There aren’t too many times in my life that I can look back at photos and remember how God was speaking to my heart in that moment.
Around two years ago I was sitting in a banquet room eating dinner and sipping coffee with my friends. We were there to support another good friend who was helping host a banquet on foster care in our community. We all chatted and laughed about things that I don’t even think really mattered. I’ll be honest, I don’t remember much about that night other than watching a video about a little girl. A little girl that was removed from her home after a domestic dispute between her mother and her mother’s boyfriend. I choked back crocodile tears as I watched this little girl feed her baby brother, change his shirt, and carry him to safety. I thought of my sweet daughter and how motherly she is to her own baby brother. I thought about how naïve I am to think that this isn’t happening in that little one stop light town. I thought about how much I have taken my “normal” life for granted. I was there that night to support one of my good friends, but I left with a tiny seed in my heart. The tiny of seed of, “how can I help?”
A few weeks later a photo of a tiny 3-week-old baby came to my phone. His small pacifier literally took up his whole face. But he was gorgeous. He looked like a doll. The next day I went over to meet him. I told my friend, “do what you need to do, I’ll hold him”. It felt like I held him for hours, yet I didn’t want to let him go. His tiny body was going through withdrawal. He would clinch his little fists so tight and make an uncomfortable wincing noise. It was the first time I had ever seen anything like this. “How can someone do this knowing that it is affecting such a precious life?”, I thought. Clearly my “normal” life had made me extremely naïve to the affects of addiction.
My friend snapped a photo of the baby and me together. It hangs on my fridge to this day, because at that exact moment, while his tiny chest was snug against mine, that seed I told you about, took root. And that scared me.
Over the next few months I stayed as supportive and involved as I could to be there emotionally and physically for my friend. Since we are all called as Christians to do something, I thought this must be my call, to support her while she supports him! That seemed logical and doable. And for awhile it was. Until one day when I got a text message from another friend of mine. She had just gotten a call about a little girl that would be coming to her home. She had nothing coming with her because her home was filthy. They wouldn’t bring anything to her house for fear of bringing bugs. The text read, “Hey, is there anyway that we could borrow some of Reise’s clothes? Just some jammies and a clean outfit for tomorrow. We will wash it and give them right back!” We had been very open with our children about our mission to “support our friends” in their foster care journeys. When my daughter heard this little girl was her age and had nothing, before I could even suggest certain outfits, she leaped from the couch and sprinted to her room.
Her generous heart made me so proud. I was so excited for her to now be able to provide support to a new friend that needed it. She did so good and tried so hard to make sure that this sweet girl felt included and important. She got it! I believe that this little girl became the face that drove the meaning behind “foster care” home. I began to think that, maybe we are being called to do more than just “support” our friends.
That tiny seed grew a little more.
I felt like the time had come for me to sit down and discuss what I was feeling with my husband. It was no secret that we loved these kids we’d been spending time with. My daughter begged to adopt the baby boy we’d fallen desperately in love with. Every opportunity to babysit him, snuggle him, or play, was taken.
“It’s not the right time” he told me. That was the hardest conversation to hear. How do you get someone to believe in the vision God has planted in your heart? I was surer than ever! I had been praying for God’s will and how foster care played into that for our family since that night at the fundraiser. Hearing it wasn’t the right time shattered me. Would it ever be the right time?
After almost two years of praying for God to clearly show us, my husbands “not the right time”, has changed to, “there’s no excuse worthy of holding us back from this!”
We are currently days away from being a licensed foster family. We are scared – me mostly, but we are ready. We are excited to see our kids love these children like Jesus. We are grateful to get to be a tiny part of their stories. And we are so excited to see where God leads our family from here.
A quote that I have kind of adopted as my foster care mantra is from the book Kisses From Katie.
“I have learned that I will not change the world. Jesus will do that. I can, however, change the world for one person. So I keep stopping and loving one person at a time. Because this is my call as a Christian.” Katie Davis
Maybe you don’t feel the call to become a foster parent. Maybe you don’t feel the call to be the supportive friend. But sweet reader, you can do something. Anything. Find a foster closet and donate supplies. Find a foster family and give a gift card for dinner or call and have a pizza delivered. You don’t have to have a child under your roof to serve the orphans. Don’t let the fear of the unknown keep you from showing the love of Christ!