A little over three years ago, we welcomed our first foster child in our home. At this time we were going to foster to minister to families and strictly foster; no adoption please. It's funny how the Lord leads you to do something, doesn’t share all the details, but somehow you come up with what His plan is. Thankfully the Lord’s plan was far more than anything we could have dreamed, and that first foster placement, who was up for adoption, became our forever son in less than six months. I became a mom to a seven, almost 8, year old boy at the age of 20. Not the plan we imagined coming to pass, but God is gracious.
Fast forward some time and we move to Louisiana. Being a stay at home mom allowed us more freedom with fostering and we were so excited to see where God would lead. The amount of patience He gave me in the certification process was amazing. I was content with the timeline and trusted Him to lead the way. We totally went in to fostering open to whatever the Lord wanted, knowing of course that meant a healthy, “normal” child. Boy, did He surprise us.
After several calls for placements that ended up not working out, we got a call for a special needs child. “Special needs, Lord? Are you sure?” The list of needs ran long and I told the worker I would have to talk with my husband and call him back. The call ended with the worker saying, “Look if you could just give us two weeks to find a facility, we would appreciate it.” I presented the call to my husband in this way, “Babe, they called for a special needs little boy. I told them probably not but I wanted to let you know and tell you before I gave them a definite no.” Kyle said “Why? What’s wrong?” I began to tell Kyle the needs the child had and he said “Well why would you say no?” I was dumbfounded. Why would I say yes? His list was so long and we were so busy. We had been praying and telling the Lord we had “open hands,” meaning whatever He wanted to fill them with, we’d say yes. In tears, Kyle and I prayed for His will and then I called back to say yes-not for two weeks, but for however long they needed us. 13 months later, our first placement in Louisiana, became our second son. His needs list much shorter and a forever family, including a brother.
Sometimes I wonder what Eli will say when he is older and I tell him his mama almost said no. I write with tears in my eyes thinking about my selfishness and the doubt I had at the time. I know this is all part of a greater picture and an ever bigger testimony. I know it will show him the importance of trusting the Lord’s will and being obedient to His call.
Both of our boys, although adopted through foster care, have two completely different stories. Michael has a list of previous homes, knows the loss he suffered even in some type of gain, came to his final home already up for adoption. We didn’t walk the hard roads with him at the time, although we walk them now. We got to experience after math of heartache but have witnessed a true redemption in a one broken story.
With Eli, we walked the whole path: visits with biological parents, court dates, termination trial, doctor appointments, diagnoses, etc. We were there to witness each heart break, with him completely unaware of them. We walked through heartbreak he really has yet to face due to not understanding. One thing is for sure though, he once was lonely and showed no affection, but now he has a family and pulls us in to kiss him.
This is the kind of God we serve. One who tells us He will not leave us lonely and as orphans, He comes to us. (John 14:18) He rescues and provides refuge. (Psalm 34:22) He turns ashes to beauty. (Isaiah 61:3) He is a God of compassion and restores every piece. (Deuteronomy 30:3-13)
In our process of fostering, we have had other placements and several hard goodbyes. I have sat in their rooms and lay on their beds and wept. I trust in knowing the same God who brought us our boys, is guiding and watching over them now. Not that their life will be free from pain and heart ache, but that God will heal and restore...in His perfect time, because this is the God we serve.