foster care

Three Things I Cherish From Our Adoption

Three Things I Cherish From Our Adoption

I feel like I just gave birth to an elephant. Elephants have the longest gestation period of any land mammal, typically carrying a child in the womb for 21 months or more. Together, my wife and I just bested Mrs. Jumbo; after more than 26 months of waiting, we have a son. Fittingly, March 20 - the day our adoption was finalized and this young life cleaved legally to ours - is the day all creation affirmed new beginnings with the onset of Spring.

In an attempt to put into words that which cannot adequately be put into words, I want to share the three things that, upon initial reflection of our son's adoption, I cherish most from that day.

Already But Not Yet

Already But Not Yet

Miguel was placed in our care as foster parents on January 17, 2015. He was one-week-old, still in the hospital. At the time, there were no known parents or relatives who had come forward to care for him. I spent the next three days beside his crib as often as the nurses would let me, praying over him, weeping for him, asking God to let me love him with every ounce of my being. Our family had not entered into foster care with a goal of adoption, but I knew the first time I set eyes on Miggy that I wanted to be his father. Emotionally, he was already mine. Regardless of what the future would hold, whether he would be in our care for a few weeks or a few months, deep in my heart he had become my son. 

I've Never Felt Less Like Jesus

I've Never Felt Less Like Jesus

Our second foster care placement came just two months after the first. We were still readjusting to life with an infant when our worker called with another child needing care, this one fourteen months old. The worker sounded desperate. I made a quick phone call to Erica to talk it over. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: "Can we take a 16-month-old boy?"

Her: "I don't know. What do you think?"

Me: "Where would we put him? Does he need his own room?"

Her: "Nope. The babies can share a room. Do you think we can handle another?"

Me: "We're crushing this right now. Why not?"

Her: "Okey dokie."

Saving the world one child at a time, we thought.

An Empty Seat on the Plane

An Empty Seat on the Plane

We boarded the plane and took our seats, thankful that, despite a steady and increasingly thick snowfall, our flight was still scheduled to depart on time. Evan had flown to New York a few times with me in the past, so he was totally cool with the boarding process and not at all concerned that his ticketed seat was a row in front of the rest of us. He would be relatively oblivious to strangers, engrossed in whatever the iPad game-du-jour happened to be. I took my seat with Elysia; I normally prefer a window seat to help prevent motion sickness, but I acquiesced to my daughter and let her have the view. We were only looking at a wing, anyway. 

As we settled in and began to taxi across the tarmac, I leaned forward to check on Evan. "You okay, bud?"

Symbiosis: How Foster Care Saved My Life

Symbiosis: How Foster Care Saved My Life

I was a bundle of nerves walking into the NICU. Our youngest child, Elysia, is ten years old, which means it had been a full decade since I had held a newborn baby. Miggy was a tiny thing, still hooked up to wires in his little plastic tub-on-wheels. Carrie The Nurse was every bit as gracious and helpful as Erica had described. I fumbled to keep the wires straight as I picked the baby up for the first time; Carrie untangled them with a smile. She walked me through a refresher course on diaper changing and explained pleasantly the way she tracks his eating habits and bowel movements. The whole thing was felt awkward and perfect. 

Yes and Yes Again: Our First Foster Placement

Yes and Yes Again: Our First Foster Placement

On a Wednesday afternoon in January, I received the phone call I had been praying for. After many, many weeks of conversations and visits, Southland Christian Church called to offer me a position as the Campus Leader for their new venue that would be launching in the Fall. Erica and I had known for a few months that God was leading us somewhere new, but this phone call would confirm the exact direction. As is often the case in an interview process, I had moved through stages of increased emotion regarding the potential change: intrigue, optimism, excitement, and, finally, expectation. Receiving the job offer and the call to ministry was the penultimate stage in the whole process, and by far the most elating - and relieving - moment of all. The only thing left to was accept the position, which I wanted to do immediately; nevertheless, I calmed myself enough to say that I'd take a few more days to pray about it. I'd call back on Friday to let them know. 

I Don't Feel Called To Foster Care...But I'm Doing it Anyway

I Don't Feel Called To Foster Care...But I'm Doing it Anyway

Recently, my wife and I made the decision to become foster parents. We went through a required 10-week training program, completed online courses, filled out paperwork, compiled a family photo album, completed two home studies…and now we are just waiting on our final approval.

I am excited. And terrified. 

I never thought that I would be able to be a foster parent, for myriad reasons: I am too emotional and could not imagine myself being able to attach to a child and then watch him/her leave my care forever; I have to think about the emotional, physical, and spiritual protection of my own two children, and there is no telling what could happen when another child from a broken home gets added into our daily lives; I am far too busy to deal with all the challenges of foster care; and, honestly, I kind of like my life the way it is. 

And on top of all of that, I just have never felt “called” to be a foster parent.