Come to Me, by Bethel - <- click! this is a song that i listened to maybe 5 times every. single. day. driving to visitation. driving home from visitation. back and forth from court. moments of those ugly cries that happened randomly. His PROMISES are beautifully DECLARED in this. Listen to it.
No Longer Slaves -- click! --this came out later during our battle for JJ- but has pushed me forward. Listen to it if you haven't. You'll be brought to your knees.
So if you've been with us the past 4 years, or new to our journey... I want to begin by telling you how beyond grateful and thankful we are for each of you that we are humbled to call our village, our warriors,... our people.
Tuesday, September 22, 2015 marked one of the most incredible days in our families life. Our boy we've had in our home on loan, fostering, for 659 days... 2 months shy of 2 years.... BECAME OURS FOREVER! These last several years have had such heights of joy coupled with learning such new depths of darkness and pain and hurt. Our story is not much different than our fellow foster/adoptive warriors- but The Lord heavily impressed upon my heart to write it out. If you don't know anything else about me other than I have a husband, 3 children, love foster care/adoption, and love Jesus... know that I love to write... not ever for fun or just because, only when the Lord does something so magnificent or even so small I don't want to forget. I hope that as you read these words you will be awed and captivated by this God we have the honor to call FATHER, the honor to serve, the honor to LOVE, and the honor to stand redeemed in His presence by the power of his GRACE!
February 2012 we felt the calling to adopt. So we chose international in hopes that that would protect us from the heartache of uncertainty. Later that month, before we fully announced it I went to a conference with Megan Luevano and Cori Kyle. During worship The Lord vividly showed me this tiny brown baby boy that I knew was our son. At the time of course I assumed it was a little boy from Colombia we would be adopting!
Then that August during another powerful time of worship at 1910 Church, we were next to some of our best friends, The Fickeys. The Lord brought me to my seat with command after command and spoke clearer than He EVER HAD before. I could barely breathe. He spoke some really hard things for me to hear. He spoke very specific things to begin praying over the child we would be adopting but also for the child The Fickeys would be adopting. Then He very very very clearly showed me an image of this tiny brown baby boy with lots and lots and lots of super dark hair. Once again I assumed it was our Colombian son.
A little over a year into the process, the country chose to deny us then close down to any American who was not a Colombian National. Heartache doesn't even describe the feelings Aaron and I experienced. This idea I had made up in my head was shattered. Not to mention the money that was lost. Talk about a great reminder that things of this world are fleeting and our only constant is our Lord. I had come in contact with a woman through preschool who I thought at the time was.... one of those "crazy foster moms" .... I could NEVER do that I thought. And my bio kids... goodness I didn't think they could handle it either. Well little did I know The Lord knit her into my path months before He knew I would need her.
After this, we still knew adoption was in our future but we were angry, and broken, and didn't know where to go from our devastation. Our devastation led to healing. And what the enemy intended to slow us down began to fuel our fire and fight even harder.
One night during worship and ministry a dear friend, Brandi came and spoke some incredibly POWERFUL words to me that only the holy spirit could have impressed on her to speak to me. Part of it made sense and the other I didn't understand specifically at that time.
Fast forward one week and remember that crazy foster mom I mentioned earlier? She has become one of my dearest, and most treasured friends. Jennifer Smith spoke wisdom and direction and helped get our feet moving again and to not sit in our disappointment. We had released OUR plans. We had finally deleted from our minds this made up gold bow that people put on adoption. It's beautiful yes, but its brutally hard. And we aren't saints. Or doing anything amazing for "these kids"... they are doing amazing things to us. We didn't become licensed to foster to get the perfect child, we got licensed to foster to gift our family to a child in need and be willing to lay our emotions on the line so the innocent child did not have to.
3 weeks after we were licensed we finally got the call. We had received several other calls for children, to which my wonderful group of girlfriends prayed with me over, but for another reason the CPS caseworker chose different families. Tuesday afternoon we were told we were chosen and had to get to the hospital to pick up a 5 day old baby boy who was going to be legally free in 2 weeks with absolutely no health problems ((( PAUSE FOR A SECOND HERE- if you're in this foster world, or know anything about it... I mean, that alone should've been a red flag hahaha! Not sure if there's any such case out there like that. And when you're told something and come to find out there's no truth to the details they gave you about the child or children you are taking in... give GRACE. GRACE y'all. These caseworkers are over worked and sometimes don't have the time to get right details. Or sometimes don't care to bc all they know is that child needs out of where they are now. Okay, rant done.))) While we frantically got our girls to grandparents houses I remember talking to Katie telling her I somehow felt peaceful about this craziness happening... except for the fact that my house was a crazy horrible DISASTER. So you know what she did? She and her mom and my friends snuck in while we were picking up baby boy and CLEANED OUR HOUSE. And stocked it with all things baby for us. I don't know who I am in this world that the LORD would give me such dear friends to serve in ways like they have served us...
ONE OF THE COOLEST PARTS IS COMING UP so stay with me. We rush to get Faith and Ava from school. Aarons response was probably my favorite... when I called to tell him we were chosen and we had to go like RIGHT NOW, he said "oh my gosh! oh my gosh!:-) .... Oh my goodness I think I'm going to throw up". It comes on like a ton of bricks when what we've prayed for for years comes to be. We got to the hospital and no one knew what was going on. We got there at 5pm and didn't leave until close to 11. When they finally brought him into a tiny storage closet they had us in, he was BEAUTIFULLY tan, super tiny, and had a HEAD FULL OF DARK HAIR! Oh Lord how sweet and faithful you are. We came to find out there were some health concerns to which lots of further testing would be needed so when they went to get the Pediatrician to talk us through it all she had already left because it was so late. So they got her on the phone and it was one of Aaron's oldest brother, Brandon's, best friends WIFE who we've known for a very long time!!!!!! She had been the one caring for our little guy. Talk about another gift from God. She has been a treasure as well. We left the hospital after being shoved all kinds of papers, nurses in and out, trying to hold it together while staring at this baby who is absolutely beautiful, and trying to comprehend what all is happening coupled with trying to follow Dr. Toms info about baby boy's testings. She was so gracious to call us on the way home to reassure us to fear not, to NOT google anything (my favorite haha), and to just love.. because that's what he needed right now.
From here on out you all have journeyed with us through my posts and prayer requests these past 2 years. What looked to be an easy adoption case turned into one of the most difficult the court had seen. Not because bio parents were trying to recover and fight... but because of details that are far more complicated than I can share. Just know most cases are hoped to be finalized within 10-12 months. Ours took 21.
Remember those words I wrote about that my dear friend Brandi spoke to me? Boy did they ever come to be. 2.5 years later. They spoke healing into the next set of circumstances that were set before us.
All of these details recorded and written are simply for God's glory to be seen. In no way could man have orchestrated this the way it all played out. In our current bible study right now our teacher just challenged us to fight to get to a place where the only question left is "WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO GET THERE?"- what will it take to get to a place where only God's glory is a possible explanation?
A journey like this I tell ya. The details from the moment we were called, to September 22 all seem to be clear now. Looking back at what Jesus has done for you more clearly prepares us to bravely trust in HIS FAITHFULNESS in what's to come. Nothing has strengthened our prayer life, our family, our marriage, our value of church family, and faith more that this heart wrenching journey.
Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 1 John 4:18
Now unto Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine... Ephesians 3:20
The Lord will fight for you... you only need be still. Exodus 14:14
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
To those of you considering fostering or adopting my answer is yes. Fearful that you can't handle it emotionally? Good, because you can't- but God can. Afraid that your biological children can't handle it? They're stronger than you think-... pray about it with them. It will teach them the love of Jesus and the gospel and sacrificial living far greater than anything else you try. Every family is different, yes. But I believe every family can help in some way. Don't want to be on the front line with the children? Trust me, there are many other areas you can serve.