Saturday, June 15, 2013

Foster Adopt Journey

Michael and I have talked about adoption ever since we knew we were getting married.  It has been on our hearts for a long time.  We didn't know what it would look like for our family, but we knew it was something we needed to do someday.  When we struggled with infertility, we began to look into adoption for the first time.  We were set on doing infant adoption and we were going to do domestic.  We talked to a lady from the agency and decided to wait.  Then we had Tatum!  Our miracle baby boy.

Fast forward a few years.  Michael and I were sitting in a service at the Austin Stone and in their bulletin that week was a testimony of a family who was adopting and the title was "Our Plan A."  The Lord really used their story to speak to us.  Adoption became a topic of discussion again and we were feeling really strongly about the fact that, like the couple in the bulletin, we wanted it to be Plan A.  We didn't want to always hold adoption as plan B for if I couldn't get pregnant again.

Fostering was a scary thought.  Fostering is hard and it has a bad reputation.  What if we have to give the child back?  What if we get attached and can't keep the child forever?  We can't do it.  We can't go that route.  There is no way we could ever give a child back.  These were all of our thoughts and questions on fostering to adopt.  Out of the question...

In July of 2012 I received news over the summer of a student that I had that year in my class at school.  Because of some extreme circumstances, she was in a children's shelter.  Michael and I talked about it and it was a no brainer...we wanted to have her for however long we could.  I made a lot of phone calls and waited to see what happened.  She ended up getting to live with dad and I was able to love on her again in my class this past school year.  Through that, God really helped us decide that fostering to adopt was a no brainer.  There are kids who need safe homes and loving parents and we want to help.ll

That is where our journey began.  In January 2013 we went to our first training through an agency called Family Link.  The agency has a ranch in Luling, Tx where they are opening a children's home and a home for teenage boys who age out of the system.  We found out about Family Link through a couple at our church who were getting licensed through them.  Training was overwhelming and we had very heavy hearts after hearing the stories of kids who are abused, neglected, and mistreated.  God continued to confirm in our hearts that we were to be "yes" people.

Over the course of 5 months, we had home inspections, a home study, CPR training, TB tests, did lots of paperwork, did more paperwork, were fingerprinted...and after 5 months we were licensed.  We were officially licensed June 5, 2013.  Pretty quickly after being licensed we were getting e-mails and phone calls about kids who need families to care for them and possibly be their forever family.  Our agency would submit our homestudy to CPS and then CPS would select a home for the child/ren.  Were were submitted on about 5 different children and not chosen for them.  I was anxious and Michael was racing to my phone every time it "dinged" that I had an e-mail.  The morning of June 11th I received a call about a 3 week old baby in the NICU needing a home.  Quickly after the first phone call it was confirmed that we would be baby girl's home for a while or forever.

Michael and I went up that day to meet her, hold her, and sit with her.  We would go up that day and Wednesday.  Thursday we went up to the hospital, filled out paperwork, signed some papers...and left the hospital with baby girl!  We were instantly in love.  We feel so humbled, blessed, and privileged to be part of her precious life.  Our journey has begun and we could not be more grateful to be called to this journey.

One of our prayers through this journey is that others will answer the call to take care of orphans who are forced to leave their homes or have no homes at all.  We pray that God will use the story He is writing in our family as a testimony of His faithfulness in an unknown process.  God is Sovereign over all.  If we are her parents for a month, a year, or forever, we will be eternally grateful to have played a part in this sweet baby's life.