Our Journey to Choosing Foster Care
A lot of people ask me, “What made you decide to do foster care?” Honestly, it’s not a simple answer. It took a full year or so to realize that’s what we were supposed to do. Several events had to happen in order for us to recognize that was the door God was opening for us. So, here’s a month-by-month playbook that led us to the decision to enter the foster care world.
*Disclaimer: I am NOT AT ALL an open person about private things, so this is somewhat uncomfortable to share some of this info. But, I’m hoping it can help encourage other couples that may be going through some of the same struggles.
Just a couple months before, my mom was diagnosed with stage 3C ovarian cancer- a brutal shock to our family. She was about to start chemo and I felt like we needed some happiness in our family. We had tried on our own to have children for years, but it just wasn’t happening. After two or three DOZEN failed pregnancy tests, I went to my gynecologist and she suggested a fertility pill. With anticipation, I started taking the pill. We anxiously awaited the next month to have blood drawn to see if I was pregnant.
After a month on the fertility pill and following the “rules” on how to get pregnant, I returned to my gyno to have blood drawn. I anxiously awaited the call from my doctor to hear the results. After a couple of days, I received a phone call and the nurse said, “Well, you did ovulate.” Well, duh…I was thinking. I know that. Tell me something I don’t know! “But, we can’t tell if you’re pregnant for a couple more weeks.” Disappointed, I hung up the phone and waited to see if Aunt Flo would come around. I continued to take the pill and sure enough, she arrived right on time. Honestly, I was devastated. I guess I thought it would be easy to get pregnant with the pill. I already imagined having a Fall baby and celebrating the holidays with a little one in tow. Those dreams were quickly dashed. A few days after the disappointment, we received a text message that my husbands brother and his girlfriend were having a baby. While we were extremely excited for them, I cried when we got the news. That’s supposed to be us, I thought. I really had to fight against the feelings of jealousy and realize that’s what God had planned for them and He has something else for us. But, it was HARD. Keep in mind, during this whole process we didn’t say a word to our families. We thought that it would be fun when we could say, “Surprise, we’re having a baby!” But, I soon realized how much I could’ve used their support during the next few months. So, after receiving the news of the soon arrival of our niece and seeing the fertility pill didn’t work, I stopped taking it for the rest of this month. The stress and pressure just didn’t seem worth it.
After being off the fertility pill for a couple of weeks, I decided to give it another try. So, I got my prescription refilled. However, I decided not to put so much pressure on myself. If it happened it happened. If not, it just wasn’t meant to be. I didn’t go to my doctor monthly to get blood drawn, because it just meant more anxious disappointment when it didn’t happen. During these months, I struggled with depression, which makes it harder to get motivated to make a baby. I would try to tell myself, “I’m just not meant to be a mother”. But, then I would cry at the thought of never getting that opportunity. It was a horrible time in my life and required so much prayer just to get through each day.
Mother’s Day this year was bittersweet. Sweet in the sense that I was getting to celebrate my wonderful mother, that the Lord spared her life and she was making a full recovery. Yet, my desire to be a mother was so intense that I could barely make it through the day. At church, I could hardly keep from crying and just wanted the day to be over. I was angry with God that He wouldn’t just answer my prayer. It seemed like such a simple request, so why wasn’t He answering? Could He hear me? I believe this was around the time that the Lord really started putting in my heart that we were going to have to go another direction to have a baby. I remember a strong feeling that no matter how many fertility pills I took and how long we tried to have a baby, it just wasn’t going to happen.
This month marked 6 months that I had been taking the pill and still no baby. The doctor’s office called and said they weren’t going to refill the prescription anymore and just felt like if it hadn’t worked up to this point, it probably wasn’t going to ever work. They said if we wanted to explore other fertility options we could and Justin could get tested to see if there was anything they could do for him. Other than that, we were done. I left the decision up to Justin entirely. I told him that if we were meant to get pregnant, it would happen regardless of what the doctors or any test says. He chose not to get tested and I don’t blame him. There was no point, because no matter what the results said, we had already decided that we didn’t want to try any other fertilization treatments. We felt that if God wanted it to happen naturally, then it would. We didn’t want to keep forcing His hand.
