Waaaaay back in January of 2001, I went to Romania on a short-term missions trip with a team from my alma mater, Cornerstone University. We spent our time loving on babies and young children who had been abandoned at a particular hospital in Bucharest. By the end of our time there, I so badly wanted to sneak a few of those sweet babes home with me.
Of course, customs would frown on finding a baby in my carry-on.
And I was only 18. A freshman in college.
I didn’t get to sneak a baby home with me. And I have not yet returned to Romania.
But God knew that that trip would plant a seed deep in my heart.
Sometimes it takes a long time for God’s purposes in us to blossom and bloom. It’s been 14 years since that missions trip. For someone in her early 30’s, 14 years is a long time. And yet, God’s perfect timing comes to pass.
For 14 years, the idea of God’s grace and love for the orphaned, the abandoned, the unloved has wound its way around and around inside my heart.
The idea that God is a Father to the fatherless. And we as His children are the ones to show His love to them.
A few years back, Luke and I listened to the audio book The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns, and it inspired us to stop being overwhelmed by the vastness of the sin problem in the world and just do something. We can’t rescue all of the children. But we can do something. So we started sponsoring kiddos through Baptist Haiti Mission, one at a time until each of our four kids had a Haitian “brother” or “sister” his or her age to sponsor / encourage / pray for / send gifts to.
That was a great small step for us.
Then God dropped Dana into our church family. She was a former missionary to South Africa who had a nursing degree and had adopted a little African girl. Here in the States, she fell in love with one of her mom’s medically fragile foster children and adopted her as well. And she began her own journey as a foster mom to medically fragile kiddos.
Her ministry in the foster care realm has totally changed the culture of our church family in regards to orphan care. In these last 9 years or so, foster care and adoption has become much less intimidating and more accessible. It’s much less overwhelming to think about foster care / adoption when some of your closest friends walk that path and you experience it up close and personal.
Since 2009, 5 of Dana’s foster kiddos have been adopted into families in our church (not including her own daughter, of course).
Still, I didn’t see it coming, the crazy plans that God has for us.
In the fall, during our studies of Moses in BSF, I felt a stirring in my heart. I really felt that I needed to be ready for whatever it was that God was calling me to. If I took a walk in the desert and came upon a burning bush, I wanted to be ready to go wherever God called, and do whatever task He had for me.
Then came the waiting.
I was ready and willing to do what God has for us…now what?
Honestly? I hate waiting. It’s uncomfortable. I would much rather know exactly what’s coming and be able to plan for it…than to just wait and trust that God’s purposes and timing will come to pass.
Then in November, a teeny baby boy was born, and at 2 days old he went home to live with Dana as her newest foster son.
Over the course of the months since then, our entire family has fallen head-over-heels in love with him. We didn’t all find ourselves in the same place emotionally at the same time. We didn’t even necessarily agree on the path God wanted us to take. There was a lot of seeking wise counsel and praying fervently.
But oh, to have walked through the waiting and the uncertainty and the struggles, to a place of great beauty…It is so God.
I wish I could show you all a picture / video of him. He is so delightful. You would surely love him, too.
So in February, we began the process to become licensed foster parents – classes, paperwork, home study, etc, etc.
We are so overjoyed to tell you that as of yesterday, we are officially licensed. And as of today, we are officially the foster parents of that darling Baby Boy.
We thought we were done after 4 kids. I thought I’d be forever finished with diapers and potty training. No more waking in the night or early mornings.
Today I got up at 5:30am with him.
But it’s ok. Because at this moment, I’m fully aware that the only reason we can do this is that while we were still His enemies, Christ loved us. The ONLY reason I can love a child that is sometimes inconvenient and fussy and poopy and quirky in ways that only his genetics can explain is that Jesus loved me first.
When I was covered in sin, Jesus loved me. So even when it’s inconvenient or hard, we will show that love to Baby Boy.
And I am so blissfully happy.