How God Weaves a Family

21 08 2008

I discovered Laura in a search for like-minded parents who were also experiencing the crazy life of foster parenting. I have been challenged and encouraged by her thoughts on God’s heart for these precious children, as well as for their parents. It has been an incredible blessing to share our hearts and the things we are learning through this process. This is her story…

The seed, the idea of adoption, was planted before either of our biological children arrived.  When we were told that we might not be able to conceive, adoption became an exciting option. Ultimately, we did conceive, twice. We were and are thrilled to be parents of two healthy biological children, ages 8 & 5. As our family has grown and matured, it was as if a person or two… or even three, were missing.   It wasn’t a sadness, or a reduced sense of happiness; just an odd feeling that those chairs at our table were meant for someone permanent.

In August of 2006, our hearts were convinced that we were to adopt a child through the Texas foster care system.     So, we began training to be an ‘adoption only’ home.    During training Covenant Kids, the Christian agency we were working with, asked everyone ‘adoption only’ to pray about being a foster or foster-to-adopt home.   God slowly began to show us that this was not about us … but about His love for His children.   So, we agreed to be a foster-to-adopt home, willing to take a risk that these children would not be ours forever.  

After much preparation, our home was officially licensed with CPS through Covenant Kids on Valentine’s Day 2007.   What a day to start this amazing journey!

Two short days later we received our first placement, an infant girl who had been abandoned in Dallas.  We loved her instantly.    From the very second I saw her face, all of the doubt about my ability to love another child vanished.     She quickly became our ‘baby girl’ and a part of our everyday life …   She was our precious jewel, I called her “mi hija bonita.”

The chances of her staying with our family were very, very high when no one came forward to claim her after 30 days, then 60 days, then 90 days …     But God had other plans for her life and for ours.  The surprise call came out of the blue….   Our precious baby girl had brothers.   Two completely opposite responses surfaced almost immediately…   First response – Praise God! Two brothers!    Second response – No, it simply cannot be!   We had it all planned out, we’d already decided on her name, her bedroom, her first car, where she would go to college… OK, so not quite that far. But we LOVED her.   We drifted back and forth between these two responses until we finally just began to accept.   We decided to take the gift for what it had been, pure joy!

We had the unbelievable blessing of watching a child unfold; of witnessing the transformation of a little one reaching out to a family who desperately loved her. How could we even ask for more?

Was this our ‘plan’, our ideal situation? Absolutely not. But did we finally rest in peace after wrestling with God? Absolutely.

We began asking some big questions about our faith …  What exactly is God asking us to do when we love another? Are we to love only when we receive love in return? Are we to ‘guard our hearts’ and only love in pieces? Or are we to love with our complete selves expecting absolutely nothing?

Often people comment to my husband or me, “Oh, I could never be a foster parent because of the hurt of letting go.” The letting go hurts; yet, when we make statements such as the one above, are we really allowing God’s love to work in and through us?

This is such a difficult thing. I do not claim to understand the depth of God’s love for humanity; nor do I claim to understand the love we are to show to a hurting world. I do know this – such a love, one that exists beyond all self-motivation, is supernatural. It is of God. It is impossible for us, as believers, to ‘create’ on our own.

So, the question we had to ask …  can we allow God to lovingly work through us, trusting that He will ease the grief of letting go? In other words, do we really trust God with our hearts?

We did not jump back in immediately.  We decided to provide respite care for other foster families…  Respite is  short-term care for foster children when other foster parents need a break of some sort.   During our 2 respite placements, God showed us that we could feel the same intensity, the same depth of love for other children.    We found out that our calling to be foster-to-adopt parents was really from God;  the love we felt was His love toward these children.

Our next placement was a baby boy, we call him Gabey-baby.   Even as they were bringing Gabey through the door, I thought to myself, “what if I cannot do this again?” But there he was. The choice was already made. He was to be loved by me, at least for now.   What a privilege it is to love him!

With Gabey’s case, we had an even more difficult proposition to consider – loving the ‘someone else’ who caused this child to be considered neglected, abandoned, abused and unloved.   We have struggled with this idea.    I do remember the very first night we had ‘baby girl’ … my sweet husband was up all night worrying that there was a Mommy somewhere searching for her baby. You see, although ‘baby girl’ was abandoned in a very ugly place, my husband still believed in a mother’s love…   

So, how exactly do you love someone who does this to a helpless, innocent, child?  Just like we love any other person… Only with the miraculous, life-changing Spirit of God can we view people through His eyes and not our own.  

For a time, Gabey had weekly visits with his Mom and extended family.   I was not doing well in the area of loving his Mom…. I began to pray for God to peel back the layers of my own prejudice and judgment and allow me to see Gabey’s Mom for who she was.    And, God was faithful to do just that.

Every week for his visit, I would send pictures and a note written from Gabey to his Mommy.   And, then one week,  I received a note in return.   Funny, when you put a face on someone and you read words of gratitude, it is very difficult not to sympathize and even ‘like’ that person.   Brutal honesty, I did not want to like her. But I found that I sort of did…  you see, she and I are connected by this precious baby.    She gave this child life!

Even then, I did not desire to meet her in person.  Never did I fathom that I could look her in the eyes and see a woman more like me than I ever imagined or wanted to admit.   In fact, I remember saying to God that I could never actually do it, meet her I mean. And then, the letter came. CPS wanted us to meet with the caseworkers and Gabey’s Mommy to discuss permanency plans. Unbelievable!  The very one thing I did not think I could handle had come to pass.  

Honestly, it turned out to be a surprise blessing. I cannot clearly explain in words what it did for me to see her in person. I do know this… she went from being this negative image in my mind to being a living, breathing person, in the flesh. I saw our similarities.   She and I are both fallen human beings who have made poor choices and are in need of a Savior. It really became that simple.  In her, I saw a Mommy’s love shining through, I saw a heart and mind capable of so many things.

After that meeting, our prayers changed.  We believed and still believe, without a doubt, that Gabey’s Mommy can change and we believe in the One who can speak to her heart.   We began to pray that she would see God’s hand everywhere she turned.   Believe it or not, as a family, we were actually praying that she would have a chance at getting Gabey back.    

That was not God’s plan.   After a series of serious missteps, she relinquished her parental rights to Gabey at the end January, almost 8 months after he arrived at our home.   We will adopt Gabey very soon.    More importantly, God has been faithful to Gabey’s Mommy, too.  She recently accepted Christ as her personal Savior.  Praise God!    We continue to write occasional letters to one another in the hopes that one day Gabey will have the choice to meet his biological Mommy, if he chooses.

But, our story does not end there.    Shortly after Gabey arrived, we were selected as the adoptive family for another little boy, our Adam.    His parental rights had been terminated before we ever met him.   When he came to live with us, we knew he was going to be a part of our forever family.   His adoption was finalized earlier this year.   We rejoice over this one who has found a permanent home in our midst.

There is no doubt that we, as believers, are to care for those who are unable to care for themselves. For our family, that means physically doing the caring. For other families, it may mean something altogether different. That is what I love about God… we all have a different task and we are perfectly equipped to complete the task that He asks of us.

It all boils down to faith for me. Do I trust that the God of the universe cares for our family? Do I really believe that He knows these children and will care for them? Do I really believe He loves me and knows what my heart can handle? Do I really believe that He will work all things together for His good?  I do.

This is my lesson… If God had pulled back the curtain and shown me what 2007 was going to look like, I would have said ‘No thank you, this heart can’t handle that. You’ll have to pick another girl.’    And I would have missed it all!

God has promised to be a Father to the fatherless; yet, He allows us to participate in this exciting task.  Incredible.   Won’t you join Him?




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