from Tony (the husband): Poor baby, did she suffer a concussion? Had she suffered a traumatic head injury that somehow I was unaware of? I don’t remember my initial thoughts but these may not be that far off. My wife had just divulged to me that she felt God was leading her/us to do more with kids, that she felt we were supposed to be foster parents. In my defense let me give you an overview of our family. We are a blended family and at that time we were raising six children. Our home was a range of “you don’t understand” teens to “daddy hung the moon” little ones. Yet here my wife was convinced God was telling her that we needed more. I more than likely agreed to pray about it and if I am being honest probably did so halfheartedly.
It didn’t take long for us to start to think maybe that calling had more to do with the teens that were ever present, the result of a houseful of teenage daughters. We began leading a youth ministry that included our children and their friends. We started to reach out to friends of our son who were fatherless. All signs pointed to this being what God had in store for us. All of this culminated in actually having one of these youths becoming a part of our family. I guess it would have been easy to accept at that point we were living in God’s will for us and believing we were being obedient servants. Boy were we trying to let ourselves off easy.
It’s not as though we had not continued to look in to other ways to serve. We even met with an organization that worked to certify foster families. We kept pursuing but every time we did it felt like “life” kept happening. After enduring two unexpected job losses and clawing through a recession on the incomes greatly affected by, it just seemed that the time was never right.
Fast forward a couple of years. A new job had led us to a new but familiar place and I had something I needed to ask my wife and an expectation of how she might process it. ‘Maybe I should listen to him. After all, he is just about the smartest guy I know. I mean my husband is essentially Jack Pearson of This is Us without the alcohol dependency.’ Ok that is probably not what she thought when I asked. Ok, ok that is definitely not what she was thinking when I asked if she had given any more thought to fostering. Melanie, my wife, was surprised by my question. So surprised that even though she agreed to pray about it further Melanie will tell you she didn’t for two weeks because she knew what God’s response would be. Now, in her defense, a new job and a new location were not the only things that had changed. Our youngest was now 11 and her sisters still at home were close to graduating high school. It was the easiest our lives had been for some time. We were enjoying freedom to go and do more as a couple and things were good. Easy wasn’t what God was calling us to.
After she recovered from the reeling and was able to pray about it, Melanie agreed this was what we were supposed to do. We also knew this had to be a family decision and one night we asked those at the table their thoughts. It was an encouraging thing to see our kids agree that this was how we needed to use the blessings God granted us to bless others. At that we once again started investigating what was needed and what was required. We have been on this foster journey now for over two years and I guess our story is the reason other’s stories about fostering never surprise me. You see, I would bet 99 percent of the people I talk to started in similar circumstances. One spouse on board, another one hesitant. So be encouraged by that. God’s timing is not ours and even we, Jack Pearson types, sometimes need working on.
Foster and Adoptive Parents: God is using you to love in some of the hardest places and through some of the most difficult situations. In the midst of all the uncertainties and unknowns that surround what you're doing there are some powerful promises and truths for you that are constant and sure and worthy to be reminded of. Here's just a few...
1. You are not alone. Psalm 46:1 reassures us that, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." He is an always present, always attentive, always engaged God. He weeps over our mourning and sings over our joys. He meets us in our weakness and reminds us in our weariness that He has been there before us and He is there with us now - sympathizing, holding, understanding and encouraging. One of the most profound and tangible ways God reminds us of His nearness is by surrounding us with people who love us and support us. His closeness is evidenced in the faces of those around you who refuse to let you walk this road alone. In the beautiful, sacrificial, redemptive work you are doing of laying yourself down for the sake of these kids, know that you are not alone – you are never alone.
2. You can’t see everything. We are not merely participating in a broken human story but in a fractured spiritual one as well. We may see signs, but not the whole; shadows, but not the substance of everything that God’s really doing. We do not grade the whole on what we see only for a moment. There’s much more going on than that. It's in that tension of the unseen that Scripture encourages us to "fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:18) You may not see it now - you may not ever even see it in this lifetime - but what you are doing is of eternal significance. Fix your eyes there.
Click Jason Johnson's blog for the rest of the seven things to be reminded of if you foster or adopt.
Kingdom of Heaven. Praying God's great and precious promises for all the children in foster care and orphanages.
