Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Foster to Adopt

As many of you know, my wife and began pursuing adoption well over a year ago. At first we were working through a private agency to potentially adopt a baby who was referred through a crisis pregnancy center in town.

About 8 months after being approved, we did not have a baby and in fact had only been reviewed by two biological mothers in that time period. Both passed us in favor of people who had no children. We began meeting people who have been waiting far longer and still had no baby. It's remarkable that over one million babies are aborted each year in our country while literally thousands of couples wait to adopt infants.

Some time in early summer Shari and I really began to wrestle with our motivation for adopting and even our method (a subject for a future post). At the same time God lead us to talk with people who were currently foster parents, one family in particular who was working to adopt the child in there present care. We found ourselves becoming more open to the idea of becoming foster care providers, something which amazes me knowing how closed to such a notion I once was.

We decided to enroll in the "PS-MAPP" class which is required to become a licensed foster care provider. This meant taking ten 3-hour classes from late August through October. Frankly our schedules just didn't have that time to give, but the Lord provided for several schedule provisions and special grace within our family structure to allow for taking it. During those ten weeks Shari and I began to catch a vision for foster care as ministry. There is a HUGE need for foster parents. There are hundreds of kids who regularly become temporary wards of the state for various reasons and need care. In preparation for adoption we had moved two of our boys in to the same room and consequently have an open room just sitting empty. That's not good stewardship in our minds, why not give a child or two a place to stay while waiting to rejoin their family? Better yet, we can help the family get their child back by mentoring and encouragement. Even better than all that, we can share Christ with these families and have opportunity to mentor them from a Christian perspective if they ask. I think this is what God wants us to do.

We would still like to adopt a child. If one of the children we care for becomes adoptable, meaning there is no way they can go back to their biological home, we will seek the Lord's will about adopting that child. We are reasonably sure this will happen eventually, which is exciting, but if it doesn't, being a foster family is something we can surely do, by God's grace.

So today we began to finalize our licensing process, just a few more visits by the state to become official and ready to take our first "placement". We've had to do all sorts of adjustments to the house and are a bit overwhelmed by the huge manual and all the rules and requirements we must some how remember and follow, nevertheless, we're looking forward to this new adventure.

We have decided to license for children aged 0-5 to start as our youngest is 6 years old and feel more comfortable fostering children younger than our own. We would be most grateful for your prayers in this endeavor and will keep you posted to how things are going.


Anonymous said...

What great hearts you and Sheri have. The child that is placed in your home will be greatly blessed to have two parents that have so much love for their children and who are willing to share their family and love with yet another. Praise God for your ministry and I pray that God will provide just the right Child for you all and protection from any harm that might threaten the happiness and welfare of your family. Glory to God and HIS will be done. Amen

Michael Lockridge said...

Many years ago I had a friend named Dave Crockett. He was descended from the brother of another Crockett of frontier fame.

Dave was a retired Navy sailor with a wife and several children. I knew him when he was preparing for ministry at what was then Multnomah School of the Bible, now a university.

With limited resources and a full plate Dave took the time to outfit a room of their house with multiple bunks aquired at a ship salvage yard. He and his wife proceded to fill those bunks with foster children.

Much later my wife and I took in a foster child only once, for most of a year. It was a good experience, but we found with my wife's mother growing more mentally ill over time our resources had to be focused there.

For those considering foster parenting I would recommend familiarity with some of the common mental illnesses and behavioral issues that can come with foster children, especially older ones.

The young woman we cared for was nearly adult, and had a borderline personality disorder. Iterestingly enough, that is my mother in law's condition as well. Having two in the house at the same time was quite challenging.

For those who have the strength and committment, foster parenting can be a valuable ministry. For those who prefer short committments, fostering children under Child Protective Services (or your state's equivalent) is also a valuable service.


Malcolm said...

I was at a meeting with Kansans for Life yesterday and this very topic came up. Also, a good friend of mine adopted a baby from China, as are many adoptive parents, since it is so difficult here. Abortion is a huge reason why adoption is difficult, but the other reason is that many parents are now "comfortable" having a child without marrying. I really had not thought about this. It is a double edged sword of course...the child is not aborted, but the parents may never marry, etc. I know of two such relationships within my small world in the last couple of months.

Frontier Forest said...

Not only what we pray about, but also what we think, plan and prepare for in our hearts is screened by the Lord. And I know yours and Sheri’s thoughts and prayers are acceptable and very pleasing in His Sight. We will covet to pray and support you through this new and challenging journey. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, my Lord, my Strength, my Redeemer.” Psalms 19:14