Friday, September 10, 2010

How we got to here...

Since we got married in 2006 adoption and foster care was a topic that crossed our conversation often.  We both felt it was something that we wanted to eventually do.  Eventually, as in we would have our biological children first, and then when they were in high school we would start foster care.  It was easy to talk about it like that because it was something that was in our distant future, didn't require any immediate action, just conversation.

Now that we have Camden and Andersen the idea of parenthood isn't an idea... it's a reality.  We also realized that everything we do is revolved around the boys and we love it.  We're great at changing diapers, giving baths, making bottles, reading books, playing trains, singing songs and the list goes on and on.  We love being parents.

When I was pregnant with Andersen I had a conversation with a friend from church about foster care.  In that short conversation I learned a lot.  I learned there were private organizations you could go through to do foster care rather than going straight through the county.  I learned you could be specific as to the ages you would be willing to take.  This friend's cousin only took infants.  I couldn't stop thinking about getting started in foster care.  This is the moment God really put foster care on my heart.  I started thinking about what it would be like to have even more little ones in our home and seemed like it could be a reality... I talked to Brian and we decided we needed to wait until I had Andersen before we got started on anything, maybe it would be "safe" to start when Andersen was a year old... maybe.  That made sense so again the foster care topic was put into the back of our minds.

Every time it would cross my thoughts I would feel so convicted to get involved.  The idea made my stomach turn and I often found myself thinking things like, "I have two babies under the age of two, there's no way this is a good idea".  There were so many reasons I gave myself for it NOT being a good idea.  The main one was, "People will think we are crazy!"

Last spring in my Wednesday evening bible study group we were asked to come prepared to share how we plan to use our God-given gifts, time and talents until Jesus returns or God takes us Home.  As I was thinking about this I wrote down the easy obvious answer on my paper.  Working at the preschool both during the week and on Sunday mornings I get to share God's love with the little ones all the time and I love that.  So I wrote what I was currently doing - teaching preschool.  My stomach was turning again and I knew that that what I wrote was true and I was using my spitiutal gifts on a daily basis... but deep down I knew I was called to foster care as well.  That evening in class when it came time to share I gave my written answer and lead into how much I loved children, not just my own children but every one else's too.  Half jokingly I said something like, "One day i'd like to open up an orphanage or something so I can give kids that need it a great home". 

Quite a few weeks later Brian and I seriously started talking about what foster care would look like in our lives.. not our future lives but our immediate lives.  We realized that having little ones in the house requires a lot of "stuff" and that our house was well equipped.   We both agreed that we are loving these stages now but once our boys are in high school there's a good chance we wont want to go back to the "baby" stage.  We both felt like we were being moved to start seriously thinking and praying about foster care sooner rather than later.

About the same time I went to my last Bible study of the semester.  It was at one of our group leaders house.  After dinner we were sitting around her dinning room table and some how the foster care idea came up.  I expressed how much God had put it on my heart and how I was nervous and scared.  I acknowledged the fact that I was worried about everyone thinking we were crazy and that was one of our biggest hesitations.  Of course at this point I was tearing up, it didn't help that my mom was sitting right across from me and she was tearing up too. One of my Bible study partners told me about her cousins (we'll call them the "B" family) who were doing foster care through a private organization.  They started it when their kids were very young and even continued to do it while she was pregnant with their third.  When I got home that night I started looking up several organizations in our area.  Brian and I talked about it further and we knew it was time to get started, but still were not sure how we were going to go about it.

About a week later we were put into contact with the "B" family .  After about an hour long conversation and A LOT of questions and more internet research we decided we would go through the organization they were using, Koinonia Family Services

We made the call to the Modesto branch and told them about our desire to become foster parents. She asked me several questions as part of a pre-screening they do.  Once we "passed" that part she got our address and sent us the first packet.  We were so excited when it came, I couldn't wait to fill out the paper work.. little did I know it was the first of much much more!

 So here we are now 6 months later.  We've finished all of the paper work, the home inspection, the initial 2 hour adoption training, the 8 hour foster care training, one set of finger printing and cpr/first aid training.  We have one more 8 hour adoption training left next weekend and one more set of finger prints to do.  After that we'll be certified to do foster care and to adopt.

The certification process should be done by the end of this month.  After that we'll be set up with a social worker who will get to know our family and do a home study on us.  Then they will "market" us to the county and when there's a match we will get our first foster child. This will probably happen around the time Andersen turns one... apparently God thought waiting till then was a good idea too.

We decided to do the adoption certification process now because although we're not planning on adopting any time soon we knew we may want to in the future.  More importantly we know there's a chance we will have a foster child in our home that will become "adoptable" and we need to be prepared to make that permanent decision if God leads us that way.

We look around our house daily and aknowledge how much we have been blessed.  We have two extra beds and a crib that just sit empty night after night.   Nothing we have been given is ours.  It belongs to God and we need to use it to further HIS kingdom.  We know and believe foster care is what God has called us to do and we are excited about it!  Of course we still get a little bit nervous, but you know that feeling I was having?  That convicting feeling in my stomach like I was supposed to be doing something that I was avoiding?  Well once we started the certification process it went away.   That was affrimation we were moving in the direction God wanted us to.

Brian and I are so lucky to have the same vision and goals for our life.  Through this process we have become even more connected.  We know it's going to be a lot of work, but being parents in general is a lot of work and we love it.  I feel blessed every day to have a husband who loves God, desires me and adores our children.  Any children that come through our home will be lucky to have him as a male role model in their lives.

Knowing that God has prepared in advance good works for us to do, this verse is a great inspiration to us and a daily reminder of how we need to live.  At the end of His life on earth  Jesus prayed to God and said "I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do." John 17:4.

Lord, you are awesome and mighty.  Prepare us during this time to do your work and to serve you.  Keep us strong and protect our family from anything that is not from you.  We love you! Amen


Anonymous said...

Mary this is AMAZING. What an extraordinary gift and calling you guys have. This story was encouraging to me in that you were willing to surrender yourselves to what God has planned for you no matter where it leads you or what people think...Sean and I have been/are still in that place too. Love you guys. Can't wait to see how the Lord will use your family for His kingdom. xo.

teenie said...

this sounds amazing mary. i haven't really stayed in contact with you since APU, but i'm so happy to read about all the good things God is doing in your life.

i can't wait to hear more about this journey your family is on!

christina xo
{etsy shop}

Melissa said...

Awesome. Spectacular. Thanks for the update. I know God's magnificent hand is leading and guiding. For His glory. Hugs, m