Our story starts like many others: a stirring in our hearts to love on orphans. At first we thought that meant international adoption. But through various closed doors, God said no. Next, we looked into domestic adoption. Again, God said no, and this time gently nudged us in a direction we had never considered in our wildest dreams: foster care.
We didn't know anything about foster care. I had read A Boy Named It at one point for my teaching degree, but otherwise I had NO CLUE what foster care entailed or how big the need was. I had no idea that a normal person like me could be a foster Mom, or that we could change lives just by becoming foster parents.
The process to become foster parents took us two years. The paperwork, home inspections, interviews, classes. For the record, it can take as little as 4-5 months, but we had many life changes in those two years.
In those two years, Theo and I both switched jobs, we moved houses and we had a baby. Yet the entire time we never let go of pursuing foster care.
In August of 2015, two weeks after our daughter Tera turned 1, we were officially licensed foster parents! We waited for that phone call, dreaming every day of who would be joining our family. We were licensed to care for 0-12 years and we were more than willing to accept sibling sets, so we were preparing ourselves for a huge transition! 13 days later after being officially licensed, we got "the phone call." A beautiful newborn baby girl, still in the NICU. Our girls would be just 13 months apart, but we knew immediately that the answer was YES.
On September 21, I walked into the NICU and her sweet Mama handed her to me to take home. Everyone was sobbing all around.
The first few weeks at home are a total blur. I have no idea how I kept both girls alive, but I did! We nicknamed her "Little Miss" for online purposes, and cared for her as our own. Tera and "Little Miss" soon became inseparable sisters, and their bond is something I will always treasure in my heart.
We truly had no idea what we were doing, but by Gods good grace, Theo's steady support and encouragement, and constant prayers and support of our community, "Little Miss" flourished in our home. We were told that there may possibly be severe developmental delays, but she has always been leaps and bounds ahead of the other kids her age. She has a vivacity and excitement for life that just could not be tampered with! This did mean that she rarely napped and always, always expressed her opinions, which was certainly a challenge for me!
We had our fair share of ups and downs, and the cast of characters in her life were many. We learned to juggled the meetings, appointments, and opinions and all the while being unsure of her "game plan" (back to Mom or move out of state or live with kin). It seemed like it changed every week, and after months of ups and downs and unknowns, I finally learned to just take it one day at a time.
After 9 months in our home, we got the official news that she would be moving to live with her kin out of state. On June 14, we said goodbye, this time me handing her to a new Mom, but again, everyone was sobbing all around.
It was difficult, being a foster parent. It was challenging g the entire 9 months. Saying goodbye was (and is still) heartbreaking. But it was worth it. So, so, soooooo worth it. I would do it again in a heartbeat. And we will do it again! We have agreed to take a month off after each placement, and after that take it one phone call at a time! We are currently expecting a baby boy due in October, and while we are unsure of the timing of taking another placement, we are confident that God knows.
The passion that God has ignited in our hearts for foster care is like nothing else I have ever felt. It's a broken system, made up of broken people (including us!), but the change to make a difference.