Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Could "Foster to Adopt" be Right for You?

Our guest blogger today is Elizabeth who, along with her husband (Paul), provided foster care for their children prior to becoming an adoptive family.  They are now the busy parents of Cailyn (age 12), Brian (age 11), and Brandon (age 9).   

As I sit hear watching my children as they pamper me on Mother’s Day, I must reflect on how lucky I am to be a Mother of three beautiful children that God hand selected just for me.

I started praying for children at age 15. I asked my parents to adopt one of the babies from the Liberty Godparent home (then called “Save a Baby” home) for me to raise…of course they did not even consider it. I knew then that all I wanted to be was a housewife and mother. Through the years, I realized God had other plans for me, however I claimed Matthew 6:33 as my life verse: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you”. I knew one of two things were going to happen, God would provide me the children I longed for or he would take the desire away.

When Paul and I were married in 2003, I knew I had fertility issues and that we would have to go through some difficult processes to be able to have children, what I wasn’t prepared for was that he was not as excited about the process as I was and his attitude was more of “if it happens it happens”. I read something about fostering foster children in our local newspaper and the idea hit me. If we can foster children in respite (temporary situations) he will see how fun it is to have kids around and then he will want to put forth the effort in fertility treatments.

When I took the call about our first foster experience, he was at work. They asked if we could keep three kids for three weeks until their biological mother could take them back. I prayed about it, looked at my schedule and said, “sure, we can handle three kids for three weeks”. When Paul got home from work I told him and he said “Are you crazy? Three kids?” I knew most of the time the kids would be spending with me because Paul was working second shift and I was working from home.

The kids ran into my house and immediately reeked havoc! They were all sick and very hungry. I then found out they had only been in foster care for 3 weeks and we were their 4th placement. They were full of energy, had never been disciplined properly and soon learned what a “time out” was. Cailyn was the mothering older sister (at 7 years old) of two hyper, Brian (age 6) and Brandon (almost 4 and not yet potty trained). I told Paul we could not give up on these kids, because it seemed like everyone else was. They were quite challenging, and Paul quit work to stay home with them so we could better meet their needs.

Three weeks turned into three months and I began to realize the kids were not going back to their biological home, after a couple of visits from the biological Mom, she told me social services were making her jump through too many hoops and she was going to sign away her rights.

A few weeks after they came to live with us, we were on our way to the “Walk for Life” and I was trying to explain to them why we were walking and raising money for the Godparent home. Cailyn said, “Elizabeth, we never would have known anything about Jesus or God if we had not come to live with you”. They were like little sponges soaking up everything they learned in church and I was so busy trying to meet their physical needs I did not even realize their spiritual needs, thankfully, God knew what they needed and our church provided it for them. By the time our adoption was final, they were not the same kids, they were calm, well disciplined and they have a heart for Jesus.

We still have our challenges as no family is perfect, but we could not have produced three more beautiful children, inside and out. I finally have my kids, in God’s timing, not mine and He picked them out just for me!

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