We’ve had a number of people ask us in the last couple of months why we made the decision to start the process to become foster parents and specifically why foster care over another adoption, so, let’s chat about that!
Next month marks five years since we adopted Ephraim! And while the journey to him was long and at times painful, we cannot imagine our lives without him, he has brought so much good into our lives, God really knew what he was doing by putting him in our family.
So, obviously we are pretty pro-international adoption.
And to be honest, we did look into international adoption again.
I mean, when you end up with a kid this cute, of course you look into adoption again!
One thing to know about international adoption is that things are always changing. A program that is running smoothly one year (or even one month) may be completely shut down the next. Often due to corruption.
The program that we adopted Ephraim through is in that stage. There is a waiting list for the waiting list and things are just not moving.
Bahaha, thank you Michael’s for this moment of comedic relief!
So, we did some international adoption research and found all the programs that were open and available for us (due to our age and a ton of other factors different countries throw in there), plus we had to factor in the fact that our province doesn’t have any adoption agencies so we had to look in other provinces for ones that would work for us. Oh, and we had to make sure the program was actually moving.
After all of that there was one program that we could go through.
I talked on the phone with the agency that ran that program for quite a while and got all the details.
The highlights from that conversation were: it would take about three years to get a referral, then we would go see the child, be there for two weeks, and then come back for at least a year while paperwork got done and then go back and pick them up.
The process would take about five years and that’s if things went smoothly, which we know from personal experience that they hardly do.
We were looking into a sibling adoption which would end up pretty much doubling the price (it would end up being around $70,000). And really, it’s not about the money, if we needed it I am sure God would provide and the money would come in, but it made me stop and think, what else could we do with $70,000? And I don’t mean what kind of fancy vacation could we take (though, that is tempting!), but rather, how many lives could we positively influence?
We had talked about foster care on and off over the years, always being fairly quick to dismiss it for a whole host of reasons (reasons I plan on sharing and unpacking over the next few weeks), but this time when the topic came up we found that the reasons we had been quick to dismiss it in the past were easily answered or remedied now.
Oh you know, just post-immunization waiting room antics.
What it really comes down to is that there is a need for foster families in our province and we can help fill that need.
We can accept children into our family and love them like our own while their parents get the help that they need.
We can work with birth families and show them the love of Christ while they journey on the road to recovery.
We will get attached and our hearts will probably get broken, possibly many times over, but we were never called to an easy life. We were called to take up our cross daily (Luke 9:23).
One of the books of the Bible that I often find myself going back to is James, written by Jesus’ own brother this guy knows how to call me out and remind me that my life isn’t about me:
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
Did you catch that? It’s possible to deceive ourselves, we can’t just listen to the Word and agree with it, we need to take action! This will look different for different people at different times in life, right now our next step of action, an act of obedience is working on getting ourselves approved to be a foster family.
I’ve just started this study: Finding God Faithful by Kelly Minter and so far it has been really good!
I hope that helps explain a little about why we are choosing/have been lead down the path to foster care and why we are not pursing international adoption.
In the next few weeks I hope to share a little more about some of the reasons we had previously ruled out the idea of fostering and why those excuses no longer hold.
If you have any questions about the process or anything feel free to ask!
Last year I started saving for a big trip. Italy has been on my bucket list forever and I really wanted to make it happen.
Jared and the kids were leaning towards France so I crunched some numbers and figured out approximately how much we would need to visit both countries for a couple of weeks and I started saving.
At the beginning of this year I was close to the savings goal and in our budget I had it labeled Europe 2019. I was blocking off the end of September and beginning of October to be on the trip of a lifetime.
And then God decided to shake my world up.
It started out so innocent, Jared and I watched a show on Amazon Prime and the next thing I knew Europe 2019 had been re-labeled to Something Big.
God had something different in store but I didn’t know what it was. I just knew that money had another (one could say, less selfish) use.
It was during this time that everything just felt so restless. I knew God had something in store but He obviously wasn’t ready to show us what it was yet.
This week I joined a local Bible study and our first session was about Abram and how God asked him to leave Haran, but God didn’t tell him where he was going.
Now the Lord said to Abraham, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”
Not only that, but Abram obeyed!
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him.
I have such a hard time with the unknown when all I am asked to do is continue living life the way I have, I can’t imagine packing up all my belongings and putting the van in drive without knowing where I am going.
So, a few months ago we watched this show (God works in mysterious ways) and suddenly conversations about expanding our family started.
One thing led to another and suddenly we were in the process of being approved to be foster parents.
Ten months ago I thought we would be in Europe right now, instead we are at home, flipping our house upside down to prepare to open our home up to one or two more kids.
