Shortly after Titus was born and started having a host of digestive issues, James and I began discussing the idea of him being our last biological baby. I note biological because we have both always felt the need to care for orphans through either adoption or foster care, or both. We made the decision to be done having babies together and with great peace about it, knowing we would wait at least a little while before adding to our family through one of those aforementioned means.
However, for several months, when all five of us are in a room together, or if James is at work and I have the three kids together with me, I have this sudden and very strange sensation that we are missing a child. I cannot explain it and I don’t know if anyone else could possibly understand what it feels like, but it is almost the feeling that I’ve forgotten something and I need to go get it. Or we need to be quiet because someone is still sleeping, even though everyone that lives in our house is clearly awake and right here with me.
Last weekend, I had the privilege of attending a simulcast of the Empowered To Connect conference. On my way out the door the first morning I joked with James that he knew by sending me to this conference I was going to come home ready to adopt all the babies…
When I got to the conference, I saw a woman that fosters teenage girls that I’ve met a few times. When I was talking with her during a break about our desire to one day adopt another baby, she told me she knew of two babies right now who need homes. Oh goodness. You can’t tell this mama there are babies who need homes. You just can’t. I texted James. Told him the one sentence I knew about one of these babies. A 3 week old baby girl needed a home. I spoke more with this lady after lunch. She found out baby girl’s dad wanted a safe home for her to live in for a while so he could get some help and keep her out of the foster system. I didn’t know that was even possible or legal, but after some extensive google-searching during a session, and some quick prayer and texting with James, as well as a conversation with a current adoptive/foster dad/pastor who let us know more about the legal options bio-daddy had, we decided…
Were we ready to take in a newborn with a 7 month old in the house? No.
Was God unclear when he said “take care of orphans and widows…”?? Also no.
We asked the girls what they thought about us taking care of a little baby while her daddy got some help. Bailey’s eyes welled with tears and she smiled from ear to ear nodding with an enthusiasm known only to young children. We have spoken about foster kids and adoption with our kids from a very young age, and Bailey’s tender heart at age 4 1/2 is already ready to care for these children.
I began envisioning holding this baby girl in my arms, praying over her, watching my bigger babies fawn over her and pray for her. I had dreams of welcoming the dad into our home and lives to show him that Christians do indeed care for the hurting, the broken and the needy because Jesus has cared for us in the same way. I wanted to step in and keep this baby girl out of the foster care system for as long as possible. The next day, I carried my phone around with me in my hand, even during the worship service, just in case this lady were to call me telling me we needed to come get baby girl. It didn’t ring. Finally after several hours I texted her asking if she had heard anything. She hadn’t. I kept praying. And waiting. And finally by the next day we realized if we hadn’t heard anything by now, someone else was either taking care of her or she had been put in foster care.
But you know what happened? We were reminded again of the call and command to care for orphans, and we decided we couldn’t wait until we were “ready” any longer. Our kids are so young, we don’t have a lot of space in our house, Titus is still a baby, it will be too hard emotionally…the reasons to not join the ranks of people caring for these foster-babies can be endless. But it doesn’t really matter.
“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
So until the Church comes up with a better way than the government-run foster system, we’re going to step back in and join the army of Christians (including my good friends already fostering a sweet baby boy in Ohio! and a host of friends back in Omaha) obeying the command to care for orphans by becoming certified foster parents.
I did a lot of emailing and reading and talking to agencies, and while the agency we are hoping to get certified through did tell me they don’t have a high demand for families who will only take in babies (we will only take in kids younger than Titus), we are willing to do respite for other families in the meantime and at least be available if/when a call comes that a tiny, fragile little human being needs a loving home, even for just a little while.
Will you join us? Reach out to your local foster-agency or county and ask what their biggest need is. Gather others at your church and join forces together. Volunteer at an RFKC or TRAC camp (or start one here in NY!). Bring supplies and meals to foster families. Or, go ahead and get certified as foster parents so that if there is a child in your area who needs a home, you are able to offer yours.
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or read this book with me: