How We Decided to Offer Foster Care….and become Servants of Christ

My husband and son (in the blue hat), my brother-in-law and nephew, and my daughter and I watching the fireworks at Magic Kingdom. I had already figured out when this picture was taken that I had made a big mistake having my tubes tied.

I did not grow up thinking that I wanted a large family. My mother always said that she wanted two, and good grief that was enough! She later explained that raising even two was hard work and that it was financially irresponsible to have more than two. The ironic thing about this advice was that she was one of four children, and my dad was one of four children. It wasn’t just her, because all of the families that I grew up with had two children. Even my friends at school only had one other sibling. I remember this fact, because I will never forget when a boy in my class introduced me to the term ‘oopsi-baby’. We were in the second or third grade, and this kid had a younger brother. He came to school one day all kinds of upset. When we asked him what was wrong, he said his mother was crying because they were going to have a ‘oopsi-baby’. I rushed home later that day, and asked my parents if we too were going to have a ‘oopsi-baby’, because whatever that was did not sound like something I wanted to happen to my family!

When it was my time to have children, they were both planned. I loved being a mother, but it was ingrained in me that two was the limit. I had even more reason to believe that two was enough when God blessed me with a boy and a girl. So, at the tender age of twety-five, I went to my OBGYN and requested to have my tubes tied. All of my aunts had this procedure done. My mom’s best friend had it done. It was just the responsible thing to do. It was especially practical, because I hated taking birth control. I also knew that if I were to get pregnant again, even if it was an ‘oopsie-baby’, it would not be well received by my family. Two was enough.

My sweet children back in 2004 when my son was 8 and my daughter was 7.

So, in my young mind, two was enough for me too. However, what I did not count on was to regret the decision deeply. I never took the time to examine my feelings on how many children were right for my family. Learning that children are a blessing from God and letting Him decide how many children that we had was never even a thought, because I had never heard anyone say this. My husband was as clueless as I was. I think at the time, he only saw how hard it was to have two kids so close together that they were both in diapers at the same time! It wasn’t until about three years after the procedure was done that I began to have this constant yearning for more children.

My son 8 years later at the age of 16!

I didn’t tell anyone about these yearnings, not even my husband. I would silently pray every time my period was late, hoping to receive a miracle. I knew that the chances of getting pregnant and it being a viable pregnancy were very small if your tubes were tied. However, that did not stop me from praying for it year after year. I would dream of having a larger family, of my husband and I surrounded by children. I never even knew that you could have the procedure reversed, never bothered to research anything about having more children after what I had done to myself, because my husband was fine with not having any more. He also came from a two children home. So, I sat in silence, praying that somehow, some way, I would be able to have more children.

My daughter 8 years later at 14!

It was not until we began this journey of faith that my yearning became almost unbearable. Whatever was coming over me, had to be from God, because never in my life did I feel so strongly that we should add to our family. I began to seriously see the error of letting society, even my wonderful family whom I love dearly, decide what was right for my husband and I. Perhaps I could comfort myself that God allowed this to happen, and if He had other plans for me in the children department, my convictions would have stood firm against the pressure to become sterile. But, with that knowledge, I was doubly miserable, because how could I feel like God was placing it on my heart to grow my family, when He knew that because of what I had done, that I couldn’t? Where was all of this coming from and how could I make it go away?

My awesome husband, who is always our hero and goes to all of our Girl Scout camping trips!

My husband began to see that I was extremely serious about this, and he hated to see me so miserable. He knew the great things that had come from the first time God had spoken to me about taking back our kids, so he believed me when I said that God had spoken again. Problem was, he could not see how we could afford to become pregnant. We knew that spending $6,000 to have my tubes reversed would be financially irresponsible, because at my age, the chances of becoming pregnant were much lower. In vitro was out of our price range, and even if it wasn’t, that would be just one more child (or twins, triplets, etc.!), and who knew if the first time would result in a pregnancy? I felt that God was calling me to grow my family in a much larger scale, and there was no way that I could birth all of those children. All we could do was pray that God would reveal to us, HOW we were to grow our family.

My kids and me…..right when we decided as a family to offer foster care to children.

One day, out of the blue, in the most oddest of places, through the oddest of people, we received our answer. I was leading a camping trip with my homeschool Girl Scout troop, and another mom had volunteered to go as a chaperone. Her daughter had just joined my troop, and she had some behavioral issues that her mother wanted to keep an eye on, so she always accompanied her daughter on overnight trips. Having the daughter that I have, I completely understood, and welcomed her with open arms. We were sitting in the cabin, on the coldest day in January, brushing out a huge knot in one of my girl’s hair. It took us over an hour to get this knot out of this child’s hair, which was plenty of time to talk and get to know one another better. It turns out, she had six children. That was a huge family to me! I told her of my struggles with wanting more and how I was not able to. She told me that I should definately have more children, because I was so good with all of the girls. When I told her that due to my age, I would have a hard time conceiving after the surgery, she sort of looked at me weird. She said, “Don’t you know? Four of my children are adopted through foster care.” I just kinda sat there, so she went on, “I was not able to have children naturally, so God placed it upon my heart to be a Servant of Christ and offer my home for foster children. One thing led to another, and I wound up adopting four of them.” (she later tried in virtro and was blessed with twins, bringing their number to six!)

I wasn’t really sure what to do with that information. Foster care? Me? Would my husband go for that? How would my children react? While I was reeling from all that she told me that weekend, at the very next Girl Scout meeting, which was three days later, another mom approached me. “Hey” she said, “I was wondering why you didn’t have more children, as you seem to be so good with them?” I just stared at her. What was going on, was this some sort of sick joke? I told her that I had been thinking a lot on that subject lately, but that I was unable to have more children. She said, “I was right about your age when I started wishing that I could have more. Because I was almost 40, my husband and I decided to do foster care instead. We adopted two girls!”. My gaze whipped over to the two girls that she was speaking of, and it never occured to me that they were not her biological daughters. They even resembled her! I stood there open-mouthed, then got my wits about me, and bombarded her with questions.

My husband with Coconut….they are watching my children and their friends playing in the ocean. Whatever misgivings Dave had about having more children and fostering flew out the window when Coconut climbed into his heart!

When I got home that night, I started researching foster care. I read anything that I could get my hands on for months. Finally, after years of debating, many tears, many arguments, and much talking and praying, my husband and I came to a conclusion. We would take the classes necessary to become foster parents. We were not sure what was ahead of us on this journey, but it seemed that God was lighting the way in that direction. All we had to do was jump off the deep end, spread our arms open wide, and let our faith fly. If you have read any other posts on my blog, you know that we have a foster son that we call ‘Coconut’. He will eventually go to relatives, but it has been the most eye-opening and wonderful experience to be a Servant of Christ. Hopefully, many more will follow, but that is entirely up to God.

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