“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’
Then I said, ‘Here I am! Send me.'” – Isaiah 6:8
I’ve been struggling for weeks with how to share this news with the world. I’ve sat down to write this very post many times, only to walk away from it again. Was there some heartfelt or witty anecdote that I could share that would make everyone immediately understand the choice we are making? I don’t think so.
Life is messy. Beautifully, perfectly, joyously messy. And the road that led us to this new place is full of forks, and backtracking, and false starts. So, instead, I’m just going to come out and say it…
We are expecting a baby … but no, I’m not pregnant.
In the coming months, we will be opening our home to foster care, and if the Lord wills, adoption.
Now, we’ve told a handful of people in our inner circle this news ahead of this post being published, and the following have been our most frequent responses. I hope that through this post I can create a greater understanding of how we came to take this step.
The short answer is that we love Jesus, and we want to show our love for Him by ministering to children in need, but the long answer is that God revealed this calling to us over many years.
You see, when we received L’s diagnosis, I got through my days by imagining what life would look like when we came out on the other side. I pictured L being enrolled in a mainstreamed classroom. Perhaps a little quirkier than the other kids, but not significantly different. I needed to believe that would be our life – not significantly different.
I thought life would cease to have meaning if I couldn’t have a conversation with my son, but now, I sort of think it has more meaning because I can’t.
The fact is that over time, L’s diagnosis dared us to envision a different life for ourselves – one that was not as easy and comfortable as the one we set out to build together – but one that would be full and happy.
When we first learned about L’s special needs, my first instinct was that I could never have another child, but we had so many plans for a big family. We dreamed that someday, down the line, when we had our own house and were no longer sinking every dime into therapies for L, we would adopt. But back then, our driving motivator was fear. We were afraid of having more biological children.
As years passed, and Jesus began to heal our hearts, the fear lifted and we welcomed our beautiful baby G, but as we looked back at where we came from, we couldn’t shake the feeling that God gave us the dream of adoption – that at least part of His purpose in giving us a special needs child, was to open our hearts to children in need – no longer from a place of fear, but from a place of love.
Aren’t you afraid you won’t want to give him back?
I know I won’t want to give him back. In fact, we embarked on this journey expecting that we are probably going to get our hearts broken along the way – more than once.
I know my motivations are far from perfect.
I do want to adopt a baby and keep him forever, but you see, I used to tell myself that I needed to get my motivations right before I did what God was calling me to do, but after a while I realized that if I did that, I was never going to do anything. My motivations are never 100% pure.
So, instead, we are stepping out in faith and trusting that God is going to sanctify our inner hearts along the way, and that God’s grace will meet us if and when the time comes that we need to let go.
Don’t you want an easy life?
Of all of the responses I have received, I find this one the most entertaining. It makes me giggle to think that anyone thinks “easy” is still an option for us. No, I’m afraid the S.S. Easy Life set sail a long time ago – but a meaningful life is still a possibility.
Are you crazy?
I’m a smart woman. I’m able to look at our situation and see why someone would think it’s ill-advised. N and I already have three children. One has significant disabilities. One is a toddler. We are just coming off a long period of financial stress. I could think of a hundred reasons why we aren’t a good fit for this.
I can also think of a hundred reasons why we are.
We are used to living out of our comfort zone. That’s our “normal.” We have a high tolerance for living with uncertainty. We are accustomed to managing chaos. We have experience with children with developmental delays and behavioral challenges. But most of all, we’re willing.
There is a scene in the movie Pearl Harbor, when Ben Affleck’s character, Rafe, volunteers to go to the European front of the war. Upon arriving, his new squadron commander asks, “Are all Yanks as anxious as you to get themselves killed?” to which Rafe replies, “Not anxious to die, sir, just anxious to matter.”
I’m anxious to matter.
I’m not saying that I don’t think I’ve done anything that mattered in the last 34 years. I consider my time raising my children and serving my husband, our household and our church very well spent.
But, for the past six years, my husband and I have been on the receiving end of profound acts of kindness and generosity. Our church and family have seen us through the early years of an autism diagnosis, my husband’s job loss, our youngest child’s birth and moving into a new home. There is no doubt that we would be in a very different place today without their love and support.
We’ve longed to pay it forward – to reach outside of our four walls and give, but until now, we’ve felt spiritually sidelined by our circumstances. We are ready to get in the game.
If we are crazy, I know God can use crazy.
We still have a few more steps to complete before becoming licensed, but we have made good progress. Please pray for us as we finish up the licensing process and prepare to welcome our first foster child.