At the time of this posting, my husband and I have been married for eleven years. As Christians, we marvel at God’s grace that He has “adopted” us into His family (Galatians 4:4-6). As such, my husband and I have always dreamed of demonstrating God’s unconditional love to another through the adoption of a child into our family.
We have been blessed beyond what we deserve with four healthy biological children. We have a nine year old daughter, Bethany, who has taken to writing “another child” at the bottom of every grocery list I have made for the past two years. We have a seven year old son, Bryce, who speaks of us fostering in the same vain that he speaks of us playing games, going to the beach, setting bedtime at 8:30, etc. Very matter of fact. He knows other families that foster, so perhaps in his youthful world view choosing to foster is relatively common place and no different than choosing to, drive a mini-van, or raise chickens. We have a six year old girl, Leah, who is by far the most empathetic and tender-hearted of the bunch, and yet the most vocally reluctant about fostering. She has raised questions such as, “if we get a foster baby will you love that baby more than you love me?”. Despite her extremely astute and honest questioning, she is by far the most likely to become attached and not want to let go. She reminds us of our need to be sensitive to our children as we embark on this journey. Fourthly, we have a boisterous, crazy two year old boy, Nate, whose energy and fearlessness have caused us to seriously consider requesting a girl next :).
I became a Christian in my early twenties. Doing well in school, not using drugs, etc. I thought I had it “all together”. God broke me and revealed to me my sinful heart and desperate need for a savior. I put my trust in Christ, and my life and my priorities changed. Now, my faith defines who I am and my priorities. I homeschool my four children three days a week and they attend a University Model School two days a week (a nifty schooling option we’ve discovered since moving to Texas). I also have the privilege of working one day a week or so as a pediatrician in a bustling children’s emergency department in downtown San Antonio. Our patient population is almost entirely medicaid, mostly hispanic. I’d be hard-pressed to choose which of my very different jobs I love more, I enjoy being in the hospital, I enjoy being at home, and each causes me to appreciate the other even more.
My husband, Erik, also came to know the Lord shortly after college. Since then, he has always marveled at his own, unmerited adoption into God’s family and as such, has envisioned adopting a child at some point. Erik is generally characterized by his steady-emotioned, analytical, calculating, engineer-type nature. But, he has an adventurous side that keeps us doing things along the lines of tent camping in below-freezing weather with small children. I anticipate that component of his personality will serve him well on this crazy journey. At very least, his enjoyment of thinking “out of the box”, along with a willingness to step-out in faith when it comes to the Lord’s calling on his life, has brought us this far!
In August 2012 we attended our first foster-training class. We left after that four hour class shaking our heads, thinking “we’re just not ready.” From that point I wondered if we would ever “be ready”. Would something so difficult (fostering) ever feel right? Were we putting off something that was hard because we were waiting for some magically, settled time that would never come? Well, in May 2013 we went back to a second class. This time it felt right. Our youngest was just getting old enough that life was calming down. We decided to move forward … with excitement and trepidation!
As you can imagine, prior to now my interactions with Child Protective Services have consisted of making reports of abuse and neglect (“yes, I have a 2 year old who came to the ER after ingesting brownies baked with marijuana”, etc, etc). Now I will get to see a different side of CPS – as we enter the foster system to bring a child/children into our home. Excited? Of course! Terrified? Of course! I suspect we have a healthy dose of both emotions running through our home. In the end, God is in control, and we trust Him ultimately as we step forward cautiously.
My hope in writing this blog is to bring others with us on this journey, that you may experience the roller coaster, the highs and the lows, that you may increase in awareness of the tremendous need for homes for children, that you may even consider if fostering would be right for you. I am not writing this blog to bring glory or praise to us, Erik and I are just two people trying to be faithful to the Lord’s calling and leading in our lives, and completely relying on His strength to enable us to do this. I am also not writing this blog to make fostering look easy, if it is, well then we will have had an unusual experience. We expect it will be hard, but go forward with a hope that it will be worth it.
Thank you for allowing me to share our story with you.