Today, we have a special treat here on the blog! In honor of National Adoption Month, blogger Naomi from Living Out 127 is sharing about her family's experience with foster care. And I couldn't be more blessed to have her here.
Adoption is something close to my heart. Not only have I been adopted into the family of God through Christ's work on the cross, Jon and I have been praying about the possibility of becoming adoptive parents, too. I don't know how the Lord will lead us, but if He chooses to open the door to adopt, we will be thrilled!
Adoption and foster care come with a lot of uncertainty - it definitely can be considered one of life's hallways! Naomi raises and excellent question below: what if fostering a child causes our other children difficulty? It's definitely something to consider, and she does an excellent job of sharing how her family handled this delicate situation.
What if Doing Short Term Foster Care Causes Our Children Pain and Confusion?
It was 9 am in the morning when we got the call. An interim placement was needed for a newborn girl – were we available?
Our homestudy had been approved a month earlier, and we have been anxiously awaiting a call. Just not this kind. An interim placement is short term – not at all the adoption match we were pursuing.
With three children aged four and under, we had elected to pursue only legally free children, to avoid a child being placed and then moved from our family. Our fear was that it would be hurtful or confusing to our kids. And like most parents, we wanted to help them avoid pain and confusion. God, in His great mercy and heavenly wisdom had better plans.
The phone call had come as I was packing our family’s bags. We had been across the country, visiting my husband’s family. I muted the phone and explained the situation quickly to my husband, who to my complete surprise, agreed. I picked the call back up and explained that our flight wouldn’t land until close to midnight, and we would not be arriving home before 2 am. The social worker assured me that it was fine, baby would stay in the hospital an extra night, and be brought to our house by 10 the following morning.
I quickly called my mom and explained the situation. She and my siblings graciously went to our house and did a quick cleaning, stocked the fridge, and detailed our family van. She ran to the store and picked up diapers and formula. We had no idea of all she had done before she picked us up from the airport!
When Blessing arrived, we instantly fell in love with her. She was tiny and perfect, with cupid lips and spirally jet-black hair. She rarely cried, and cooed contentedly. Our three kids watched over her protectively and gazed at her with admiration. It was truly beautiful to see how they loved her completely.
Out of all of our children, our son was the most taken with this beautiful baby girl. At three, he took the job of big brother quite seriously! He helped pick out her outfits, got her binkie, and gently patted her back to burp her. The very first thing he did every morning was ask for “baby.” He showered her with unconditional love.
For 13 days Blessing was a part of our family. Funny how writing that makes it sound like such a short time. How do you fall completely in love in 13 days? Oh, but we did. Our kids did. These three young children who we intended to protect from pain and confusion were suddenly faced with the task of saying ‘goodbye’ to this baby girl they’d claimed as their own.
My heart broke as I said goodbye, but it broke anew as I saw the tears in the eyes of our children. And again, the next morning, as I gently explained to our son why “baby” was no longer there. They were pained at having loved her, only to have her leave. They were confused about why she needed us to take care of her, and then she didn’t.
But the pain birthed purpose, and the confusion birthed compassion. You see, God had a plan far greater than anything I could have comprehended. His plan was to stretch our hearts – all of our hearts – and reveal His faithfulness. His plan was to teach each of us the beautiful truth that missing someone when they’ve gone is just evidence that you love them well.
It has been four years since Blessing stayed with us, and our children still talk about her occasionally. When she comes up in conversation, we pray for her. And our son still has a picture of the two of them together. It is something he treasures. Evidence that the pain and confusion birthed purpose and compassion in the heart of a little boy. Evidence of the faithfulness of God to write a better story than we could ever imagine.
Naomi loves Jesus. She is married to her best friend, John. They have six amazing, beautiful kids, two of whom have been adopted from the foster care system. Naomi homeschools their tribe of world changers. She is a type-A, list-making, change-fearing girl living an adventure that demands flexibility, spontaneity, and constant change! Through her words, she prays you'll find something that points your heart to the Dream Giver and the Author of each of our stories - Jesus.
Naomi is the author of Don’t Waste Your Wait: Embracing the Journey of Bringing Your Child Home. She writes over at her site, Living Out 127, and has done a number of speaking engagements and trainings for prospective and current adoptive and foster families. Please feel free to follow Naomi on her social media channels below!