We have the best foster parents! These families sacrifice so much to give children who have been removed from their families due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment a safe, loving, healing environment. Below, a soon-to-be adoptive mom shares her story about her family’s decision to foster, and then adopt. She beautifully expresses her love for these children, their birth family, and hope for all of their futures.
My husband and I knew we were called to become foster parents in 2013 after attending a foster home benefit and hearing the testimony of several teenagers. We both said ‘yes’ in our hearts that day, but only under certain conditions. Our plan was to wait until our two biological children were grown and then open our home to older children like the teenagers we heard speak that night. We were very comfortable with that decision and talked about it often as our future plan. A few years later, however, our good friends (the youth pastors at our church) became foster parents. They allowed us to join them in their journey, and we began to provide respite care for them. We loved being a part of this and each time the children were with us, it filled our home with joy!
Before long, our teenagers started asking us to foster while they were still at home. We still felt our plan was best, and we should wait. We even used the other ministries we were involved in as excuses. After two years of refusing to even pray about it, we began to seek the Lord and consider His timing might be different than ours. We reluctantly signed up for the classes, and after our first training course, we realized God had a better plan than we did. We finished the training and began to pray for both our future foster child/children and their birth families. Honestly though, much of our praying was focused on our own family. We knew we could love foster children, but wanted to prepare our hearts to love the birth families as well. Our goal needed to be focused on reconciling the children to their own parents, and that would be our biggest challenge. We waited and prayed for four months.
Then on March 20, 2017, we got the call‒a 10-month-old and 8-year-old boys. They arrived at our home at 9 p.m., both scared and shaken to the core. The truth that God’s timing is perfect was evident that night. It was, in fact, our biological teenagers who first became the hands and feet of Jesus to these precious, traumatized boys. Honestly, the first few months of their stay seemed like a blur as our family went into survival mode. And the first time we took the boys to visit their birth family, the 8-year-old kept asking if they could come back home to stay with us. Shocked to hear this request, we kept assuring him and fighting back our own tears.
In the months that followed, we formed a wonderful relationship with the birth family, and they were working hard to meet expected requirements. We were loving the boys as if they would never leave and telling ourselves every night that they WOULD leave. We were trying desperately to guard our hearts assuming their stay with us was temporary. During this time, we often had to declare that “all is well” and lean on others for strength and borrowed faith.
Our journey with the boys has had many ups and downs. More than once we thought they would be returning to their birth family. But repetitive bad choices by their biological family have kept them in foster care in our home. And as proof that God had a better plan than we did, we are thrilled that their adoption should be final this summer! Our boys will be our forever family and their birth family will remain a part of their story as well. God showed us that He brought ALL of them into our lives. We realize this seems strange to some people, and it certainly isn’t what we planned. But after many answered prayers, we feel honored that God is calling us to do something so challenging and want to make sure He receives all the glory! We are trusting Him daily for wisdom and strength to continue this process.
This is “our story.” We are thankful for the faith and courage of our two teenagers who wanted us to foster while they were still in our home. We are also thankful for the help and endless encouragement from our family, church family, friends, and Chambliss Center for Children.
We hope our story encourages others to be a part of foster care and adoption in some way. Because even on the worst days, we can honestly say our boys always bring joy‒not always happiness‒but always joy! If we could describe foster care in one word it would be GRACE. Be ready to give grace abundantly; be ready to ask for grace humbly; and be ready to receive grace daily.
By Stephanie Y., Chambliss Center for Children Foster/Adoptive Parent
We are constantly needing new families to take the leap into fostering. If you would like to learn more about becoming a foster parent, please call 423-693-2580 or email email@example.com.