I have been a foster parent for nineteen years. I started fostering because I thought I could add something to a child’s life that they wouldn’t have without me. It was only a few days after I welcomed my first baby into my life that I realized she would add a whole lot more to my life than I could ever give her.
I was at a cross road in my life and was afraid of everything. I was a shell of a person. Going about day to day with my routines. Staying comfortable. Never taking a risk. I was bored and although I prayed constantly and fervently, I felt distant from God. I wasn’t even sure He existed. Jumping off a cliff seemed a better solution than the mundane life I was living.
I read my Bible, listened to christian radio, and went to every church function. I was burning out, but I was not Christlike and I knew it. I did not have the joy of the Lord that I was supposed to have. I had the material possessions I needed but I was not happy or satisfied. I ask the question over and over, “What is the purpose of prayer?” Eventually I had enough of the rat wheel I was on. The first risk I took was taking on the mortgage of house. Soon my selfish heart began to disgust me. I didn’t think I had anything to give but I know I needed to share what I had.
After filling out the needed paperwork, a beautiful baby girl was placed in my home. It was within the first few hours of holding her, the blinders were peeled off and I began to understand what God has done for me. He adopted me as His own daughter. And eventually I was able to legally adopt Jaylene. Everyday spent with her I was reminded of my inadequacies. But I grew deeper in love with her and I left behind my fear of failure and became more dependent of knowing God’s love for her and for me.
That love was tested when she was a teenager, but that is her story to tell. The question I asked years ago was answered on a daily basis. The purpose of prayer is to talk to God about everything and use His power to battle the principalities that seek to destroy us. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12
I could go on and on of the many times God was more real to us than the world which we live in. Check out my God stories in previous posts.
When Jaylene was five years old, she began to ask for a sister. God answered her prayer and brought her a sister that was a year older than her. It was a new kind of adjustment. But once again, God revealed His plan in my life and used Tonya to show me more of who I was meant to be.
The third girl I fostered was a newborn and had visits with her mom and dad, three times a week. I drove Betty for the visits and provided support to her parents when they needed it. I got up to feed her three times a night and change her messy diapers. Some nights I was very tired but her dependence on me, kept me going. I realized that God wanted me to depend on Him like newborn depends on her caregiver. She only stayed with us for a month and eventually she went to live with her mother. The relationship we started through her baby continues and we remain friends.
The fourth girl, I fostered was a newborn and had visits with her mom twice a week. By the time I opened my home to her, my girls were old enough to help out with childcare. Shelly stayed with us for nine months. She was a very happy baby. She often had a smile on her face and she would giggle with joy. She taught me to laugh for no reason at all. I still miss the sunshine she brought into our lives.
As a write this, I have opened my home to another nine month old girl. She has already stolen my heart and is teaching me to be happy with what is right in front of me. She is content to play with a toy dangling in front of her face for long periods of time. Kayla is a content, happy girl who loves cuddles.
Fortunately, the first two girls I opened my heart to, are still living with me. Every time I say good-bye to one of these precious children, a piece of my heart goes with them. I walk around like a zombie for the first few weeks after they are gone. The tears just seem to flow with no control. Everything reminds of them and I wake up in the night thinking I hear them cry.
Why do I put myself through such agony? Because I believe in a God of reconciliation. I believe that every child is a gift from God and every parent deserves a second chance to turn their life around. I believe in miracles.