“It takes a special person to do what you do.” If I had a nickel for every time I heard that over the last 2 years…..well, I’d have a lot of nickels.
For my family, it all started back in 2015 when the Lord placed a divine burden on my heart to adopt. Even though it took me a few months of privately praying over the call, my husband was supportive and open from the start. We were a busy family of five living a normal, chaotic, and comfortable life. Our kids were 8, 6, and 2 at the time so I was stretched pretty thin and on most days didn’t feel equipped to raise the three I already had. But God was persistent in his pursuit of my heart and didn’t quit until I surrendered. Once I did, things moved quickly and slowly all at the same time.
After some research, we learned that we could adopt out of foster care. At that time, there were approximately 100,000 youth in the U.S. foster care system awaiting their forever family. We registered with our local Department of Social Services and had decided to pursue a license to only foster-to-adopt. I knew we couldn’t foster because “it takes a special person to open their home to foster children” and, let’s be clear, I am not special.
We started the licensing process in September of 2016 and by the time we wrapped up the 30 hour class God had gotten me. In just a 10 week span, my eyes were opened and heart softened to what was going on in our small community. Approximately 250 children were in care at that time and there were only about 65 licensed foster homes in our county. I couldn’t go back to my home and on with my life knowing what I had learned in that class and not do anything about it. So that very night, I told my husband I had changed my mind. I was going to call our licensing worker the next day and let her know we were no longer wanting to be a “foster-to-adopt” home, but instead we wanted to open up our chaotic, busy, and imperfect home to foster. God was very clear with his mission for our family. There is no way to explain my sudden change of heart except for the sovereign work of my Heavenly Father in me. I couldn’t believe it, but God wanted to use the hands and feet of an ordinary family. I was scared, uncertain of my ability, and excited to see what God had in store.
We received word that we were officially a licensed foster home in April of 2017 and just 5 days later received the call about a little girl. Nothing can prepare you for the first time a little one comes in your front door. It was everything and nothing that I had expected. I had to trust in the only thing I knew to be true. It was something I had heard in a sermon and made sure to write down and remind myself of. “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.” My family is a walking testament to that truth. We had some training, little preparation, and no idea what the next 24 hours would hold. But we had everything she needed. A safe place to sleep and someone to love and care for her. She leaned on me, while I leaned on Him.
It’s been two years since that first call and we have had many others come and go. Each one has brought us joy and new challenges. God remains faithful through each placement and we know He always will. The best lesson, for me, is the ability to know my great need for Him. Every day and every child poses an opportunity for me to give my worry up and a front row seat at watching Him do His great work. He didn’t give me extra powers. My family is not winning any awards for being special. We are an ordinary family with typical struggles and a regular life. I want everyone to look at me and see that it doesn’t take a special person to do this. All God asks is that we surrender, trust, and take a step at a time, in faith. My prayer is that more people open their eyes to the crisis that is foster care. That they see a need, and pray about the role they can take in it.
I didn’t know it then, but when the Lord placed that divine burden on my heart to adopt, He would, in fact, one day bring us a son. I look back over the path that led us here, just a few weeks out of signing his adoption papers, and I am humbled at God’s grace and His faithfulness. What if I had just sat in the false idea that it only takes a special person to open their home to foster youth? Our son is 2 years old and is now a forever part of a family. We are not a special family, but we are his chosen family.
If God is calling you to open your home to foster or to consider adoption, I pray that you trust in the never-failing, perfect love of Christ and answer with full certainty of His ability to work in and through ordinary you!