My girls and I lived in the shallow end of the pool this summer. The zero entry made it so easy for them to walk in and out of the water and splash around in their own little worlds. Time after time, I beckoned them to come with me into the deeper water. And time after time, they turned their backs and toddled back to more shallow water, afraid of what was deeper. Walking deeper was unknown and uncomfortable. But oh, what if they would feel the thrill of jumping in and allowing themselves to be fully submerged in that pool!
I feel like this is where we are in our process to become foster and adoptive parents – we are wading in the shallow end, slowly inching deeper. I hear a lot of parents talk about foster care and adoption on the other side of having children in their home, but not a lot from where we find ourselves today. Wading. Waiting. Anxiously pacing.
When my husband started building our house last spring, he sensed that God was asking him to pray for our family to adopt. When he asked me to pray about it too, I was in a state of shock and awe. Never at any point in our relationship had we considered adoption, but here my husband was asking me to pray. Completely taken aback, I agreed. And so I prayed.
It took me a few weeks to really dig through some deep heart issues about what I felt about adoption. But what made me change my mind was something I heard on the radio one day about foster care. “There are so many children carrying around the burden of having no where to call home; no where that is safe or where they feel loved. Why wouldn’t it be our job to help lift that burden from them?” At that point, in that moment, I was all in. I pulled the van over, called my husband and told him that my heart had changed, but that I also wanted him to be praying about something, too: foster care.
So for months now, we have been praying and researching and are nearly at the end of our foster care classes. At first we just wanted to do emergency and respite care, but now we are open to and praying about full time foster care. We are excited about the prospect of having children in our home that aren’t ours. And we are absolutely terrified as well. We have had so many questions come up.
“What if we can’t control the kids when they have outbursts?”
“How will this affect our own kids? How will this affect our marriage?”
“How many kids will we have in our house at one time?”
“What if they don’t like us?”
“What if I get too attached?”
“What if God calls us to something even BIGGER and SCARIER? What if He asks us to give too much?”
What if? What if? What if?
But what if God says in the middle of our wading into the deeper waters….
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'” 2 Corinthians 12:9 God has promised that his grace WILL meet us when we are weak.
“Defend the cause of the weak and the fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.” Psalm 82:3 God demands obedience in caring for those who are orphaned and in need. We will follow and obey you God, because we love and trust you.
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Matthew 25:23 Lord, we have been blessed and will choose to be a blessing. Even when it’s uncomfortable.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.'” Matthew 16:24 God, you have laid this on our hearts. Help me to deny myself. Be bigger than me. Help me to choose obedience.
This journey that we are walking is not for everyone. Although we are all called to care for the orphaned and fatherless, everyone’s role in that is different. But this is where we find ourselves. And as we pace and wade in these shallow waters while we wait for that first call, as we sit and wait to become paper pregnant, we are eagerly ready to jump and be fully submerged in all God has for us and our family.
“As it my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.” Philippians 1:20