Before I go on with our training experience, I wanted to share our family history with foster care and adoption.
Honestly, some of this didn’t even click with me until we were well into our training process. It wasn't until I looked back that I realized my life had been shaped by foster care.
My mom’s parents were “foster parents” to almost 20 kids.
Not official foster parents. They didn’t get a monthly stipend. They didn’t have caseworkers to help. They just saw needs and opened their homes to teens, some troubled, some abused, and some needing to escape difficult home situations. The last two teens in their home came when I was around ten. Nanny and Papa sacrificed for them. They prayed for those siblings. They encouraged them. They pushed them. They challenged them. Sometimes they had to give out some tough love. Sometimes they got to be cheerleaders. But above all, Nanny and Papa loved them like Jesus.
My dad’s father was a foster kid.
Again, not officially. This was back in the 40s. Grandpa’s mom died in childbirth, and his mom’s family blamed Grandpa’s dad. Great-Grandpa turned to alcohol and eventually lost custody of all seven of his kids. The tiny ones were given loving homes.
Grandpa (center) was shipped off to a farm to provide slave labor and survive on meager rations.
Eventually, his dad heard about how poorly Grandpa was treated and got sober long enough to go get him. Grandpa stayed with and cared for his dad for several years after that until he was offered a home with a very caring aunt and uncle. It was in that home that he began to succeed and see that he had potential and worth in life.
More recently, Joe’s brother and sister-in-law became our first up-close experience with foster care.
We were able to watch and pray for their journey, their “roller-coaster of grace,” that eventually led to the adoption of our dear nephew. They were also the ones who first introduced Joe to the book I mentioned last time, Adopted for Life.
In retrospect, God was preparing us.
He knew His plans for our future, and He knew that they would be good.