My name is Jennifer Worcester, most friends call me Jen. I am 32 years old and married to my very best friend! Shane and I started dating in high school and got married when I was only 19! We will celebrate 13 years of marriage in November. We have definitely grown up together, but its been a super sweet ride and I would do it all over again! For some amazing reason God picked me to be the mama to 3 of the most amazing, little people on the planet! Maverik is 9 and our oldest, he carries the big brother roll perfectly! He’s sweet, thoughtful, kind and brilliant! Everett came next, he will turn 7 in December and he is a strong, easy going guy who is funny and full of artistic talent. And our little sassy pants is Pearl who just turned 5. She brought all kinds of spice into our world! She is abundantly independent, loves to be a helper, keeps us on our toes and will likely one day rule the world! We are a homeschool family, just kicking off our 5th year at this! I am also a hairstylist (love my job) and have been for the last 13 years! I also have a passion for interior design! It is my creative outlet and brings me joy!
Three and a half years ago my sister became a foster parent. She got her first call and took in a little girl that at the time was the same age as my daughter. She had just entered into a world that I knew very little about. I gathered together what extra clothes and shoes I had from my daughter's room, packed up a bag of toys, stuffed animals and a blanket and headed to my sister's to meet this new little one. That night my heart was pierced and forever changed.
Many children have come and gone through my sister's home these last several years. Two of which are now officially ours forever! The impact she has made on their lives will hopefully be lasting, but her influence was not only on these kids. Her willingness to open up her heart and home exposed me and my family to a need that before we had let go unnoticed.
See we all have heard of “orphans” and it may tug at our heart for a brief moment, we may even tear up when we watch that tragic commercials depicting the poverty stricken conditions that children of other countries live in. But then we can turn the channel, we can walk away and go on with our lives. The difference comes once you know their names, know their personal story, once they sit at your table, and you hold them in your arms. Once it's personal you can’t ignore a need that’s so magnificent, so prevalent all around us!
The children in the foster care system are just like our very own. They are just normal children that had absolutely no say so in their circumstances. They have found themselves in “the system” and landed here solely due to decisions adults made. They desire and deserve a good life, one with love and stability. A happy place to come home to, and protective arms to keep them safe. Sadly, there just aren’t enough. There are more children in foster care than there are homes willing to take them in.
I have heard it said a lot here recently, “You don’t have to pray about whether or not God wants you to help the orphans. It’s there in black and white in His word.” What you can pray about is HOW you help them. I realize that not everyone will feel called to become a foster family and bring children into your home, but there are more ways that you can make a difference!
Last Summer one of our county's Guardian Ad Litem supervisors came and spoke at our church. We learned about a roll we had barely ever heard of before. And I realize now how few people actually know what a GAL is and what we do. When a child enters DSS custody they should be assigned a Guardian Ad Litem. We are a volunteer position. We are not working for DSS or on behalf of the biological parents. We are there strictly for the child. To be their voice, and make sure that their wants are heard and acknowledged. As a GAL you spend time with your child, visiting them at their school or wherever their home placement is. You get to know them and their case, finding out what their desires are and then you make your recommendations to the courts based on what you feel is in the child's best interest.
That day before leaving church, we signed up for our training classes. It was not hard, but was very educating. After 30 hours of training, we went to court and were sworn in. We received our first two cases that day. I can’t say that I wasn’t nervous…..I wondered if I was going to be good enough for these kids. The first time meeting them I had to confess that they were my guinea pigs, I was brand new to this but promised to do my best! It has been an experience I’ll always be thankful for! I went into this roll thinking about how much I wanted to make a difference in someone else's life. I was unprepared for how much these kids would impact me! 15 months later and I still have the same two cases. We have built a great relationship and I am better because of them.
My exposure to “the system” has greatly impacted me. God has used all of this to change me, to open my eyes and my heart to all the innocent that are in need. I am fully aware of how abundantly God has blessed me and my family, but in a way that I cannot just sit back and soak it all up. Rather so that I can be a blessing to others, to pass on this love that I have been so freely given! My husband and I say to each other often how we love intensely, we love fiercely and without conditions. That is something that every single child deserves. We have the ability to share this with one who may have never known how it feels to be loved.
We have loved serving as a GAL this past year and a half, and we recently completed our training and received our license to foster as well. Now we are just waiting on our first placement. I wholeheartedly believe that more is to come. There is a stirring in my heart and I believe that God is going to open more doors and I am anxiously awaiting to see what comes next!
Every choice, every decision, has a ripple affect. If we can make a difference in the life of one foster child, then who knows what they can do, and who they can affect next. If more people were willing to step out, to leave their comfort zone, to give of their time, resources and their love, then who knows how many lives could be changed!