Two years ago, the Lord brought a sweet little boy into the world and we thought He was bringing him into our family. But He did not. We were devastated and I found myself questioning the very sovereignty of God. Less than a year later, we began the process to adopt again through the same agency we worked with for Benjamin's adoption. We hurriedly finished all our paperwork, asked our friends to write letters of reference, and went to the required orientation. I found myself believing that after what we had been through, we deserved a quick and easy placement. My prayers were often little more that telling God what would make me believe in His sovereignty again. I read my Bible regularly, went to my Bible studies, and did all the things I knew I should be doing. All the while, I was hurting and sometimes really angry that God would take us through the deep pain of infertility, and then, as if that weren't enough, take us through the pain of losing a child we thought He was giving us. We were nearly ready to schedule our home study when Matt's job started getting scary. He came home many days telling me that he didn't know if he'd have a job by the end of the month. My first thoughts were panic over the fact that we couldn't very well adopt a child with no family income. I struggled for control and grew even more frustrated with our circumstances. I had always pictured having my kids about 2 years apart and the closer we got to Ben being 2 1/2, the more anxious I got. But God was (as He always is) working on my heart, even though it was hurting. Not long after we returned from CA after that failed adoption, I came across a podcast done by a couple who had a heart for kids in need and who were in the beginning stages of foster care. I listened to every episode and began to wonder if God would someday lead us down that path. But I really wasn't willing to do it until we had gotten to adopt as least one more baby. Then I started reading the book as part of our women's Bible study at church. It's called The Forgotten God by Francis Chan and it began to change me. Part of the chapter on God's will said "...dwelling on God's plan for the future often excuses us from faithful and sacrificial living now. It tends to create a safe zone of sorts, where we can sit around and have 'spiritual' conversation about what God 'might' have planned for our lives. Thinking, questioning, and talking can take the place of letting the Spirit affect our immediate actions in radical ways." I mulled that over and wanted to act on it, but in many ways I still wasn't "over" my desire to have my way. I wanted to be more willing to go the direction God wanted us to take, but I really didn't want to do it until I had what I wanted, which was a baby.
Not long before we moved, I was part of a Bible study and was watching the video for that week's study. One of the bullet points was that we needed to move past our devastation with God. I felt like someone had just put a knife in me. I knew that was a huge part of my problem. I was devastated with God and I didn't want to get past it. I was afraid if I let go of it and trusted Him again, I would only be devastated again and then perhaps lose my faith all together. But watching that video became a turning point for me. As I completed the study later that week, I was so amazed that God was dealing this out with me and that He hadn't been faithless even though I had. I underlined so much from that week, but a couple of things stuck out to me and they are so true. "Satan has no greater agenda than to talk you and me into believing that God is not good after all." and "Accepting the challenge to work through crisis and conflict can be a tremendously important part of developing closeness in relationship...Work right through the middle of it with your God. He has never left you. Never ceased loving you. And never shut off His goodness from you."
I began to take hold of that truth and in many ways, I feel like that's when I began to believe once again that God is who He says He is. But when we moved, I still assumed that we would adopt an infant before we did anything else. I researched agencies and Matt found out about a couple of people from his work who had adopted recently. We even filled out the preliminary application for an agency and I was ready to send it in. But then I got that check in my spirit and waited. Matt and I talked about timing and whether or not to do adopt through foster care now, or later and after lots of talking and reasoning it out, I felt peace about moving forward with an infant adoption.
Then I listened to another episode of that foster parenting podcast and I was caught up short. They put out the challenge that often when we feel peace about something, it's not necessarily peace we are feeling, but comfort. Often we say we have a peace about something because we are too afraid to do anything else. I absolutely knew this was why I had "peace" about applying for another infant adoption. It felt comfortable to me. I knew how the process worked when you used an agency and I wanted a baby. But I also just kept getting this prompting toward foster care and adopting through that process. So we stalled some more. I waited, hoping God would give us the go ahead toward infant adoption and we continued to save money.
A few weeks ago, I finally made some phone calls to at least get some information about foster care. I had heard that it was best to work with an agency, but the only one I was able to get a hold of didn't work with our county. The other one never returned my calls. I also left a message for someone with the department of child services and received a quick call back, as well as a packet in the mail within a few days. Today we registered to begin the 26 hours of training we will have to complete in order to be foster parents.
My emotions are all over the place. I'm super excited, but I'm also scared to death. I still struggle with that expectation that if God is calling us to do this, He is going to make it easy for us. But He never promised that doing what He asks will be easy. I have this sense of euphoria that I imagine one would have just after stepping out of a plane to go sky diving. It's the excitement of being willing to go where God is telling us to go, even though I'm 100% out of my comfort zone.
I still don't know for sure if this is the direction we will be taking. I'm still struggling not to run the other way out of fear of the unknown. And I'm still having to let go of my desire to have another baby and trust that God knows what is best in His big picture plan. But we are walking forward and doing the next thing until He leads us through or closes the door. Pray for us!