always appreciated. On some of the hardest days it was the prayers of others that got us through. You can volunteer to provide wrap around care to a fostering family. It wasn’t until our last placement they we humbled ourselves and let our resource coordinator organize meals for our family. The Griffith family not only organized meals and rounded up baby clothes, they rocked babies so we could give the toddlers a bath and fold a load of laundry. If God is pressing on your heart today to consider fostering, Safe Families or adoption, take the first step, don’t wait.
God has a plan, He will provide all that you need, as you are a light to the world.