From Aimee: In late August of 2017, God laid on my heart to begin to pray His great and precious promises for our family, for the children in the foster care system and the children in orphanages. As I started studying the bible and looking at all His promises in His word, I could not believe how many were in the bible. I am committing to pray all His great and precious promises from Matthew to Revelation in 2018. There are about 250 promises in the New Testament. I believe, as a wife and Mom, one of the greatest gifts I can give my husband and my children is prayer. I believe one of the greatest gifts I can give the children in the foster care system and the children in orphanages, besides a permanent loving home, is prayer. I have tasted and seen the goodness of the Lord over the years as I prayed for specific requests. I believe in the power of prayer. Prayer can literally change the path your husband or children are on. Prayer can change the outcome of the child in foster care or the child in an orphanage in another country. Prayer can move a family to foster or adopt. Prayer is that space carved out to hear the voice of the Lord; to approach our Savior and be in His presence. It is a time where we can come empty and depleted and leave full and refreshed. It is a time to believe that victory for your family is coming; that victory for the child in foster care or orphanage will happen.
Today’s great and precious promise is the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus stated in the sermon on the mount in Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The poor in the spirit refers to a person who is humble and meek; a person who knows they need God and gives themselves over to Him. Jesus says this person is blessed and will receive the kingdom of heaven. Lord, I praise Your mighty name and thank You the kingdom of heaven is one of your great and precious promises for us. Father, I hold up my children to you today; I hold up the children in the foster care system; I hold up the children in orphanages. There are so many people with so many voices trying to get the attention of children. I thank You that Your voice is the voice they hear over all the other voices. I come against arrogant behavior and pride in my children and the children in foster care or orphanages. I release a spirit of meekness and humility in them. I thank You they will not be so full of themselves and self-absorbed that they do not see Your will and Your way for their life. I thank You they recognize they need you, Lord, in every area of their life. I thank You that today You are filling them up with the fullness of Christ. I stand in the gap for these children. I pray Your love is poured out on and in them today. I pray that You are alive in them today. I thank You no weapon formed against them shall prosper. I thank You that the kingdom of heaven is theirs! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
By Jason Weber: A friend of mine recently told me about his daughter’s 5th birthday. Leading up to the birthday party, the one thing she kept asking for was a piñata. Being good parents who wanted to give good gifts to their daughter, they went out and found the perfect teddy bear piñata.
On the big day when the teddy bear was revealed, she was thrilled. They lined up all the kids, and armed with a blindfold and a stick, they began the normal piñata routine. Each child came forward and took a swing, and everyone was having a great time.
And then it happened.
With one last mighty swing, one of the young guests successfully decapitated Mr. Bear and his candy entrails began to pour out onto the floor. Such an exciting moment for everyone . . . except for the birthday girl who melted into a sobbing puddle of tears. Her birthday bear had just been executed by some other little punk kid who she thought was her friend. When she said she wanted a teddy bear piñata, she meant that she wanted one to keep.
The moment we discover that our expectations are not aligned with reality can be devastating.
READ MORE at CAFO.
From Tyler: Almost 3 years ago, I became a momma for the first time through adoption. The first time I saw my daughter’s beautiful face and heard her sweet cry, my heart was forever hers. As I held her in my arms our first few days together, I understood the phrase, “love makes a family” in a deep and powerful way.
14 months later, our son was born and lovingly placed in our arms. In the hospital, as I looked down at his precious face all nestled into my chest, my heart and my love instantly doubled.
Adoption brought me my first two babies and fulfilled my longing for motherhood in the ways I had always imagined. Motherhood may have come to me in an unexpected way, but my love I have for my children is the most natural and deep love I’ve ever experienced. Adoption is a huge part of our story, but it doesn’t define our family. Love defines our family. Isabel and Noah may not share my DNA, but that does not limit my love or my bond with them. They are my children, my light and my world! I could not imagine our lives or our family without them! Years ago, I could not see how God could be using infertility for my good, but now I praise Him for using it to lead us to adoption and to our babies.
I am now pregnant with our third miracle baby after five years of infertility! I am so excited to be experiencing pregnancy for the first time and eagerly await the day I hold our second baby boy and third child in my arms. It is very surreal to be experiencing pregnancy and it feels like our journey to grow our family has come full circle. Pregnancy has also caused me to cherish my older children even more, because I understand in a new way what a miracle it is that they are ours! I am grateful and humbled that we were chosen by their birth mothers and by the Lord to be their parents. I love how God has moved over the years in powerful ways to redefine our definition of love, family and to reveal more of His heart to us.
