09 Aug When God writes your foster care story
It makes me a little (a-lot-a) nervous to be writing on a blog that will just be dangling out there in cyber world for anyone to read.
Actually, this is less comfortable for me than thinking about a 6-month-old and a 2-year-old in my care at the same time. But this is where having faith in a mighty God and Savior comes in handy.
My hope is that in sharing about my experience with foster care, someone else might hear the voice of God that has been speaking to them about getting involved in caring for our children. There are so many different ways that you can serve, even if fostering is not an option for you.
There are so many different ways that you can serve, even if fostering is not an option for you.
As most of God’s stories in my life, it takes years before I can look back and see how God wove people, places, heartbreaks, struggles, and triumphs together to lead me to a specific place. So, I anticipate in about five years, this story will be much longer. Let me tell you what I know now..
A couple of years ago, God placed the confidence in my heart that I would be a foster parent one day. It wasn’t like a daydream. It was a very clear “you will foster” sort of experience. Then, that led to the daydreaming. In my dreams, the question was always, “Before bio children or after bio children?” Never, “As a single or as a married?” The husband was just sort of a given! [God laughs.] I would foster one day, with my husband, either before or after my bio children–I like a good fifteen year plan.
Then, in the spring of 2015, I learned from a friend, who I had let in on my daydream, that I didn’t have to be married to foster. All of a sudden, the dam surrounding my dreams was lifted and the fight to foster poured out. My mind started making a list of all the hurdles I would have to overcome:
- Babies are expensive- make more money!
- I won’t be able to have roommates.
- I will have to find a daycare that I can afford.
- I will have to give up my social life.
- I won’t be able to date.
- I won’t be able to go to the gym.
- I will have to quit all groups I am a part of.
- I don’t have baby or child things-find all the things!
For a year (almost to the day), I continued adding things to this list and thinking over and over about the WORK that I needed to put in to overcome these obstacles. It seemed liked fostering was a lofty goal that I should leave for the all-put-together-stable-married-me.
During this season of doubt, God, in his funny, funny ways, planted an old Bible study friend of mine in Greenville for medical school. When Livi texted me to tell me she was staying in Greenville, I immediately blurted out, “DO YOU WANT TO LIVE WITH ME?!” It was incredibly impulsive, and for a moment my heart sunk as my dream of fostering was pushed even further down the road. I rationalized with myself that living with a sister-in-Christ would be worth it, and that putting of fostering couldn’t hurt anything.
It seemed liked fostering was a lofty goal that I should leave for the all-put-together-stable-married-me.
I couldn’t stop the thoughts about fostering, though, so God gave me the thought, “Why don’t you just ask your questions to someone who has the answers.” Our church recently put someone on staff who works for a licensing agency here in Greenville. I emailed Beth and we set up a coffee date to go through the How-To’s and What-If’s of fostering as a single.
Beth, I don’t know how long we sat there, but I have pages and pages of notes from that date. I literally went through every challenge my little mind had come up with and one-by-one, through Beth and the church, God just kept saying, “Oh, yup, we do that already…we have this program where…don’t worry about that, we will help you…”
I could feel the chains of doubt just dropping link by link. When I got to the end of my questions, I had nothing more to say. God had already made provision for almost EVERY SINGLE one of my concerns. Before I knew I would foster, God made provision. Jehova Jirah.
Later I realized, in reflecting on the list, my hurdles were not:
- A heart for children
- Training and experience in childcare
- Space in my house to shelter a child
- Friends who can pray for the children
- Time that can be given away
These things God just gave me! I didn’t have to do anything (or much of anything) for these. And these are the things that not everyone has.
Before I knew I would foster, God made provision. Jehova Jirah.
The one catch was that I would probably still have to wait. I decided to go ahead and tell Livi that I wanted to foster, but I had no expectation that she would be ready for that. She is just starting medical school, after all. A couple of months went by, and Beth texted me to see where I was at, and what Livi had said. Well, Livi and I hadn’t talked about it. So, I told Beth that it would probably be a couple of years.
The next day, Livi told me about the conversations that she had been having with God over the past two months and that, yes, this is what we were supposed to do. Tears- immediate, ugly tears all over my face. I was completely blown away.
I know without hesitation that I want to know and live out God’s purpose for my life, and fostering is such a clear mission field for me. I know that it will be really hard. Especially when I have a not-gonna-sleeper. Because I am really good at sleeping and really like it! And I imagine there will be children that I just struggle with and will have to go to my knees for patience and kindness [experiential knowledge, right there]. But this thought, this plan, feels like resting. Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” When I daydream now about fostering, it feels like resting.
-Carol Ann Denyer
You can keep following Carol Ann’s journey as a foster mom on her blog. For more information about beginning the fostering process yourself, click here.
If you are a member at Grace Church and are currently fostering or have adopted, please let us know.