the foster plunge

I'm really afraid of heights. To the point where I cried on a ferris wheel...and almost passed out on a hot air balloon ride. Its not my strong suit, but I have noticed that the more I step out and do these seemingly terrifying things, I become less afraid and more confident. Sure, my knees still shake a little, but I get more used to the feeling and I can remember all the times I've sucked it up and been brave. I've come to find that a lot of experiences involving heights are pretty worth it! I used to hate flying, but it gets me to my family and friends and saves me driving 2500 miles. Also, that hot air balloon ride was breathtaking and a memory I'll never forget. Along with many other hikes and climbs my husband talked me into, you just can't beat a view sometimes!

I feel like my walk with the Lord is similar in a lot of ways. He asks us to do something and we quiver in fear or pretend we didn't hear Him. But those times we obey and see that the end result is something truly beautiful, we get a dose of courage and excitement. Those moments build our story and we can look back and see how God came through for us in the past and that He is more then capable of handling our future.

Sam and I have always talked about adoption even when we were dating. I remember saying a year into our marriage "if we couldn't have our own children I think I would be fine with growing our family a different way". I soon realized that we did not so easily get pregnant, and I don't think I realized how painful the process would actually be. We wanted to have kids so badly and every month I felt crushed and a bitterness was growing. Everyone around me was pregnant and you just never think you are going to be the one struggling with infertility. We had recently moved to Florida and plugged into an awesome church. I was online one day and read an article about foster care and adoption. It got my wheels turning and I felt like God was trying to get my attention. I felt like the timing was strange and even a little rude, here I am in pain and you are wanting me to look into this?? I told God I would need some confirmation. Well sure enough that sunday at church it just so happens to be Orphan Sunday (what are the odds?) and the worship leader and his wife share about foster care and the huge, staggering need in our county. I'm instantly crying and having that heart thumping moment where you just know God is prompting and convicting you. They talked about a Christian organization out here called A Door of Hope and I was so drawn in by their mission statement and approach to foster care. I had never seriously considered fostering or even totally knew what it meant so it was all pretty new and overwhelming. I shared my heart with Sam later that day and he was very open, but a little overwhelmed himself. I decided to not be too pushy or crazy, as us wives can be, I knew God would bring us to a united decision if it was really what we were supposed to do.

So fast forward a week or so of me trying not to be totally consumed with all this. Its like once I heard all the crazy statistics, like babies sleeping in hotel rooms with case workers because they have no open homes for them, you just feel like you have to do something. I was wrestling with it too though, I kept asking God "are you sure this is the right thing?? Because parts of it seem really awful and painful! I don't think I'm strong enough, I've never even been a Mom!". But all the while I continued to watch Youtube videos, read every foster blog I could find and stalk a few Instagram foster moms for advice! I felt like I couldn't sleep some nights, I was getting excited and humbled at how God was breaking my heart for kids that weren't even mine. I met up with Alicia (who spoke at church and was currently getting involved herself) and asked her a million questions. She has become one of my dearest friends out here and I will always be thankful for the way she encouraged me into this! I explained that my biggest fear was giving these kids back, that it might be too torturous for a couple that so wants a family. I was more comfortable with the idea of adoption because its permanent. Fostering is just so unknown. So risky.

The day we finished our classes and training

The day we finished our classes and training

Once Sam had time to pray and process everything, I saw him jump on board so quickly. We watched the promo video for Door of Hope and he cried (a rare occasion!) and shared his thoughts, which was just what my heart needed. I didn't want to push or convince him into this so I had kept my mouth shut for a while and let God work. And boy did He! As soon as we signed up for the Orientation it was like a whirlwind, but we felt SO much peace. I thought for sure Sam would get scared off, but it was quite the opposite. We both felt like we found such a tangible way to serve the Lord and this ministry is kind of "up our alley" in a sense. It's hard to explain to people sometimes and I'm not being naive, I know it will be an enormous challenge that will knock me to my knees. But I also know God has given us a love for working with kids and He can use our past hurts and trauma we've been through, our testimony, to make a positive difference. This agency is truly wonderful and everything is centered around the gospel, which I love. They teach that we are missionaries on a battlefield, and it won't be easy, but it will be worth it. They got us into fast track classes, we did mountains of paperwork and homework (no joke!), scheduled our home studies and had our interviews. Parts of it seemed absolutely crazy to me, like our licensing specialist taking the temperature of our hummus and jam to make sure our fridge was just right. But hey! I didn't really care, all for the cause.

I'm not gonna lie, its already been an emotional journey and we don't even have our first placement. I know we are on the cusp of something wild and crazy, and the enemy would love to sneak his way in and make me question it all. But we have really seen God work in the big and small details. When He asks you to do something, He is faithful to strengthen you for each day and pretty soon you feel like your excuses and fears are no longer valid! This will be a risky road and we will most definitely get our hearts broken, but that's the point. These kids need love and stability and attachment, even if for a short time. So here we go, cheers to new heights!