As I experience pregnancy for the first time, I have also experienced many emotions. In the beginning of my pregnancy especially, I held my big babies extra close and wondered how having a biological child would affect them. Would this baby ever cause them to question our love for them? Will their little hearts hurt when they begin to understand that they didn’t grow in my belly? Would others treat this child differently than Izzy and Noah? I know it is natural to have these fears and concerns, especially as a mother whose heart beats for her babies! Having a biological child will bring a new dynamic into our family, and we are committed to meeting all questions and challenges as a family united by love. I know God will give us the grace and love to shepherd each of our children’s hearts as they grow up to understand their beautifully unique stories.
One thing that has been such a comfort to my momma heart over the past few months is seeing how much Izzy and Noah already love their baby brother. Isabel rubs my tummy, sings to her baby brother and gives him daily kisses. Noah will come up to me, pull up my shirt and exclaim, “baby!” Their baby brother hasn’t even arrived, yet they are already forming a beautiful bond with him.
We are over the moon about the newest addition to our family, as we should be. Our excitement over this pregnancy and baby does not threaten or diminish our love for Izzy and Noah. Each of our precious children is a miracle and answer to prayer. Our biological baby is no more our “own” child than Izzy and Noah are. It’s so important to us for people to understand this! We are also blessed to be surrounded by family, friends and a community that loves each of our sweet babies so well. I am grateful that many truly understand our deep love for each of our children. I am thankful that most people in our lives do not compare our children’s stories or view one way of adding to our family as being “better” than another. That’s how it should be.
Pregnancy and adoption are each a beautiful miracle. We love celebrating and embracing the stories of how each of our children came to us. The deepest prayer of our hearts is for our children all grow up knowing how longed for, loved and special they are. I am soaking up every part of pregnancy, and look forward to the day I can hold all three of my babies in my arms!
You may continue following Tyler's adoption and birth journey over on her website The Adventures of Baby K.
Protection by Angels. Praying God's Great and Precious Promises for the Children in Foster Care and in Orphanages around the World.
Father, I come to You today to pray for Your promise of protection by angels for the children in foster care and in orphanages around the world. In Your word, You say that angels are Your messengers that are sent forth throughout the earth; servants of Christ to minister to Your people; to assist, care for, counsel, guide, tend to, and direct us. I once heard a pastor say God spoke to him and said, “My people do not use angels enough”. Lord, I come to You today and stand in the gap for my children in foster care and in orphanages and their protection in this world on this earth. I believe there is an unseen world of angels created by You ready for their assignment. I believe Your word in Psalm 91 that says You command Your angels charge over us to guard us in all our ways. I do believe Your angels have a divine role in each of our lives today; in these children's life today. Lord, I call forth Your angels. Release Your angels today over the children in foster care and orphanages; release Your angels over them; release Your angels over each of the foster parents and the caretakers of all these children. In Hebrew 1:14 You reiterate that Your angels are ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation. I thank You these children will inherit salvation; Your angels are available for these children so today, Lord, send forth Your angels to these children. You know their thoughts, their struggles, their temptations. You know what necessities they need. You know their interests, Lord. You know where they hurt. Protect them today and every day, Lord. I thank You and trust You, Lord, when they are not in our sight that You are taking care of them. That You are sending out angels to encamp about them, to guard them, to protect them in all their ways. Lord, You sent angels to shut the lions’ mouth so that they could not harm Daniel. Lord, You sent angels to comfort Jesus after He was tempted by Satan. Lord, Your word says in Psalm 103:20, “Bless the LORD, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word!” I bless You Lord that You send Your angels forth; who are mighty in strength, who perform Your word, who obey the voice of Your word. I thank You this is what is happening over the children in foster care and in orphanages around the world. You are sending Your angels forth to these children today and every day to perform Your word and obey the voice of Your word for all these children. I kneel before You in praise! I raise my hands to You to worship my Almighty Father! I thank You that these children are protected by angels; they are protected. I pray all this in Jesus’ name Amen.
Simple. Marriage is tough. Marriage is a blessing. Marriage is God’s heart and His greatest tool used in teaching me to be a more selfless human being who is stronger with my husband than solo. That was kind of tough for me to grasp at first, especially after 30 years of doing things my way. Marriage for me has been the road to allowing my Heavenly Father to take the rough edges that are exposed often so he can refine, polish, and chip them off. I look back at my wedding day and think what a great day that was but whoa, I wouldn’t go back to that starting point of who I was for anything. I am a work in progress still, but aren’t we all? Won’t we always be? My goal is to allow Jesus to constantly work on me with the gift of the Holy Spirit who resides in me. Sometimes it feels like I accomplish a milestone in one area and then He exposes another several I overlooked…and frankly, I am ok at with that. It keeps me humbled and realizing that I am a sinner and apart from Him I can accomplish nothing and through Him I can conquer His great and mighty plans.
