I was asked recently why we foster.  I found it interesting that I paused before answering her question.  I realized that people inquire about our journey often but rarely want to know if there was a specific reason and/or event that persuaded us to jump into this crazy world of fostering.

So why?

Why not?  That is my short and sassy answer.

When I take a little memory road trip I recall actually fervently trying to answer “why not foster.”  There were many reasons I could think of that would convince us that we were indeed crazy.  I find that people offer reasons why THEY think we shouldn’t foster and/or why they could never foster. Here are a few thoughts people share:

  1.  Don’t you get attached? Duh!
  2. You have teenagers!  Why on earth do you want to start over with younger children?
  3. You work full time.
  4.  You travel out of the country every summEr
  5. Nobody has time for all that training and paperwork!

#1 is truly the most common question we get. Usually along with that comes, “I could never do it and give up a child.” I remember a few days after handing over our first foster child to the CPS worker, somebody said to me, “I don’t know if I could do it.  How do you do it?”  Tears were obviously permanent residents in my eyeballs at that time but I somehow managed a very soft, “I just am.  God’s amazing Grace.” I wanted to scream and say, “You idiot, don’t you see I am dying inside?!?!?!! ”

I will let you in a little secret.  It hurts.  It really, really hurts.  8 months after hugging our little guy for the last time, IT STILL HURTS.  It really, really hurts.  Writing about it still draws out tears and pain. The alternative?  To never have loved that little boy.  I would have never held him close to me and whispered positive affirmations in his ear, sang the same songs over and over again, and watched my family love so unconditionally and beautifully.  I can’t imagine living my life without risking experiencing grief for the sake of loving a child. I want to live with no regrets.

Wanting to be free from regret, was one the reasons we said yes!  My mother has said time and time again that she wish she would have fostered.  I told my husband at the beginning of this journey that I don’t want to be 68 and saying I wish I would have fostered.

Let us return to our story of why.

Before I was married, I had a hint that I would most likely never be able to have children.  I went into marriage knowing that was a huge possibility.  Yes, that was rather yucky news but I wasn’t too concerned b/c I didn’t truly believe everything doctors said AND I thought adopting would be rather cool. 10 months into our marriage we found out wee Knight #1 was on his way.  14 months after our first child arrived, I gave birth to wee Knight #2.  Within the first 5 years of marriage, we had three biological children.  Wasn’t what we had planned but we embraced the adventures of parenting and quietly slipped adoption under the rug.  Our hearts (and home) were full.  Very, very full.

Adoption popped up a few times over the years.

In 2009 we started spending our summers in Zambia, Africa.  We were very content.  We felt called to ministering to the orphans and vulnerable children.  I was busy teaching and being mom but I was able to support my husband by having an income teaching AND spending the summers with him in Zambia.

But year after year, we would return from Africa and jump back into our very westernized life. We struggled to adjust to our “normal American life.”  We never felt like we fit in.  We kept asking what we could do to make a difference where we were planted 9 months out of the year.  We couldn’t figure it out.

About four years ago, our church had a Sunday dedicated to adoption and fostering.  It wasn’t anything major but the word foster just sat heavy on my heart.  I knew it was impossible to foster and keep up our ritual of going to Africa.

There we were again.  Feeling like we didn’t know our place. We even tried moving to Africa, thinking that was the solution.  The husband and I both were thrilled with the prospect of living full time in Zambia.  We started to make plans to sell our wee little house and even had me two steps from walking into my school and resigning.

That wasn’t it.

So I called a local Foster Agency and inquired about fostering.  The man on the other end of the phone was kind and informative but was very adamant that we foster older children and maybe even only do respite.

I felt discouraged. That is not what I had in mind.

Fostering was put on the shelf, hidden behind our growing children’s activities and needs.

2014.  Another amazing summer in Zambia.  Our children were maturing and showing an abundant amount of concern and love for the hurting children in Africa. That summer our ministry opened up another home in our Children’s Village.  Della’s House.  Della’s House was the home to 12 girls ranging from one year to 14 years.  My heart somehow got involved and was forever changed.

The one year old, Mary, actually became my parents’ sponsored child.  Our family fell head over heels in love with this little one.  My children, even 15 year old Sam, was so tender and loving towards her.

One day as the husband and I watched our children flutter about the village picking up wee ones, chasing six year olds, and laughing with pre teens, we realized our children had an abundant amount of love to share with younger ones.

“Can’t we just take Mary home with us?”

Visions of a little one joining our family danced around my head and heart.

But no, Mary could not come home with us.  Our ministry’s mission is to raise the children up to be strong believers and leaders in Zambia, not to send them to the states. Adopting from Zambia is not the easiest either (something about having to live there a long time).

Once again, we were crushed and confused.  Why would we fall in love with this little one?!?!?!

On the way to the airport that late July evening, I convinced my husband to allow me to stop by Della’s house one last time.  I kissed each forehead and sang one last song with them.

Bags checked, passports stamped, and security complete.  We found our seats on the gigantic plane, made sure our children were settled in, and sighed with relief.

Then we looked at each other.  “Now what?”

I knew.  I knew he knew.  He knew I knew.

After 44 hours of travel, we arrived back to our Western World.

This time I knew.

Phone calls were made.

Classes were attended.

ALL information about our lives were revealed.

Money paid for many things (CPR, fingerprinting, fire extinguisher, driving record, etc, etc).

December 30, 2014- A CPS worker placed a sleeping 8 month old little guy in my arms.

Just like that…

I knew why.









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