Well. I had planned on posting waaaay sooner than this, but you know… life happened. As in, Christmas break ended, school started back, and we started moving a mile a minute.
I had planned on posting what our plans were for adoption, but again… life happened.
And so if you’re a friend (either in real life or on FB) then you know already… we are entering the world of foster care!
We attended our first meeting last week. It was just an orientation meeting. Honestly, I think the main point of it was so the DCFS worker could (sternly) warn everyone in the room that this was not to be undertaken simply because you want stipend(s) from the state. Which, it’s sad that she has to specify that, but that’s the world we live in.
We begin training in February. Boyd and I are beyond excited! Sometimes at random moments he’ll just look over at me and go, “Babe, I can’t tell you how excited I am about fostering!” It’s pretty surreal. Maybe it will sink in a bit more as we get closer to actually holding a baby in our arms.
The super-nice DCFS employee told us some pretty sobering things. Like, how most babies who enter the foster system as an infant do so because they’ve either 1, tested positive for drugs at birth; or 2, experienced some sort of neglect or physical abuse (broken bones, etc.).
Not going to lie, those things hurt my heart. I can hardly stand the thought of a baby having to detox from drugs, or to think that a baby’s arm or leg was broken. I would not even begin to know how to care for that! But I guess that’s where training will help us, and a whole lot of grace!
I have a few awesome things I want to share about how we got to this point. The first happened over Christmas. The Lord spoke to Boyd & I separately and told us that we needed to visit with some friends at our church who are currently fostering as soon as we got back home to New Orleans. So on the drive from my parents’ house to his grandparents, Boyd asked, “So who do you think we should talk to first when we get home?” I immediately said, “P. & M.” He laughed and said, “Me too! I feel like that’s who we should talk to first!” I got on my phone and emailed M. and we set up a time to meet after church the following Sunday.
Christmas came and went and that Sunday was upon us. That morning I sat in the baby room with my friend Amanda and we hashed out our thoughts and fears over fostering. I laid it out bare and shared my fears and doubts regarding fostering. To be honest, fostering scares the mess out of me! I’ve mentioned a time or ten how emotional I am. The thought of growing attached to a baby and then having to say goodbye seemed almost too much for my heart! I’d even told Boyd a big fat “NO!!!” at one point when he suggested fostering. It was good to hear another adoptive mama could relate to such feelings!
That afternoon we went to meet P. & M. at their house. We sat down and asked them to tell us what we needed to know about fostering. I was expecting facts, statistics – things of that nature. Instead, M. began sharing her heart – about how when they first entered the process they were in it to adopt, but how throughout the process the Lord has changed her heart. She shared that she dealt with the same emotional issues I was worried about, and the Lord comforted her and reassured her that He would heal any hurt she experienced. She then shared how she’s gotten to share the Gospel and the love of Christ with those she’s met through the program – DCFS workers, the children’s birth parents (something she attributed to a total love of God flowing out of her, because seriously, is it even possible to love out of our own strength someone who’s done something to lose their child? I think not.). The conversation eventually moved toward the logistics of fostering, but I was in awe. My jaw was on the floor at the amount of faith I’d seen walked out in P. & M.’s lives. I was so deeply moved by M.’s prayer that one of her sons would be reunited with his mom and that his mom would come to know Jesus and get plugged in and ministered to at our church. It was amazing! And I know it was God-ordained because before that meeting, the only mention of fostering I’d had with M. was, “What time should we come over to talk about it?” She knew none of my fears, none of my reservations. But God knew. And He spoke through her straight to my heart. A really wonderful way of Him saying, “This is your path… oh, and by the way? I got this.”
P. & M. gave us all kind of materials and dates for orientation meetings and training. It was a little crazy to see how soon they were coming up! If ever I’ve felt like we’ve jumped in headfirst to something, this is it! So two weeks after that Sunday, we went to orientation. That was last week. And we haven’t looked back.
Over the course of the training next month, we will celebrate our firstborn turning a whopping 7 years old (how on earth is that possible?) and celebrate 10 years of blissfully wonderful marriage. If you’d asked me on my wedding day where I would see us in 10 years, that answer would not be entering the foster program! But the Lord has a way of working things out in His own perfect timing.