So, because of one of these humble moments years ago, this controlling nature of mine, broke me down. I realized with my husband starting a business, financial limitations, a growing family, an adoption, a delayed second pregnancy…I was not in control. Never have been. He spoke to my heart very clearly, ‘there is more power in prayer my child than control.’ It was there my tears turned to joy because I realized, there are wives all over struggling with trying to strengthen their family with their own efforts and the challenges and stresses that life presents often are wearing down many. I can still see it that day….my place in the kitchen, where I was standing, when the vision of A Praying Wife was birthed in my heart APrayingWife.com
I had a true and passionate desire that day to create a group guide so women from any location or any income level could download the guide for FREE that would encourage wives praying for their husbands. I formed one, and man, my friendships, conversations, accountability and intentional prayer time for my love became big and bigger! My focus on so called issues, obstacles, or problems became redirected to this prayer focus for my husband! It was joy. Not a perfect life, but it became a joyful one! And my husband will tell you, it was contagious to even him. I think it can encourage the walk of many husbands when they feel loved and respected by a praying wife!
A praying wife is driven with passion for her marriage and her home. This passion removes her fear of recognizing her flaws because she understands it is God's grace that makes her whole. She also knows that her loving God will guide and grow her spiritual maturity in her marriage. She has fully embraced the truths that there is nothing too hard for her God and that by his goodness and through her dedication to praying over her husband she will see wondrous things blossom in the man who captured her heart!
A Praying Wife was launched with the vision of groups of women coming together to fellowship and to witness the power of prayer for their husbands. With a free 14-session series download, women can facilitate their own small groups. This purposeful time will bring women together to encourage each other, drink lots of coffee (of course!), and spend time intentionally and powerfully praying. The sessions will help to guide, challenge and teach women to pray boldly and specifically for their husbands. They will be driven by prayer topics related to their husbands’ jobs, passions, faith, leadership abilities, relationships, parenting and most of all their walks with God. APrayingWife.com is a starting point for those who want to start their own groups focused on their husbands and marriages. God is GOOD and intends for us to have joyful marriages.
I hope you enjoy! You will find the download, FAQ, and much more on APrayingWife.com – there is also a bonus guide I wrote for 14 days of prayers for healing for your child. Our son we adopted from China has a special need that has placed us in the hospital and through some trying times and painful moments, my Heavenly Father placed this project in my heart too!
From Naomi: Perhaps you’ve heard hope is an anchor for our souls. It’s part of a rather popular worship song. There are bracelets and home décor featuring anchors for this very reason.
But are you familiar with the first part of this scripture? Let’s take a moment to dig into this passage from Hebrews 6:17-20 (NIV):
“Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”
When we talk about hope being an anchor for our souls, it’s imperative that we know WHO that hope is anchored in. I know it can be tempting to gloss over a portion of scripture – especially when it’s one we are familiar with – but let these truths sink in and saturate your soul:
Re-read those truths if you need to. Let them become the pure and lovely you’re dwelling on.
It is easy to speak of hope anchoring our souls when the winds are still. But when the waves are pounding and the storm is surging, we must be more conscious of WHO our hope is anchored in, than hope itself. Jesus, the high priest. God, who cannot lie. That is WHO our hope is anchored in. He is unchanging. His love never fails. And our hope in Him can never disappoint.
Father, I thank You that Your Word does not return void, but accomplishes that which it was sent forth to do! Thank You for preserving Your Word, and for Holy Spirit who guides us in all truth. Father, I ask that You would be with each person reading this post. That Holy Spirit would minister peace to their spirits, joy to their hearts, and hope to their souls. Thank You for Jesus, our High Priest – who promised to never leave nor forsake us! Thank You for Your faithfulness, and that in You our hope is secure. Set our mind on You this day, and show us how we can surrender to the hope found in You alone. Make us conduits of blessing and hope to others, and allow us to bring You glory! In the Name of Jesus.
Life by His Word. Praying His Great and precious promises over the children we birth, adopt and Foster.
Lord, thank You for Your great and precious promises. Thank You for the promise of Life by Your word, You said in Matthew 4:4 and Luke 4:4 “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out the mouth of God.” Lord, in the old testament in Deuteronomy 8:3, Israel was tested with hunger and then supplied with the manna whereby You, Lord, were teaching them that they will not live by material food alone, but also on spiritual food and Your words were their spiritual food; Your words are our spiritual food. They are for each of my children whether birthed, adopted, or fostered. They are my children’s spiritual food.
