Thursday, July 28, 2016

Big news: We're doing foster care!

Wow, what a title. Yes, it's true!

We haven't shared this news with people besides family and close friends, but this part of our journey has been unfolding behind the scenes for awhile now, so we felt it was time to share as the time of it actually happening is getting closer. Here's how it came about:

I have always been interested in adoption. I feel that works well with the gifts God has blessed me with in teaching/kids, helping others, and empathy, and has always been a desire of mine. I believe I even wrote it on a list of qualities I wanted in my future husband when I was about 12. Woah.

(In case you aren't familiar with our back story, Kley and I have been married for 6 years in August. Our first year was in Minneapolis while I finished school, then we lived in Des Moines for 3.5 years while Kley went to law school and I taught preschool, and we have lived in small town NW Iowa since Christmas 2014. We have one daughter, Norah, who will be 2 in October.)

While adoption had always been on the back burner of my mind, I hadn't specifically thought about foster care. We started talking about it when we moved here. I was feeling drawn to it first and I kept thinking about it, but Kley wasn't feeling called, so we didn't talk about it for awhile. We both felt that it was very important to be on the same page, so if he wasn't feeling it like I was, then we weren't doing it/the timing wasn't right.

Foster care kept coming up to me/us in our devotionals and in some studies our life group did about spiritual multiplication and sharing the Gospel in your marriage, and it kept coming up. Kley started bringing it up a couple times on his own, without me saying anything, and we started talking about it. We both felt like this was something God was calling us to, so we started taking steps to make that a reality (I'll talk more about that later). I will always remember the conversation we had in the car after life group one night where we both knew this was it and we were doing it.

Now that I am staying home, I was really praying when we moved here about what I could do with my time and our home that would be of eternal value and that would share His name. We really wanted to find a way to tangibly and practically share the Gospel with others and use our time and gifts in ways that made a difference eternally. That looks different for everyone based on God's calling for you, but for us, we feel we can do that through foster care. It's very scary, but also brings a sense of peace to be obedient, even though it will be challenging at times. We know it will be stretching and consuming, but we've been feeling really convicted that we aren't supposed to life an easy life as Christians. If serving Him isn't hard sometimes, then we are doing something wrong. Serving Him should expand us. Foster care will be hard, yes, and it will be demanding, but we know we are called to do this and we want to be obedient and faithful. He has been so faithful to us and we know He will give us the strength we need.

So, for now, we are still in the process of making it official (we have to take lots of classes), so it will be a couple months until we actually could have children in our home, but the intense part of our classes is underway, so we are excited and anxious to learn a lot. We are becoming certified for foster care and adoption, but in the foreseeable future we are not actively pursuing adoption. We want to be certified for it because we would like to do it someday and want to be ready in case we would have a situation in which a foster child became available for adoption.

We will keep you updated, but wanted to share the initial news! We absolutely do not share this news as a "pat on the back" to us in any way, because that's not what we are looking for. It's actually really scary to post because we know some people's responses might not be overly positive- because there is a lot of brokenness involved with foster care and it's tough. The most common question people ask in response to the news is, "Are you so excited?" Truly, the answer to that question is no. It's quite scary with a lot of unknowns, but we need to follow where He leads. We were talking to friends who are taking the class with us (which is a huge answer to prayer to have people to talk to about it that understand!), and she said that there is nothing about foster care that is actually attractive, there is a lot of hardships involved, but if Jesus were here on earth now, He would be doing something like this. I thought that was beautiful, because serving others often isn't attractive, but His sacrifice for us was so complete and selfless, that we know He will give us the tools we need. We also share the news because we have to be very selective in what we can tell others, so we wanted you to know that we are doing foster care so you know what's happening when "random" kids start to come live with us. I use quotations around random because it will appear that way, but we have been praying for whatever kids will come into our home for months already, and know that His placements will not be random at all. Whenever we get a child, we aren't even supposed to call them a foster son/daughter, we are just supposed to say that a friend came to live with us. So, we wanted you to know now because we can't disclose much information later.

What a journey!

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