Do You Have What it Takes?

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Foster care and adoption…If you have ever looked into the face of a precious child in crisis-a child whose world has been turned upside down by circumstances having nothing to do with him or her-I can say with some certainty that you have wondered, “Do I have what it takes to help?” I know this, because for several years before we adopted, I asked that very question over and over again.   Now that I am officially an adoptive mom, here’s my answer to the question, “Do you have what it takes to foster/adopt?”

No, you don’t….

And I don’t either. No one does. Unfortunately, there is no amount of training (even though the training is wonderful and helpful), no amount of college classes, no amount of church experience that will fully and adequately prepare you for being a foster/adoptive parent. But the good news is that where you lack in “having what it takes” is where God will shine most brightly in your life.

I can vividly hear our case worker who did our final home study interview. We were a little nervous, but it went great, and her final words were, “I’m excited because I think you guys are highly qualified to take a child with special educational needs.”   Never in my life have I felt more inadequate than that moment. Something inside me told me that mine and my husband’s combined college degrees in education, our years of experience in Children’s Ministry, and our many years volunteering with at-risk children were no preparation for what we were about to do. And I was right. As soon as we got our adopted son, I knew without a doubt that I knew absolutely nothing…and that everything I thought I knew wasn’t going to work.  So the only thing left to do was to depend on God-and what a soft place to fall. That place of total dependence and trust in the One who called you in the first place. Putting your family in His hands and saying, “They’re yours, Lord…I’m just your servant. Lead me and show me what to do daily. I trust you.” That has been a truly amazing experience for me. And I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything, even on our hardest days, it is worth it.

I think one of the most common questions is, “Could I love a child and then give him up?” Let me be honest with you…it’s going to hurt. It’s going to hurt badly. You’re likely going to cry and mourn for these children. But let me ask you this, If you don’t love them in their time of need, who will? It is worth the hurt to give them a safe place to land when they are in crisis.

Fostering and adoption will stretch you and grow you more than you thought possible. And then you’ll stretch and grow some more. And it will be beautiful and it will be messy, but I can tell you this…it will be worth it. It will be worth the moment that you realize that you have made a difference in a child’s life. It will be worth it the moment that child chooses, not because you’ve been teaching him from birth, but he chooses, to say, “I love you, Mom.” It will be worth it when you’ve prayed for and ministered to birth families and you actually get to see the fruit when they reunite with their child and start attending church with you. It will be worth to know that you obeyed God.  It will be worth it when you realize that you have given what this child did not have….HOPE. One of the clearest pictures of the mountains and valleys of foster care/adoption is illustrated in this verse (one that I rest in often):

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

-Romans 5:3-5

These children do suffer…no question, but out of that suffering, hope is born. Hope that they did not have before. And that hope does not disappoint.

So let me answer the question again: No you don’t have what it takes, but God does and if you pray and tell God that you are willing if it is His will for your family, then He will provide what you need to give a child what they so desperately need-hope. The kind that does not disappoint, the kind that is abundant, the kind that comes from the people within the body of Christ working in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Conway County, it’s so easy to read something and want to do something to help, but then as days pass, to just let it go. Now, I am not saying that everyone needs to foster or adopt. What I am asking of you though is, if God stirred your heart about Orphan Care here in Conway County, would you just keep praying about it?  Would you allow God to keep stirring and tugging on your heart? It was many years before Tim and I felt the “green light” to go on adoption, but prayer got us there. Please keep praying, and please keep supporting those families who are fostering and adopting.  And please share this message and lets help bring awareness to the need in our county. Because #conwaycountycares

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