(Thank you to Kara for sharing her family’s adoption story today!
Follow along with Kara and family at her blog.)
Climb on board for our adventure to adoption. The road traveled is a little long, rambles a bit, and takes twists and turns in directions we never realized were there, but here we are with a new little one who shares our name. This journey truly began about 15 years before we became foster parents when I was a teacher with the public school system in the Dallas area. I fell in love with a boy everyone else thought to be unlovable. When I say “boy,” I am referring to his age, not his size. He probably weighed more than 200 pounds, was a full head taller than me and and his intelligence was barely on the charts. He had been dumped in a garbage dump and left for dead at birth. Death would have been easier for him. Since that time he ventured in and out of foster homes as well as in and out of his biological family’s homes (yes, someone eventually claimed him). During this time he acquired cigarette burns all over his body and many deep scars. He had more issues and disabilities than anyone could count, but his heart simply cried out to me. He could barely even read or write and yet he was in the 5th grade for the third time. At this time I was newly married and we had no children. Having him was not a possibility, and in the eyes of the state he had a family.
I began years of begging, inquiring, talking and praying for my husband to agree for us to become foster parents. My husband simply wasn’t ready, but he didn’t know the power of a praying wife! In the meantime we continued through the adventure called life having three biological children and a long list of to-do’s and did-that’s. The desire never left! My husband still wasn’t ready and his reasons were valid… for the most part… until you truly hear the call and realize that God sometimes calls the tired, those who are busy and have many “things” to take care of, those who are NOT equipped or financially secure. It really isn’t about us… it’s about the children. Back to the reasons: He wasn’t ready because he wanted us to “worry about our OWN children.” This is a typical response. He also didn’t want to “give them back.” Another typical response. What about the time, and what would this do to our OWN? One more response I’ve heard a million times. Soapbox warning!!! Let me tell you… these precious foster children ARE OUR OWN as long as the state says so and my husband will be the first one to preach this. The moment they are placed in my arms they are MINE! Do we mourn when they leave? Absolutely! There are more tears than you can imagine, but there is more prayer than we have ever done as well (and I thought we prayed a lot before). Our family comes together to go through this heartache. We share our memories and our losses, we pray for the precious one and we pray for the family they are now with. This has taught my kids more than I can express. Do we often feel we would be a better family for them? Absolutely, but that is arrogance on our part and God has not called us to judge or to choose. Nor does God feel we are necessarily “better.” He doesn’t score people like that. We are all equal. This humbles us quickly. It is NOT for us to decide.
What has this done for our biological kids?
When interviewed by the President of Buckner our oldest said being a foster family has made our family closer, we know how to work as a team for a goal that is bigger than ourselves, we know how to give out of our abundance… this is our missionary work from home.
How I wish we had done this a LONG time ago, when our children were even younger. Currently they are 14, 11 and 7. It is beyond a blessing and beyond a lesson for our kids. This is daily sacrifice for “…the least of these…” Matthew 25:40. If you are considering fostering/adopting, don’t wait for your kids to “grow up.” It’s just like waiting until you have enough money. Neither will EVER happen. You will NEVER have enough time or money or energy or resources, but if you know Christ, you do serve a BIG GOD who can overcome anything. God DOES NOT call the equipped, he equips the called. We are not a “super” family, we are quite simply ordinary, but called by GOD.
We always said that we would adopt any and every child that became adoptable, knowing full well that this might not happen for a while. Our intention all along was to adopt, but we wanted to foster those who needed short term as well. At the young ages it is VERY difficult for them to be moved from place to place. As in, mind altering… literally! Under three, they will shut down parts of their brain when they do not sense security and seeing new faces constantly does NOT provide security in the developing brain. We never wanted that to happen if we could do something about it. Kylie came to us at a month old. Precious little tiny thing. The fight began when we knew this mother couldn’t possibly care for this child. She wanted to and she loved her in her own sort of way, but she didn’t have the tools or support to be a mother. Now, we had to let CPS do their job. Her caseworker fought hard, while at the same time supporting this young woman and finding her the resources she needed to attempt to live a full, productive life. We did the same. We loved her right along with her child within the boundaries of CPS. It became apparent that CPS would seek termination, but proof in court would have to hold up. Dad was around, but only as an afterthought. CPS believes that a child should go to family if at all possible. I agree very reluctantly, because statistics show that this doesn’t work very often!!! Family eventually did come forward, but a little hesitantly. This began our REAL battle for the child. It was truly NOT in her best interest to go to strangers. This child would not transition well for so many reasons. We had to fight hard including the possibility of hiring an attorney that would cost more than we could imagine. In the end (lots of details are missing here for privacy reasons) and it was a long, tearful few months, the state determined that the child was best left with “her” family, the only one she ever knew: us.
During this time we were given a verse to cling to by a sweet friend. Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you….you need only to be still…” I didn’t like this verse at all! This was too hard for me because I am a fighter, but I held firm and God proved faithful once again. One year, one month and 12 days later Kylie Rebecca took our name (we did change her name… her first name is a variation of her original one). National Adoption Day brought her permanently into our lives. That card with the verse on it still sits right beside my computer. Kylie now has a home (she was homeless before), a forever home, a Godly home who will love her and support her for who she uniquely is and family who will show her the love of Jesus. She looks different from us and always will, but love does not have to look alike or have a certain color attached to it. Her life matters!
The rest of the story:
We also have another foster baby who is more than likely headed for adoption as well so we are excited about the possibility of her having a sister seven months younger. This little angel is deaf, has a cleft palate (not a cleft lip) and some muscle issues, but is growing and learning and catching up developmentally. She smiles non-stop and stops traffic everywhere she goes because of her sheer beauty. She doesn’t even look the same as she did five months ago when she entered our lives!
The past year and a half has brought five children into our lives besides our biological children. Three have returned either to mom and dad or to family members. We have been blessed to remain in contact with two out of the three. This is an entirely different story and again one of faith taking us out of our comfort zones and yet right in the arms of our savior.
Has any of this been easy? Absolutely NOT, but I cannot begin to tell you how close I feel God working in our lives. I feel His breath against my skin when I seek Him with my whole heart and I will gladly go through the pain of heartache of letting go of these angels to feel His arms again and again and to know, that I know, that I know HE IS IN CONTROL. These children are WORTH it even if we only hold them for a little time.
Please consider having your heart ache. I promise it will ache more for yet another one and another one and another one to come into your lives… Somewhere there is another child who needs us. Unfortunately, it also means another family is falling apart, but that cry in my mind is my wake up call to get on my knees immediately and begin praying for that child and the family who can’t carry on anymore. I do JUST that. They are worth praying for… all of them.
Do you have a positive adoption story of your own to share? If so, contact me!