Lord, I come before You today and thank You for the promise for the children we birth, adopt and foster of Life by the Word. Each of my children, the children in foster care, need physical food to survive but we know Lord this is only half of their need. My children and the children in foster care need spiritual food to thrive, to flourish and to blossom as You have called them to. Lord, may I be a parent, a woman who makes speaking Your word over my children a priority; who makes speaking Your word over the children in the foster care system a priority. May I be a parent and a woman who incorporates Your word in our daily living, daily study, and daily disciplines. May my children I birth, adopt and foster be fed by Your words. May the children in foster care be fed by Your words. As the children hear Your word, let them think about what Your word is saying. As the children hear Your word, I thank You that their spiritual health and strength are increasing down to the inner person in them. As the children hear Your word, they are being empowered to obey Your will for them. Your word is LIFE, Lord. Your word is ALIVE! Thank You Your words become alive to all the children I am praying for. Thank You, Lord, that my children’s lives are enriched because of Your word; that the lives of the children in foster care are enriched because of Your word. Thank You, Lord, that You are sanctifying these children by Your word. My children I birth, adopt, and foster and the children in the foster care system will know Your word and know it is truth for their lives (John 17:17). All Your scripture, all Your words, Lord, are breathed by You! Continue to breath those words of life on these children. Your words are useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that children of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:15-17). Because of Your word, because they live their life by Your word, my children I birth, adopt, and foster, the children in the foster care system I am praying for are equipped for every task You place before them and I thank You for this, Lord.
So today, I thank You the children have the promise of life by Your word. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Praying this over your children and the children in foster care is powerful! Their lives will be changed for the better. Believe that! I am praying God's great and precious promises over our children from now until the end of the year. If you missed any of these prayers, you can find them here.
From Jeanne: Beautiful. Strong. Broken. Restored. Loving. God’s work. God’s heart. The list goes on. Adoption is a journey that has been a life transformation for my husband and me in so many wonderful ways. While we see God’s amazing grace as he chose an orphan thousand of miles away in China and then he entrusted that child into our hands-parents who are committed to teaching our son about who Christ is-we see his heart from such an angle that changes us forever. But what has changed me furthermore, was the process of faith and trust once we got home. Our son has a GI issue and I spare the details for the sake of his privacy, but this last year has been challenging, rewarding, hard, and amazing all in one.
As many know, China is a special needs adoption only. I am a parent who had never experienced the life as a special needs mother or relative for that matter. I honestly can admit, I had never had hands on experience. However, I am thankful. My life has been humbled, changed for the better, and rewarding because of this journey with my son. You know, I myself having a mild hearing loss (as a child) I actually fell into the realm of needing care, speech therapy, added attention and time, and hearing resources to be able to flourish. Maybe it is why I wasn’t afraid of special needs adoptions? I had a heart that was capable of understanding through the facts that I flourished despite the obstacles that were set before me or the facts told to me by doctors. I knew that when determined and given the proper resources, I was able to overcome anything!
Now what I wasn’t prepared for was the medical side of things. These experiences have been things I wasn’t emotionally prepared for, they have been moments that have broken my heart when seeing him cry. But it has been a journey that has built a newfound sense of compassion in me. It has made me seek God’s hand of favor not only over my precious child, finances, and favor over each decision and process that we have to walk through. It has made me pray even harder for my marriage because of the stresses it can bring as well on two parents.
While our needs are temporary until surgeries fix the issues, it still doesn’t make them easy. Special needs parents each walk through different situations that make life hard when we see those we love suffer. I have grown humbled by how much God shows up so BIG at the times I have needed him during this last year. So…what I am sharing today is this: I have learned deeply every obstacle has an eternal purpose. I also see how God has grown me and my husband and has used our situations to encourage others. The hospitals have been draining places for me, as a result, the compassion I have now for parents walking in these shoes has been birthed big in my heart. During one hospital visit, I was at loss on how to pray and then I felt God place a passion for parents in these situations fill me…. I wrote these prayer guides as a result (see below). They helped me intentional in prayer for my child and my marriage during a time I was depleted.
I want to share with the hope God uses it to at least encourage one or several others who may have experienced the same thing! How thankful I am for prayer, how thankful I am he pours into us, how thankful that he never allows anything into our lives that isn’t part of his will – with that I know I can give thanks in all things despite how I may feel. FOR 14 DAYS OF PRAYERS OF HEALING FOR YOUR CHILD AND 14 DAYS OF PRAYERS FOR YOUR HUSBAND click here https://www.aprayingwife.com/sign-up-for-apw-group
“However motherhood comes to you, it’s a miracle.” Valerie Harper