It’s been more than a year since our precious foster daughter moved out of our home and in with her relatives. And, honestly, despite our wonderful experience overall, I was ready to return to only having our two children in the home again. This entire year, I’ve been content with our two biological children, having no desire to add to our family. But I knew Steve still wanted more.
Not being in the same place as my husband regarding the number of kids we wanted has been a new and troubling feeling for me. We’d talked about having a bunch of kids, both biological and adopted, since we were engaged. We had always been on the same page. Until we weren’t.
A couple of months ago, Steve asked me where my heart was on the adoption issue…was I ready to get back on the list? My answer: No. I don’t want anymore. BUT…I’m willing for God to change my heart. He’s changed it before.
I didn’t want to be a homeschooling mom. But, God changed my heart and now I love the privilege of teaching our children at home.
I didn’t want to add to our family through foster care. But, God changed my heart and blessed me immensely when I dared to trust Him.
As I prayed through this concern, hating the fact that Steve and I weren’t unified on this major issue, I started to see that fear was behind my “lack of wanting” as I called it. I was afraid my having diabetes would get in my way of effectively loving and parenting another child. I was afraid of making the “forever” commitment that adoption entails. I was afraid that the callings on my life to write, to teach, to homeschool would all get pushed to the back burner again. I was afraid I just wouldn’t be enough.
One morning recently, God began to peel away the fear and started to speak directly to this concern. He told me, “You have more to give than you realize.” As I stood testing my blood sugar, I heard those words resonate in my spirit. And, even though my sugar read high at that moment, I understood that He is bigger than that pesky number. Diabetes is no limitation for Him. And, He encouraged me, it is no limitation for me either.
He also revealed something pretty huge: a lie I’ve believed for six years. While I was in the hospital for complications during my pregnancy with my daughter, my doctor asked me if we planned to have more children. I replied, “Oh, yes! We want to have at least five!” His response: “That will kill you.”
In a moment, a huge part of our dream was dashed. And, somewhere along the line, I took this statement and molded it to apply to having children through adoption as well. What my heart began to believe was this: Having children will kill me.
Now, that is not what my doctor said at all. He was referring to biological children only and the negative effects my body experienced with the mixture of diabetes and pregnancy. But, the enemy twisted this statement in my heart and I agreed with it unknowingly. No wonder I was afraid!
A couple of days later, when my heart leapt at the sight of a cute baby on a diaper commercial, I knew God had done a major shift in my heart! Now, instead of dread was a longing. Instead of fear, there was hope.
As if all this wasn’t enough, I dared to ask Him for one more thing: a picture of what my family looks like to Him. Since He sees the past and future as equally as the present, I knew He could give me insight on how our future family could look. And, wow, did He ever answer this request!
Right away, I saw what appeared to be an outdoor family portrait session. There I was, standing with a shrug and a smirk as if to say, “Yep, this is our craziness and it’s awesome!” My husband was diving in between kids with loving tackles and tickling. My son was hovering over a smaller, toddling boy with his usual love and sensitivity for little ones. My daughter sat in the grass, cross-legged, knee-to-knee with a little girl as they both brushed their dolls’ hair. And, I had a sense that there may even be more kids running around just outside the picture’s frame.
God spoke to my heart, “Courtney, you can say ‘no’. You have that option. I will still love you and bless you and your family. You will still walk in your purpose and callings. But, if you say ‘yes’ you will be blessed beyond measure. You will still walk in your callings, though they may look different than what your expectations currently are. Though, honestly, regardless of which path you choose, your calling will look different than your expectations because My timing is not subject to your expectations.”
So, I know we’ll begin moving forward on this soon, preparing to open our home and our hearts again, in fresh ways, to more children and to God-possibilities rather than merely Courtney-possibilities. His are far greater than mine ever could be.
Is there something in your heart that God wants to change? Perhaps something you’ve said “no” to that He wants to shift? Are you willing for Him to move your heart?