The last month has been crazy. In order to make room upstairs we had to move Raeca downstairs. We wanted to finish the room down there though so she didn’t feel like she was living in a dungeon so we bought ceiling for her room only to realize it was on sale so we bought some for the whole basement. Oh, and baseboards for the whole basement too (cause, why not?). Then I did some paint touch ups in the room only to realize it wasn’t the right white paint. So, off to the store to buy some more paint and repaint the entire room . . .
It’s been a lot of work and it’s not all done but Rae is moved down and her old room is slowly turning into a nursery (with two cribs).
I guess God had me saving all that money for something even bigger than I could have imagined.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
We aren’t where we thought we would be.
Or maybe we are.
I thought we would be on the trip of a lifetime and I think that we are.
I can’t wait to see the mementos we collect along the way.
The summer is drawing to an end and I totally didn’t mean to ignore this blog for the majority of the summer but that’s kind of how it ended up I guess.
Even though it’s been quiet on the blog, a lot has been going on in our house and so today’s post is going to be a random update on a lot of things and a few short lists of things I’ve been loving lately.
Ephraim’s self portrait
I DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING . . .
After over four years as a family of four this spring we started to talk about the topic of adoption again, it was a bit surprising because after our last adoption journey we were kind of burnt out and not really interested in going through that kind of roller coaster again.
But when God starts nudging your heart you gotta look into things, right?
Thus started a few weeks of research, a bit of déjà vu looking into all the different countries, figuring out which ones we actually qualify for and then starting to contact agencies to get some more information.
After I spent some time on the phone with an agency getting all the information it quickly became clear that the programs we would qualify for and that were actually moving were moving incredibly slowly, had processes we weren’t big fans of and the cost had pretty much doubled since our last adoption.
It was actually fairly easy to rule adoption out.
Except that I couldn’t fight that nagging feeling that there was something else along the same vein as adoption, after a season of restlessness it felt good to have a more specific nagging feeling.
I started to think about the conversations I had been having with a friend over the last few months as they went through the process to become foster parents and then it suddenly clicked: there was something we could do!
The idea of foster care wasn’t new to us but in the past we’ve had a few reasons to not pursue it, this time all those reasons were gone or easily overcome (I may explain all this more in-depth in the future). So, we inquired, had an informational meeting and then officially applied to start the foster care approval process.
The last month has been intense with hours of social worker meetings and hours of online training and we’re not even halfway through!
Six months ago I never would have seen us on this path and now I am totally excited about where God has directed us.
If you want to pray for our family over the next few months as we finish the training and interviews and wait to see if we are actually approved and start baby-proofing our house once again we would really appreciate it!
My freak sunflower plant – it currently has eight blooming flowers and two more about to bloom. All the others in the package only had one flower . . .
I started things out deep, but there are a few random things I’ve been loving this summer that I wanted to share:
I have been immersing myself in some great Biblical teaching via podcasts (often when I am making supper) and wanted to share a few of my favorites:
I love how Heidi can tackle hard topics and not shrink back sensitive topics and just teaches the truth. I have too many favorites to list them all, but I really like when she chats about the Bible study for the month, I’ve yet to actually purchase the monthly Bible study but think I will for next month. I am thankful she shares so much free teaching on her podcast though.
I’ve listened to Hunter on this podcast for a few years but I’m always just blown away by her wisdom and the depth of the wisdom of her guests.
This one is a new-to-me podcast but I’ve listened to a few of them and I can’t wait to dive into more. Why You Need Theology is one I really enjoyed.
OTHER THINGS I’VE BEEN ENJOYING & UP TO
I’ve been using the free monthly Scripture writing from MomStrong International for the past two months. I would definitely recommend that Scripture writing challenge or if you want another idea you could just write out one of the books of the New Testament or I think using the Bible app and just writing out their verse of the day (and maybe including the verses before and after) would also be a good idea.
I’ve been working on another blog for the last few weeks, it’s not quite at the point where I am really promoting it or sharing it but you can check it out here. It’s all posts related to homemaking like cleaning, recipes, financial stuff and also topics like parenting and marriage. Pretty much whatever I’m learning about or interested in I’ll be sharing there.
We started our new school year a couple of weeks ago (starting with a light version) and so far I really love the rhythm I developed for the year. I’ll be sharing all our homeschool stuff over at Intentional Homeschooling and this year I also plan on sharing a lot of freebies that I create there as well.
The garden has been pretty slow and pitiful this year but it’s produced a few things (and a lot of rhubarb).
And there you have it, a little about a lot! Hopefully it’s not another month and a half before I write here again!