Our precious little niece was born! Yay! It truly was an exciting time for our family. Our first niece and the first grandbaby on my husbands side of the family. While I was still struggling with some depression and questioning God, I had to put that aside. I needed to find joy in the midst of this tumultuous storm. I had to know that our time was coming and just enjoy each moment. We waited at the hospital until this precious bundle joined the world. I couldn’t wait to hold her and we all immediately fell in love. Amongst all the excitement, I still wondered what our story was going to be. I had thought about adoption ever since I was a teenager. I knew it was something I wanted to do eventually. Justin and I even talked about it while we were dating and both agreed that we wanted to adopt at least one child during our marriage. During this time, I mentioned to Justin about adoption and thought we should start checking into it. He immediately shut that idea down. I was actually kind of surprised. Looking back, I think he was still clinging to the hope that I would get pregnant. Whereas, I had already come to the realization that probably wasn’t going to happen. He said he wanted to keep trying for a few more months and so I dropped the whole adoption thing. I started intensely praying about it. I certainly didn’t want to push Justin into anything, but I knew this was the direction God was leading. So, I just prayed that God would get Justin to the same place I was. I didn’t say another word about adoption for months and just prayed.
This was definitely a growing and learning time for us. Like I said earlier, I wish we would’ve clued in our parents on what was going on in our life, because I could see us pulling away from them. After our niece was born, it was hard to be around babies. Not just her, but everyone’s kids. Of course we were happy for them and our friends that were having children. Yet, when your heart wants something so bad that it hurts, it just makes it harder to be around. It was definitely not a good idea to pull away from family and we eventually did let them know what was going on. Before we talked to Justin’s parents, I remember feeling so inadequate. I thought to myself, Are they going to wish their son had married someone else? Someone that could have children? Are they going to love me less? I was disappointed in myself and expected them to feel the same way. However, they were completely understanding and supportive. I have wonderful Christian in-laws, so I know they prayed for us and that was a comfort in itself.
The holidays arrived. Earlier in this year, I expected to have a little bundle to enjoy this time of year with. Those feelings of jealousy, anger and bitterness would try to creep in, but I had to keep trusting that God had a plan. Justin & I kept trying to get pregnant and I kept praying that God would speak to Justin about adoption. The whole process was just a waiting game, but looking back I realize how God was using this time to build His strength in me for what was to come.
No major changes happened during this time. Still praying…still waiting…
Okay, this journey was a little over a year in the making, but close enough. Welcome to the month that changed our life. This still truly amazes me how God orchestrated this whole thing. Justin and I decided to take a vacation for our anniversary. We went to the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee and got a cabin. We were relaxing and enjoying our trip. Out of no where, Justin said, “I really wish we had a kid on this trip with us. It just feels weird us being by ourselves.” Kind of confused, I agreed. He continued, “I think when we get back home, we need to start looking into adoption.” I’m just going to pause here for a moment and let it sink in that GOD JUST ANSWERED MY PRAYER. I nearly burst into tears realizing that during this past year, God had been speaking to Justin the same things He had been speaking to me. Justin continued to tell me that he had been praying for months about pursuing adoption and knew it was God’s will and finally felt like this was the right time. I was so excited and uplifted. I could finally see the light at the end of our tunnel.
April 1 we met with an adoption agency. We knew going in that adoption is expensive and we don’t have that kind of money. Yet, we sat through the meeting and gathered all of the information we could. After we left, we began talking about it and both knew that wasn’t the direction we needed to go. It wasn’t even an issue about the money; we could figure that part out. We just felt like God was saying, “No”. Which was confusing! We both knew without a doubt that we were moving in the right direction. However, we both felt extremely uneasy about adopting through an agency at that time. God opened another door for me to meet a wonderful, Christian lady who was associated with a foster care training program in our area. Originally, I began talking to her about adoption. I asked her tons of questions and she gave me helpful advice. She would throw tidbits of information about foster care in there and I would just shoot that idea down. “No, we could never do that!”, I would tell her. She patiently continued to talk to me and guide me. Without a doubt, I know God put this woman in our life. One day, I talked to her and she gave me more information about foster care. She told me all kinds of statistics in our area and how many children need care. For some reason, that day it all seemed to sink in. Discouraged, I hung up the phone and told Justin that I don’t know what we should do. Without hesitation, he said, “I think we need to pursue foster care”. And without hesitation, I replied, “I agree”.
June 8 was our very first foster care meeting. This is the day we officially began our process into becoming foster parents. We were nervous and excited. But, the whole time we knew that was exactly where God wanted us to be. The last 17 months led to that moment, when we said yes to the call.
As they say, “The rest is history!” I don’t regret one moment of our story. God is a wonderful Author. I look back and can see His hand in everything. Step by step, He was working in mine and Justin’s life to get us to that place where we could be used by Him. How beautiful our lives can be when we give our Maker full control.
If you are struggling with infertility issues, I urge you to give it to God. Allow Him to guide you into the direction He would have you to go. Don’t allow bitterness or anger to grow inside of you, but rest assured that God is working in your life even if you don’t see it.