The time has finally come. Tonight is the first night of the training Ed and I will go through to become foster parents and possibly adoptive parents! We will be training throughout the month of February and will hopefully have a child (or children) in our home by this spring. We're so excited about it. I wanted to share just a little bit of our story and how we got to this point. I hope that, by reading our story, other families will see the need for foster parents and will get involved.
My mom said it well last when she said, "When you are obedient to God's call, He equips you to do what He called you to do." I am still amazed at the changes in my attitude and desires lately. It was just a few months ago that God put foster parenting and/or adoption on my heart. My answer was always the same: "We don't have the money for any more kids. We like our life just the way it is." Over the following few weeks, however, I was surrounded by foster parenting. I would hear a conversation at the mall, I'd hear people on t.v. talk about being raised in foster homes, I started coming across blogs by people who foster/adopt kids, etc. It was everywhere! It almost became comical to me. I would be watching a show and someone would say in passing that they were raised in a foster home. I would look at Ed to see if he noticed it too. This was not going to go away!
I finally took that first step and talked to Ed about the possibility of doing foster care. To my surprise, he didn't object! What was going on here? Was this the same man who said a few years ago, "Do you really think we can afford 3 kids?" You can imagine my surprise when he was just open to this! Since then, though, I have been even more surprised by the change in me. After spending about 1.5 hours in an informational meeting about foster care, there was no turning back. I can honestly say that I walked out of that meeting and have not one time thought about the money factor. Not once! It's not a concern for me at all.
My concern, from that night on, has been for these children that are getting tossed around and all too often lost in the system. I realized that we, as Christians, have been missing the boat. I'm including myself in this group too. We have been too content and too self-centered. We like having our little family just the way we planned it. I know because I was there! I have always wanted 3 kids, I had my 3 kids, and that was it. I like my life! I see now that it's not just about me. So many kids need homes and families, and too many of us have wonderful christian homes to offer, but we don't want our lives inconvenienced.
I found out a startling statistic at the meeting I attended. The "cut-off" age for children waiting to be adopted in the state of Indiana is eight. Now, that doesn't mean that you can't adopt a child over the age of eight. It means that if a child isn't adopted by the time he is 8 years old, the chances of him being adopted are slim to none. Eight years old! They're still so young! They also pointed out that the state so badly wants these children adopted that they will pay money to the adoptive family every day until he/she is 18 (sometimes 20) years old! How sad that no one is there to help.
Another troubling thing I noticed is that there are so many people who ARE passionate about helping these kids. Gay and lesbian couples are fighting tooth and nail for the right to adopt these children. Why are we, as Christians, not as passionate as these people to save these children? We have so much to offer them, and yet we don't.
I'm so excited to get started in this process. So much has taken place already. Even during the one hour I spent at my informational meeting, change took place. The meeting began by the case worker asking who was there for the purpose of adopting and everyone raised their hand except for me. I was interested strictly in fostering. By the time I got home, I was talking to Ed about adoption. Fast forward a few days ahead and we were talking about the possibility of getting a 15 passenger van (instead of a minivan) because we can take more children in that way!
I just can't wait for what God has in store for our family. I just asked Ed last night if he ever thinks about what our family will look like 5, 10, or even 20 years from now. Oh the changes that could take place! It's exciting! Please pray for our family as we venture into this new area.
I saw this quote on another blog and thought it was very fitting and worth sharing:
"Children will come in and out of our home, but they will never leave our hearts. My first prayer is that we can be a part of saving families. That is what the children need most. If a family cannot be saved, I pray that we can become a new family. Some will stay and some will go. The right ones always stay."