Foster care and modern day orphans
My husband and I have been blessed that God gave us our children through the gift of adoption. Over the course of several years, we adopted Daniel, Anna, Joshua and Hope from Hawaii’s foster care system.
We didn’t start out wanting to create a family through adoption – we originally thought we’d go through the usual means. It was in the midst of that process, however, that we learned there were children in our own community who needed adoptive families. It turned our world upside down. We knew we couldn’t turn away from the needs of these lonely kids, so we prayed. Turns out God had quite the adventure planned for our family.
In our book Wait No More: One Family's Amazing Adoption Journey, we share our adoption story in more detail, and we don’t sugarcoat the challenges we’ve faced along the way. Adopting from foster care has blessed our lives beyond measure, but it’s definitely not been an easy road.
God led John and me to adopt children who came from difficult circumstances. We met Daniel, our oldest son, when he was six months old. His birth mom’s choice to use drugs and alcohol while pregnant continues to impact his health and development today. Anna came to us as a newborn whose birth mother suffered from extremely severe mental illness. We first met Joshua when he was four. He didn’t talk and wasn’t potty trained. Hope came into our lives at two. She was feisty and hadn’t known much parenting.
In short, John and I had to get to know little ones who had entire histories that didn’t involve us, but whose pasts had consequences that we’d help them navigate. However, there’s a far greater truth about adoption beyond the fact that it’s not always easy. Adoption is more beautiful than anyone can ever imagine. We can’t imagine our lives without Daniel, Anna, Joshua or Hope. We love each of them fiercely, and we’d walk this journey to becoming a family all over again in a heartbeat.
So for kids just like ours who are still waiting for their forever families, I’m haunted by questions. Who will show them what it means to know unconditional love? Who will care enough to check their homework? Who will go to their sporting events or music concerts? Who will teach the boys to be men and the girls to be women? Who will show the little girls the love of a true daddy? Who will go to their high school graduations? Who will walk the girls down the aisle on their wedding day? Who will be there as their children are born?
We’ve talked to many families who have considered adoption but ultimately decided not to pursue it. It’s something believers should not do unless the Lord is leading them there. For some who choose not to pursue it, however, it seems fear may be a primary barrier. There are so many “what ifs” on the road to adoption, and we’re the first ones to admit the journey can be daunting.
I’ve been blessed that our personal journey is also a ministry one. It's allowed me to advocate on behalf of kids in foster care on a daily basis. Over the last six years, Focus on the Family has spent an increasing amount of time and effort being “a voice for the voiceless” kids in foster care who are waiting for adoptive families.
Every few months, we host an event called “Wait No More: Finding Families for Waiting Kids,” with the hope that kids in foster care won’t have to keep waiting for the adoptive families they deserve. While fear is still present, we’ve seen more than 2,600 families from around the country face those fears and begin the process of adoption from foster care.
As a friend of mine says: I can give you a hundred reasons why adopting from foster care will be too hard or why you shouldn’t do it. But the reality is I can’t support any of those reasons with Scripture. God is stirring in the hearts of people to be attentive to the needs of kids in foster care, and in the process, he is knitting together beautiful families.
After all, nowhere in the Bible will you get the notion that the Christian life will be trouble-free. That’s not what Christ promised us. But he did promise that he would be with us in the midst of everything. He modeled to us an agape love, a selfless love. Adoptive parents learn to live out this type of love as they care for their children.
John and I like to encourage folks who are feeling that urge, that gentle pushing of the Lord’s hand at their back, to get involved with foster care or adoption. Don’t be afraid to go for it. Maybe your first step is to attend one of our Wait No More events.
There could be a child out there who needs you desperately. You could be the one to make a difference in his or her life. God may have a new adventure in store for your family.
Be open. Follow where God leads. Simply be willing to ask him, “Do you want to use the blessing of our family on behalf of a child without one?”
For more information on Wait No More, visit iCareAboutOrphans.org.