“According to God’s Word, when you were adopted into God’s family, it changed your entire identity. You are now a child of the King. Throughout Scripture we see the value that God places on adoption.” Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
Clint and I enjoyed going to our STARS Foster Care classes. I bribed him with the promise of the free Schlotzsky’s they served us for dinner each week. Clint called it “date-night”. It was in this class we heard the horror stories and statistics. We listened to experts on children and heard testimonies from former foster children. But, all I heard was that as foster parents, we could get further training and become adoptive parents and state would help pay the costs for our adoption! What?
Now I can say, that Clint was still onboard for fostering, but God hadn’t convinced his heart that we needed to adopt a child. Our son was engaged to be married, we had another year before Clint would graduate from medical school, and then a 3-year residency would still be in our future. I wasn’t worried about God changing his heart…adoption is picture of what Christ has done, He came and saved us to bring us to the Father. I had a Holy Spirit empowered peace for God to work in Clint. I didn’t badger or coerced him, I just prayed for God to work. Oh!… and make sure the massive paper work was completed and all our “t’s” were crossed and “i’s” dotted. I sewed quilts and purchased bunk beds and set up a crib in our little three-bedroom apartment. I arranged for inspections and background checks. I was on a mission! I was too busy to worry about Clint’s heart and “left” that to God.
We graduated with our foster care license in April of 2001, ready to welcome some adorable child or children. The first call that came within days for 12-year-old, even though our parameters were 0 to 6years old. Clint declined, I was heart broken and we waited. May; no placement. June; no placement. In July we called to make sure we were still on the list. On July 23rd we got our call. Two little girls ages 1 and 3…and “oh, by-the-way, there is an 11 year old brother”. I said yes!
I have a vivid memory of my first trip to the DFS office and three of God’s precious children standing in a sea of desks and cubicles with muffled chatter from phone conversations going on all around. It is imprinted on my mind like a photograph. Their dirty faces, stained miss-matched clothes and the oldest girls self-cut bangs. Their huge confused eyes darting from me to the case worker to each other as they huddled as close together as possible. The little ragged gold floral suitcase held a small hurried gathering of their belonging and the odor as I buckled their frightened little bodies into our red Ford is etched into my mind. The case worker gave me a brief explanation of why they were brought into custody, handed me a voucher so I could buy some clothes. With an envelope holding official papers and the date of our first meeting, she bid me farewell with, “oh, and they have lice.”
I would learn that if a child didn’t arrive with lice, score! But I learned so much more about the cost of bringing broken children into our home. Vibrant, well behaved, well adjusted, happy, curly headed tots don’t enter into foster care. “Grit” thats what another adoptive momma called it.“..well meaning, redemption-loving people can often embrace the beauty of adoption while neglecting to communicate its grit.” Trisha Wilkerson What I learned would stretch the limits of what I thought I was capable of. It would take me places emotionally and physically where I never imagined. It would remind me that Jesus “joyfully laid Himself down so that He could raise us up with Him.” I was going to be able to be His image bearer as I experience a different deeper love; as I hurt with, grieved with, celebrated with, wept with, vulnerable children who God chose to place in our home. (Some for short periods, our record was less than 4 hours and some would become ours forever.) This is the hard and costly reality of where foster care begins. As I began to walk with broken children, I saw a vivid and beautiful picture of how Jesus walked this earth because of my brokenness.
These precious children had to learn too. Learn the names of new uncles and cousins. Learn our holiday traditions and to put up with mom’s crazy need for matching outfits. They had to learn to taste new food and learn to ride bikes and swim in big pools and celebrate birthdays. They had to learn it was safe when they heard police sirens. They learned if they were disobedient, my reach would be an embrace. They had to learn to trust the unknown, and how to grieve loss of their normal. It cost them their families that they loved in spite of their horrific circumstances.
Fifteen years later, those two little girls are now my beautiful teenaged daughters. We also adopted another son. That eleven-year-old boy would be a casualty of a broken world. He would not become a part of our glorious, redemptive adoption story. There were 14 other children who came and went, I don’t even know their new stories. There is a costly, gritty, ugly, hard part of fostering and adopting children. Children, who come with wounds most of us cannot fathom. But, embracing the beauty of adoption as part of God’s plan helps me grasp the price that God paid for our salvation and adoption! It cost God the price of his Son’s life.
Kate is a stay-at-home mom and married to Jason a church planter. After burying 2 baby boys and finally being blessed with a daughter and son, they thought their family was complete. But God kept whispering to them that He was not finished growing their family. He placed adoption on their hearts, and you can read for yourself her beautiful story. http://www.theadoptshoppe.com/
She started The Adopt Shoppe out of necessity to finance their adoption. She uses verses to make “billboards for your heart”.
I am so excited to be giving away one of her original paraphrase & design totes. Made in India by women rescued from the sex trade, you will be honored to carry these adorable, fair-trade bags.
This tote is sturdy grey canvas, the interior is fully lined with charcoal fabric and has a side zipper pocket. It fastens with a magnetic clasp. The approximate size is 12.6″ x 16.5″ x 5.9″with a 12″ drop handle.