I thought it would be appropriate to start with "our story" to give people a little insight into how we got where we are now - which is getting ready to be foster parents for those that may not know. It has not been the easiest road and I know it will only get harder, but we are SO incredibly thankful for where God has taken us and excited to walk in this with Him. Oh and get comfortable - this is a long one!
I guess it started about a year ago when we decided we wanted to start a family. We tried for several months and soon came to realize that maybe God had other plans for us. This was extremely hard for me, Kristy, to accept. I didn't understand why it was so easy for others and why God would choose not to "bless" us in that way. One of our close friends were doing foster care during this time and although I was aware of this option, I never imagined us going down THAT road. To be honest, I never thought I would be content without a biological child. Throughout our 10 or so months of "trying" I had feelings like - "I'll miss out on stuff that you can't have with foster/adoptive kids (pregnancy, baby showers, sonograms, the day you find out what you are having, giving birth, etc.)", "what will people think?", "people won't look at us like 'real' parents," "people will think that we settled for adoption." All these thoughts had such a hold on my heart, and now I'm almost ashamed to say them. Then something cool happened - God changed my heart. Each month we didn't get pregnant, I could feel those thoughts and feelings loosen and not really matter all that much. Through scripture, prayer, my sweet husband, and friends, God showed me that those things aren't important. I've learned so many things throughout this process. I've realized that God's plan is soverign and He knows me better than I know myself. That only God can make your heart content. That it's not about me and what I want for our family - it's about serving God. That "our" kids will not be "ours" whether they are biological or adopted...they belong to God. That you have to find joy in the plans that God has laid out for your life, even if it's not what you want or expected. And that you can and should figure out a way to turn your disappointment into a blessing. We truly feel blessed that we are able to serve God in this way and take care of the fatherless. I would have never expected to feel this way a year ago.
So - after about 10 or so months of trying we decided that we are not going to take "expensive" or "drastic" measure to try to get pregnant. We realized that we just wanted a family - it didn't matter where they came from. We were invited to attend an adoption conference in October (I think) where our eyes and ears and hearts became open to adoption. We actually started out thinking we would do international or domestic adoption. I remember thinking "fostering is just too scary and sad." International/domestic adoptin felt "safe" and "easier." Umm hello - hadn't I learned anything through all of this?? God doesn't usally ask us to do the "easy" or "safe" things, does He? One of my friends said "if your life is easy, you're probably not doing the right thing." So after dinner and discussion with this said friend and her husband (who now are on their 3rd placement of foster kids and have adopted a beautiful baby boy...check out God's AMAZING story for this boy here), God fully loosened those strongholds that were on my heart and gave me a DESIRE to be a foster parent. Crazy, huh? Psalm 37:4 had a new meaning. These were certainly not my desires when we started on this journey, but God gave them to me. What a blessing! I remember Dave and I also thinking "how can we not?" Our eyes had been opened to the need and we were reminded and made more aware of God's calling for everyone to "look after orphans." We realize that everyone is not called to adopt or foster, but we do believe that everyone is called to care for the fatherless in some way. We are just thankful that God has given us this opportunity to serve Him in this way. And don't get me wrong, we are not doing it "all" correctly...by any means. God calls us to do a lot of things and there are certainly areas where we need to do better.
I think that bring us pretty much to today. We made the decision to move forward with foster care about 2 months ago and we've been trying to prepare our home and hearts for what comes next. So what comes next you ask? Well...after completing our "to do" list from our agency (more on that later) and each filling out our 29 page application (well actually Dave has already done his and I have yet to start, although I set a '3-page-a-day' goal about a week ago), we will take training classes at the end of January/beginning of February. Then, as far as I know, we will just have our homestudy (which can take a while, or so I've heard), until we are open for kids! I'm expecting that we will have kids in our home around late March-early April.
Again - we are so thankful for "our story" which is really God's story that He graciously chose to include us on. We know it's not going to be easy and although I talked a lot about my changing of heart, I certainly still have days where I'm scared, nervous, anxious, fearful, and sad. But I know this is where we are supposed to be and I know God will carry us through. I think we are mostly excited about loving kids who need love, God's love. Sharing Jesus with them and showing them what a life with God can look like. Every time I think of these things I think "wow! how lucky ARE we??" I know there will days where I don't feel so "lucky," but I'm hoping the good days will outweigh the bad.
So - what can you do? Pray. Please pray for us. Pray for the kids that are coming. Pray that God will give us the right words to say to make them feel welcome. Pray that they will end up in a home that looks to Jesus...whether that be our home or someone else's. Pray that God will prepare us for this journey. Thank you so much for listening and being a part of this with us. You are already helping just by praying. We thank you for that!!
Now that I've caught you up to speed, I'm excited to share this journey with you! Thanks for reading - I know it was a long one.