As you may have already seen if you follow me on social media, we are stepping into God’s bigger picture in a new way: foster care! And because I don’t want all of my Instagram posts to get super long in the future with updates, I figured that it would just make sense for me to make a section on the blog about our journey.
So to start at the beginning of this journey, we have to go waaaay back. Like all the way to elementary school. When I was that young I already had a heart for adoption. I wanted my parents to adopt so bad – so much so that I even wrote them a letter from “God” saying that they were supposed to adopt. They didn’t ever end up adopting, so I figured that I would just have to wait and adopt for myself. Over the years, that desire never went away. Luckily (although really it wasn’t luck – it was God) I found a man who also wanted to adopt. We even talked about it on our first or second date, and it has been a part of our plan together ever since.
Fast forward to when I was pregnant with Raiden. Somewhere along the lines I heard that adopting from foster care was waaaay less expensive. Like basically nothing compared to adopting internationally or even domestically. That changed things. It meant that maybe we could pursue adoption sooner than we thought. And so began my desire to foster. But it wasn’t just a small little desire that I could push aside. It was something I thought about every day, which was kind of crazy since my first child wasn’t even born yet and I was already constantly thinking and praying about the next child we would bring into our home. But I knew that it was from God, and so I just continued to pray and prepare my heart.
At that point though, it was only a desire to foster to adopt. I did not want to just foster. That meant giving children back, and I didn’t want to have to do that. But then, like the Lord does, He began working on me and using other people’s stories to open my eyes to what He really wants. I began following several different foster mamas on Instagram and through following their stories and reading their blogs, I slowly realized that fostering and adopting isn’t at all about me. It’s about children in need of love and care. So if a child is in a bad situation and needs care, how could I say no to caring for them, even if it means I have to eventually give them back and have my heart broken? I realized that following Jesus and caring for children is more important than protecting myself from ever feeling hurt. Thankfully, as I shared these stories and thoughts with Richard, he also came to this same realization.
But even though we knew we were going to foster our next child, we did not think it would be so soon. According to Richard’s plan, we were going to start the process when Raiden was around two. And we heard the process to get licensed takes around six months, so that meant getting a child when he was about two and a half. And yet, here we are… (Raiden is currently 14 months).
I knew that I was ready (maybe ready isn’t the right term – I knew that God was calling me) to begin the process early, but Richard wasn’t 100% there yet. But then at the beginning of March we went to Encounter, which is like an orientation/information meeting that FaithBridge (Christian foster care agency) does. Because I had already done a lot of research and follow a lot of people’s foster care journeys, I already knew the majority of the information shared, but for Richard, some of it was eye-opening. We left the church it was held at and after a few minutes in the car I asked him, “So… what are you thinking about everything??” And his response was what most people’s is after hearing all of that information: “I think we need to go ahead and start. How could we not?” When you hear the stories of what children are going through – the neglect and the abuse – it’s hard to just sit back and do nothing.
And so we started – to say the least! For most people, the next step after Encounter is Foundations, which is a 20 hour long class that is all crammed into one weekend. We are attending it April 20th-22nd. After that class, most people then begin all of the paperwork. But because I am an over-achiever, anti-procrastinator, I saw all of the paperwork requirements on our MyFaithBridge account and began working on it. And I’ve pretty much already finished all of it… We just have to get our physicals, drug tests, fingerprints, and CPR training done and turned in. And I think we will have all of that done before we go to the class. So once the class is over with, all we will have left is our home studies (there are three). How quick they all get done depends upon how much they tell us we need to do to our house for it to be approved.
When I realized how quick I was getting everything done, I started second guessing myself and getting nervous to tell Richard that we could end up licensed way sooner than the fall (when we originally thought we might be). I spent a few days praying and asking God if I needed to slow it down, or keep going. I felt Him say keep going, but I was still nervous to have that little convo with Richard… like oh hey babe, by the way we could end up with a baby in two or three months… Wasn’t too sure how that was going to go!
And then one night last week Richard came home from work all excited about how He felt God was using him at work, and how multiple guys had been asking him about us fostering and he had just gotten to share with them about the great need for it. So I took that as my opportunity and said, “Speaking of… let me preface this with, I have really been praying about this!” I told him how I thought we were going to be licensed way sooner than we originally thought, and asked him what he thought and he responded in the best way I could have hoped for. He said that clearly God was doing something, and to keep doing what I was doing.
So, all that to say, we could end up with a baby (our age range will be newborn-9 months) in our home in early summer, if God keeps things moving along! What?!?! It’s crazy to think about, but we really do believe the Lord is up to something big, and already has children in mind for us to love on and care for.
We are already praying for these children, and are declaring the words on that sign over their lives, whether they are with us for a month, a year, or forever. Will you join us in this journey by praying for them as well?
You can also join us in the journey by helping us finish getting set up for another baby, if you feel led to do so. This is the link to our registry https://www.babylist.com/baby-reg-downer
As we move forward, I will be posting here with updates about our journey and just about fostering in general, and all that it entails. I hope you will follow along with us!