There are huge costs in adopting children. For some families, its financial; some are emotional. There are costs of great time while your fostering prospective adoptive child. Parent visits, therapists, doctors visits, parent/teacher conferences, lice removal. Balancing meetings with your personal calendar is stressful and you realize this is for rest of your life. And the stresses of caring about other peoples broken children can cause a parent to question if they have lost their mind. “Am I really able to love these children as my own.” Yet, there is something very deep and right about taking on cost for the life of a child!
By the end of our first year, our life was busy and yet seemed to be hitting on all cylinders. Clint had graduated and a new residency was promised, enabling us to stay in Joplin and adopt 3 of the children we knew God had planned to be ours. We had survived a 30 pound 5 year old who threatened all of our lives if he couldn’t have a cup of pudding. We survived relinquishing one child to a police officer for our safety and the safety of the kids in our home. We survived lots of lice and survived many tearful parents meetings. And more lice. We survived the little girl who purposefully climbed a 5 ft. bookshelf, plugged an iron in, and laid it on my mother’s brand new white carpet. We survived the biter who had to be picked up early at his Head Start almost every day. We survived my hysterectomy and long recovery. We survived the stress of the clinical rotation of Medical School.We survived a grumpy downstairs neighbor who didn’t embrace the noise of six to seven children in a 3-bedroom apartment. We survived the fine imposed by our apartment complex for one child writing all over the new playground and apartment walls with permanent marker. We survived the laborious job of finding an amazing 6-bedroom house to help “grow” us, and the towering hoops to finance it on a Residence “promised” salary.
Everything was lined up on this Friday in September, 2002. The boxes were packed and stacked neatly to the ceiling, ready to close on our dream house the next Monday. Sitting in one of the three meetings I had for parents that day, discussing how quickly we could transfer our license to our new house to accommodate the sibling group of a child in our care. I wasn’t surprised when I was called by one of my caseworkers into another meeting.
The rest of the next few days, weeks and ultimately six months would take a novel to really give you details, but, in our STARS class, there was a saying; “It’s not about if you will be hot-lined, it’s about when!”
That day was a whirl of interviews, accusations, stunned disbelief and guilt over the “what if’s”. When Clint got home that day, he had his own disheartening news (that he wouldn’t share with me until the next week) about a random chest x-ray he’d had and a P.E.T. scan that was scheduled for the next week. Ruth was terrified of why her “brother and sisters” were taken away and it took all my strength to reassure her that God was working things out. I wasn’t even assured I believed!
As foster parents, we are guilty until proven otherwise. We do not have parental rights for visitation, and we do not have advocates among caseworkers. It didn’t matter how many caseworkers, police officers, judges, State Representatives or high profile commissioners, that believed this was a grievous mistake; no one felt they had the authority to place the children back in our home. Even testifying before legislator in Jeff City who were appalled, could reverse the decisions made on that day. Weeks, turned into months. We felt abandoned by the very system we had sacrificed to serve. But, we had God. And I had a God who was more interested in changing me and perfecting me into His image. He was a God who wanted to rescue me!
There were idols that God needed to pull out of my heart. There was broken messy ugly sin that was lurking under the surface. Just because I looked put-together on the outside, just because by His grace I had a natural bent with children and mothering, just because I passed all the background checks; I was a child in need of a savior. There is a tendency among us Christians to elevate ourselves in comparison to “them”. Since we aren’t using drugs, or neglecting to feed our kids, or living in filth or…you fill in the blank; we can be blinded to all the brokenness in our own hearts.
Over the next few months God showed me how even something like my “impatient tone” with my children was a grotesques sin with a root of hatefulness and a root of needing to be on the throne. He showed me that I wrapped a lot of our worth in how we “looked” on the outside and modeled a false identity to my children. He exposed a huge idol disguised with the expectable name, “motherhood”. When the kids were out of the home and I had no idea where they were, if they were safe, if someone else loved them as much as I did. He asked me to trust His love for them was greater than mine. He exposed my identity in my own works and my self-righteousness. God stripped me bare and gloriously started to pour into my broken mess as His adopted daughter!
I will never forget the day He returned our three foster kids to our home. April Fools day to be exact! I can tell you how I never want to experience such a great loss again, but I love the beauty of the Refiner’s fire; that then, and today; is transforming me more into His likeness. I can wear His imputed righteousness like a royal garment covering all my stained rags. I am a “them”. (as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; Romans 3:10) I was an orphan child who would perish in my sin had Christ not adopted me. He poured His Spirit into my heart and embraced me into His forever family.
“to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4:5-7
Post Script: Clint’s diagnoses of inoperable lung cancer from that “hot” P.E.T. scan came to nothing after a huge surgery. We call him Dr. False Alarm and lovingly refer to it as the cheese curd. Also, the C.A.N. Review Board took the authority to exonerate me, and demand for the return of our children. God brought them home within a few days, even though we were told it would take 4 weeks!
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/
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.