Check out more of our journey: getting licensed as a foster/adoptive family, actually living that out, and what happened when it came time to say good-bye. If you’re interested in getting more information about the foster/adoptive process, check out Chosen Ones, an A-MAZING support group for foster/adoptive families and those considering.
So, the raw truth…at first I didn’t want to be a foster mom. As in, I said, “Never!” A string of excuses ensued…
“I don’t want to deal with government bureaucracy.”
“What if I fall in love and can’t let them go?”
“What if we can’t afford it?”
“What if it’s dangerous to our family?”
“How can I explain this to our extended family?”
“What if an angry bio-parent follows us home from a visitation with their child?”
Anyone else know what often happens when we say, “Never!” to God?
I’ve already shared several major steps of our journey already…our vision prior to becoming a foster family…our reality while in the midst…and our trust in God when it came time to say goodbye to our foster daughter.
But there were two things that helped me overcome all those excuses and doubts and fears. God spoke…and He gave us a community of support.
I was preparing a list of questions to ask Randy and Vickie Akins who run a non-profit support group in our area called Chosen Ones. As I readied myself to ask every question in the universe so I could convince myself that fostering was NOT what God had for us, God spoke so clearly to my soul, “You’re going to foster…and it will be okay! Trust Me!” That was it. I knew.
And “Trust Me” would become the theme of what He would speak to me throughout our entire journey of becoming licensed and living in the reality of fostering and, later, letting go. Trust Him. Not what I thought I knew…Not what I’d seen on T.V….Not what fear whispered in my ear…Just Him.
Then came the community of support through Chosen Ones…an overwhelming outpouring that I never could have imagined! Information on local agencies, answers to all my questions and more, real-life testimonies of other foster families, regular support meetings, fun events with other foster/adoptive families, a closet filled with anything we might need to fill in the gaps…clothes…toys…baby monitors and car seats for FREE, meals when we got our first placement, prayers over the phone, prayers through our Facebook group, prayers during monthly support group meetings…and more than I can even recall! The way they embraced us was amazing and so full of love and an eagerness to support us through this journey.
When I first heard the name of the group, “Chosen Ones“, I thought they were referring to the children that would come into these foster and adoptive homes. But after getting more information, I understood that the “chosen ones” were actually the foster or adoptive families! These families would be chosen to care for children who needed a home, either temporarily or forever. To be one of those chosen ones was one of the most humbling things I’ve ever experienced.
The scope of this amazing grassroots organization is immense…their vision huge and continuing to grow! They have expanded from just one support group to several and they continue to meet with local churches to establish new Chosen Ones groups throughout the area. Randy and Vickie amaze me in their willingness to serve and go wherever God has called them to go.
If you are a family considering foster care or adoption, I encourage you to pray for God’s direction and timing. Read our story here and here and here. And, contact Chosen Ones for more information to help answer your questions! If you are in the DFW metroplex, come to an informational meeting or visit a support group for families considering or already actively fostering or adopting.
If you’re already a foster or adoptive family and you need some extra encouragement, support and resources, consider checking out Chosen Ones!
If your church is looking to begin their own foster/adoptive care ministry, contact Chosen Ones for information on how to do that!
If you just want to help in some way by volunteering your time or resources, here are some of their needs! You don’t have to become licensed to foster or adopt to make an impact!
As for our family, for some health and other reasons we have taken a break from fostering and are waiting for God’s direction on returning to it anytime soon or perhaps further down the road. In the meantime, we will continue to be a voice of encouragement to those considering foster care or adoption. We were definitely and immensely blessed to be “chosen ones”! We miss our foster daughter…keep her pictures up…talk about her often with our kids, family and friends…and continue to pray for her health and safety and blessing!
In case you haven’t heard, I am publishing my first book, entitled Refining Identity: Now Found in Christ which will be released this Fall! To see more about this resource, be a part of the publication project or pre-order your copy, visit our FundRazr campaign! God bless!