Our first foster care placement of a newborn baby girl ended in adoption as we celebrated welcoming our daughter, Niah, into our family permanently. But our journey in the foster care system was just beginning.
The Journey is Just Beginning
As we began filing the paperwork to complete the adoption process for our daughter, Niah, I felt such a deep desire and internal nudging to adopt again. It felt as if our child was already out there waiting for us. As we met with our adoption social worker to finalize our first adoption, we were simultaneously scouring the databases and discussing other children waiting to be adopted. Our adoption worker presented us with a few profiles of waiting children, and our licensing worker encouraged us to continue accepting foster care placements in the meantime. We decided to keep our home open to more children entering the foster care system until we were sure we found our son. I knew we had a son out there waiting for us somewhere.
The same month that Niah’s adoption became official we welcomed a sweet four year old girl into our home who needed a safe and loving family. She quickly became Niah’s big sister and our family of three grew to four in an afternoon. Big Sister introduced us to the realities of the foster care system in many ways that we had avoided with Niah’s placement. Big Sister challenged us, demanded all that we had to offer, and stole our hearts. She left our home leaving a hole–a reminder of the way she burst into our lives, so in line with her personality . Because a family member came forward to care for her we knew that she was going to be alright, and so her leaving was bitter sweet. David and I still think about her, wonder about her, and continue to miss her contagious smile.
As soon as Big Sister left her room in our home two more little girls filled it. We welcomed a sibling set of Sisters, ages 8 and 5, into our home for temporary placement. As much as Big Sister opened our eyes to the realities of the foster care system, the Sisters opened our eyes to the depravity of humanity. The older of the two Sisters wore the saddest eyes I had ever seen on a child, and the youngest carried burdens no child should bear. I wanted nothing more than to offer those girls a sense of security and protection in my home. Every night I spent hours on the floor in their room singing songs about God’s love for them. “Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me.” The Sisters visited our home for respite care on a couple of occasions and left our lives as quickly as they came. Though what still remains with us is brokenness in our hearts for children who need love and receive hate. Their story is one that reminds us of the fallen world in which we live, and our desperate need for a loving Savior.
The Busy Days
David and I continued to accept foster placements into our home while we searched for the son we knew was waiting for us. And then one day we received a call for a sibling set of brothers. The oldest was just shy of his first birthday and the youngest was only three weeks old. So, again we went from a family of three to a family of five–this time with a nearly two year old, a nearly one year old, and a newborn. I refer to that time as ‘the busy days’. And boy were they. As we worked to keep our heads above water, and keep everybody alive and happy, we wondered if these boys were the ones we had been searching for. We knew reunification was the case plan, but they fit into our family so well. We celebrated the bigger brother’s first birthday before a grandmother came forward requesting to care for the boys. Although everyone involved in the case agreed that it was a bad idea, the boys were moved into her home. We were disappointed they were leaving for a less than idea situation. Our social worker reassured us that they would be back in the system within a few weeks and asked if we would be willing to accept them again if that were the case. We agreed that we would accept them, if we could.
About a week after the boys left our home we received a call from our agency for our next placement. We fully expected the call to be for the brothers. We couldn’t believe what they told us!
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” ~ James 1:27