A few more blessings through this journey: 1, we found out because of where we live, there are restrictions to what types of fostering we can do (something to do with insurance; Boyd got all the nitty gritty details). Basically, we can’t be fostering just to foster. We have to foster with the intent to adopt. That didn’t make sense to me at first, because Louisiana certifies you to do both at the same time, so that way when a child is “freed” you can move straight into the adoption process. But after talking with the DCFS worker, it is (unfortunately) common that parents who have fostered a child long-term don’t want to adopt once the child is freed. They want to continue fostering. So our desire to adopt is a blessing for our family in this whole process! It allows us to move forward with the process where we live, and also lets the DCFS know that we’re serious about adopting any child that’s placed with us.
2, We’ve requested an infant. P. & M. told us that infants were not in high demand in foster care, something we found strange considering infants are in very high demand in traditional adoptions. DCFS told us that often infants are placed with families who are willing to adopt because those early years are so formidable for bonding with the child and the child bonding to the foster parents. This was good news for us to hear as well!
Of course, every bit of good news for us has a side of bittersweet. While it’s good news for us and our family, it’s still devastatingly sad that circumstances had to happen in order for a child to be removed from his or her mother. That’s the incredibly hard part. I feel like I already have love stored up in my heart for whatever baby will be placed in our home, and I’m already grieving over those circumstances – and I don’t even know what they are yet! Welcome to my emotional rollercoaster. Good thing I don’t sell tickets! 😉
But I am a firm believer in that the Lord can redeem anything. Jesus said He didn’t come to call the healthy but the sick. And if there’s anything that can transform people, families, relationships, it’s the Gospel.
I am praying for SC. She is soooo excited about getting a baby sister – so excited that she’s telling anyone who will listen. I am praying for protection for her heart and wisdom for how to explain exactly what fostering is so she isn’t blindsided if we end up having a baby that’s returned to her mother. We’ve had several talks already, but it’s something we will continue to drill with her up until we get a baby and while that baby is with us… until we have a finalized adoption.
You may be wondering, how did the grandparents take it? I am super-excited to say all the grandparents were ecstatic. My parents were a little freaked out at first when we first showed them the picture (the one posted at the top of our blog) because they knew it was about a baby, but were afraid it meant I could be pregnant (very Steel Magnolias-ish, in a way). Once we assured them I was not pregnant, they were overjoyed. My mom threw her hands in the air and cried out, “I’m getting another grandbaby!” After we told them we went out to eat and my dad was telling people he knew in the restaurant that he was going to be a grandfather again. As for Boyd’s parents, his mom figured out the card immediately and congratulated us. Boyd’s dad went over to one of his friend’s houses and shared with the entire family that we were adding another baby to the family. They are all quite excited. I had also shared the news with both of my sister-in-laws and brother-in-law, and all three of them were incredibly excited and supportive.
I’ve written about 1,600 words now so I need to wrap this up (and my CC Essentials kids complained about the 3 measly paragraphs they were assigned today – ha!). I find it a bit ironic I’ve written this post on the 40 year anniversary of Roe v. Wade. John Piper wrote an excellent article today about the horror of abortion and our inability to claim ignorance of what we’re doing anymore. I highly, highly recommend taking a minute and reading it.
But once you finish Piper’s article, please, please go read this article. As the author so perfectly states it, it is not enough that we hate death. We need to love life. Is the church ready to step up if Roe v. Wade is ever overturned? Because the responsibility falls to us first. We must be a people who love life as much outside the womb as we do inside the womb.
I don’t know what circumstances will bring a child into our home, but I do know this: that child will be here because the mother chose life. The mother chose not to end the life inside her. Because she values life on however small a level, we will get to have a baby in our home, and one day that baby will be added to our family. Because honestly, for women who lose their babies as infants to foster care, abortion would seem like the easy way out. I am thankful today for that woman, that birth mother, wherever she is, whatever she is doing. And I’m thankful that she’s chosen life in spite of our courts telling her it’s OK not to.