May 15, 2012

Foster Care

Since we have started this adoption, my eyes have been opened to all types of adoption.  My heart has been moved not only for international adoption, but for domestic, foster care and any child in need of a home regardless of ethnicity or location.

In March, Trey and I began on the path to become foster parents. To date, we have completed all of our paperwork, fingerprints, background checks, fire & dhec inspections, and 14 hours of class training. All that said and done, we're pretty close to being licensed. One final step before we can receive a placement is having a home study done through DSS. We have our appointment this Friday to have that completed and I'm thinking we'll have our first foster placement at some point this summer. :)
We have always heard there is a great need for good foster parents, but never thought we'd be one of them.  It's amazing how God has worked in our lives since we stepped out in faith to adopt.  We know fostering will be trying, but I know the blessings from it will be great. If we can offer a small slice of what a true family looks like to a child less fortunate, that is enough for me.  No matter how long they are with us, we will do everything we can to help them adjust and be as loved and comforted as possible.  It will be a perfect opportunity to plant seeds of hope into the lives of our youth.  Our aspiration is to eventually adopt from DSS, but for now we are content waiting for our African princess to come home and helping children in need of a stable home along the way.

I know there aren't too many resources out there for perspective foster parents, so if you've ever thought of fostering before, I'd be happy to answer any questions I can. If I don't have the answer, I'll try to point you to someone who can. :) I am praying that more ordinary people like myself will respond to the call to become a foster or adoptive parent. All it takes is just a phone call to get the wheels rolling.

Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me... -Mark 9:37

May 07, 2012

We Said Yes

I have not blogged in a while because, well, the last three months have been hard. I have been doubting our adoption plan and pretty much pouting my way through it. (And I mean huge puckered lip about to break down to a tantrum like a five year old quite frequently type of pouting) Of course my dear husband and my best friend have really been the only ones to see this side of me…bless their souls. Adoption is hard. In the times of waiting with no movement in any direction it’s easy to doubt that this is what the Lord has called us to. I’m embarrassed to share this with you, but I know all too well some others going through the process need to know they’re not alone and their feelings are completely validated.

But alas, my pouting and doubting has come to an end. This past Friday as I was enjoying some pool time with a sweet new friend and our kids, I had a missed call from our agency, Lifeline. I looked at Jenni with I’m sure what seemed to be a stunned face and told her I had a missed call from the agency. I had no idea what they wanted but for some reason I was a little excited. We packed up from the pool and on my drive home I called our worker.

When I got ahold of her, she said I know you and Trey were hoping to adopt two children, but would you be interested in hearing about just one at this time? WHAT?! I couldn’t exactly wrap my mind around it. “So, is this a referral call?!” She said yes, it could be. :) WOW, I couldn’t believe it. I told her I’d try to get in touch with Trey and see if he’d be open to hearing about a potential referral. (Keep in mind, of all the weekends we are to get a referral it happened on the one where Trey was away at a men’s retreat with our church…in the middle of nowhere…with little to no cell service. Getting him on the phone would be a miracle.) I quickly dialed his number and prayed while it was ringing…please pick up, please pick up, Lord if this is meant to be make him pick up. Three rings in he said hello!! I was ecstatic. I was trying to remain calm as I told him we have a referral to listen to and wanted to know if he wanted to hear it or not. His reply was “Of course I want to hear it. You didn’t even have to ask me that.”

So I instructed him to stay by the phone and we’d conference him. On our conference call we were told about a 3 year old little girl. Oh my, Oh my, a little girl. As soon as I heard her age and gender it was all I could do not to sob tears of joy. The day was finally here when we were hearing about our potential child, our potential daughter. We listened in to all the details that they had for us and asked lots of questions. Shortly after our phone conversation we received the email with her picture. She is perfect. From the picture, she looks tall and very skinny. Possibly older than three, but that would be ok because our age range was up to five. She has big brown eyes, short curly hair and little pink dress that pops next to her beautiful African skin.

I told our case worker we’d take the weekend to pray about the situation and let them know our final answer on Monday. This past weekend has been a whirlwind of prayer, discussions and divine wisdom and peace from above. There have been several ways in which the Lord led us to the decision we made. I’ll share a few..
When I opened up the email of her information I saw her name started with a K, which goes perfectly with Kipton. I thought that may be a good sign. Shortly after, I spoke with a friend about our referral and she was so sweet and said she was praying for God to show us the answer through an obvious sign, maybe even her name would be a sign and speak to us. I just about died! I said actually her name is significant to us! Then on Saturday that same friend (who is also adopting through Lifeline) was having a fundraising yard sale and one of her customers had the same name we intend to call K. How wild is that?

Another way the Lord led us to our decision was by the timing of our referral. I mentioned we were doubting our path, but I didn’t mention how much so. We were having such big doubts in ourselves that we had even talked about putting Congo on hold. I even told our worker this a few weeks ago and she had emailed for an update last week. My reply was that we were still holding on to the last bit of hope we had for Congo. I could have easily closed the door then, but something was prompting me…just hold on a little longer. Three days later a batch of referrals came into our agency. Isn’t God’s timing funny?

And finally the ultimate decision maker was Gods word. I prayed and prayed for the Lord to speak to me through his word. When I opened my Bible, the first word I saw was daughter.

After much prayer and study, I believe God has given me his wisdom in this situation. His wisdom is pure and holy. His wisdom is considerate, submissive and impartial. His wisdom is full of mercy. It is with his wisdom that WE SAID YES to a little girl in Africa.