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.
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.
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.
The number of children in foster care is astounding. There are some families who take their pro-life convictions so seriously, that they reach out to those who are without a loving household and bring them into theirs. This is consistent with what the Scripture describes in James 1:27:
"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."
Anne Leber is not your typical mother, nor is the Leber family your typical family. They are Kingdom-driven.
Jump on over to The Kingdom-Driven Family to listen to a podcast interview with Andrea Schwartz and Anne (a homeschooling mom) as she shares her journey of responding to the Lord’s call to rescue children, resulting in the adoption of eight children via foster care.
From Aimee': A promise. A promise is a declaration or assurance that one will do a particular thing or that a particular thing will happen. A promise is a guarantee. It is an oath, an agreement, a contract. A promise is a covenant. God has many promises in the bible for us. His promises can be found from Genesis to Revelation. For the rest of the year, I will be praying God’s great and precious promises from Matthew to Revelation over our children we birth, adopt and foster and I invite you to join me and pray for your children. The effective, fervent prayer of a person who keeps God’s commands has much power. Prayer does change things.
Today, I am praying the promise of salvation from sin through Jesus Christ taken from Matthew 1:21, “And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Father, I bring forth my child/ren (call out their name) to You. The very name of Jesus means Savior. Thank You, Lord, for saving my child/ren from their sins, saving them from the darkness of this world. I pray for their mind, Lord. Help them be disciplined in their thought life. Let them desire to want to think on what is just, pure and lovely and of good reports (Philippians 4:8). Lord, I pray for their eyes. Let them be strong to turn away from things that displease You, from seeing things that can lead them on the wrong path. Let their eyes be open to recognize You in their life (Luke 24:31). I thank You that any veil that is over their eyes is taken away as they turn to You, Lord (2 Corinthians 3:16). I pray that the eyes of their heart may be enlightened in order that they may know the hope to which You have called them, the riches of Your glorious inheritance in Your holy people, and Your incomparably great power for us who believe (Ephesians 1:18,19). Lord, I pray for their ears and what they are listening to. May they hear Your still small voice. May they hear You crystal clearly when You speak to them.
Lord, I pray over their hands and feet. I rebuke laziness and apathy from them. I declare the works of their hands will be pleasing to You, Lord. They will know the value of hard work at home, at school, and in their calling and purpose as adults. They will be diligent in the work before them and they shall prosper. Their feet will carry them through and bring forth peace to people on their path. They will be strong in the Lord, unshakeable and not afraid to share the good news of the gospel. Thank You, Lord, that You make known to our children the path of life; You will fill them with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand (Psalm 16:11).
So today, Lord, I thank You for sending us a Savior; for sending us Your Son Jesus Christ, for dying on a cross for my child/ren whether birthed, adopted or fostering, for conquering death and raising from the dead so that my child/ren can be saved, can be one of Yours! In Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.
As a Mom to eight children, six adopted and two birthed, I can tell you story after story of countless moments in the past 14 years of Motherhood of how I looked at the circumstances in front of me, the hard experiences of raising and loving children that we adopted at 9, 13, and 15 years old, raising and loving children who had immense needs that seemed impossible to meet and thought, “I must have heard God wrong.”
I have always been a passionate person as far back as I can remember; however, my passions before giving my whole life to Christ were directed to worldly pleasures and full of self-focused desires. The day I gave my whole life to Him, my passions turned towards His Kingdom, towards the ways of my Lord. It’s beautiful what God does. Once we give our life over to Him on this side of heaven, God takes what the devil meant to further his dark, hate-filled agenda and turns it into a powerful tool to further God’s Kingdom, to bring hope to a truly dying world. My passion before salvation was a tool for the enemy. My passion after salvation is a weapon towards the enemy!
One of the greatest pieces of this world are the eight children God has given to my husband and me. These are the gifts that are the most valuable to us. These are the gifts that are most valuable to Him….. His children! The enemy would love nothing more than for Moms and Dads to bow down to depression, to bow down to giving up, to bow down to indifference and spinelessness. The times of “hard” during the parenting years are the exact times to dig your feet deep and let determination rise in you. These are the very times to grab hold of staying power and be determined to endure through the tough and the hard days of parenting.
As I look back and remember the moments of thinking I don’t see how any of this is going to change. I don’t see how my daughter is going stop hating me for adopting her. I don’t see how my son is going to heal from years of abuse in an orphanage. I don’t see how to balance the joys of motherhood with the hurt and frustration I feel during motherhood. As I think about these moments, I see how one decision early on to war in prayer for our children, for our family, has no doubt changed the future of our children; changed the atmosphere in our home.
The bible is filled with His great and precious promises for His children; for us, for our children, we just only need to pick it up and speak it forth. God’s word says in Isaiah 55:11, “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” For the remainder of the year, I am going to write on the promises God has for our children. I hope you will join me in praying these promises over your children as well!
I know the hard days of parenting children we adopt and/or children we foster. One of the greatest treasures you can give children is the gift of God’s word being spoken over them! 2 Peter 1:4, “And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.”
So I invite you to come back, during my times as a contributor on Adoption Strong, and join me in praying His great and precious promises from His word over our children!
About to celebrate our 20th Anniversary while changing diapers and wiping up little people messes... and we wouldn't trade one day of it!
Mark and I were married when I was 19, and he wanted to wait a bit to start a family. When that time came, we didn't get pregnant. Year after year went by and finally we decided it was time to adopt. We started by looking into international adoption, but one evening Mark said God had impressed on him that there were children right here in our home state who needed us as much as we needed them. So, we became a foster home.
Our first placement was a four day old girl who likely would need adoption. When she left us just two weeks later for the home of relatives, our hearts broke. Then within days we had two two-year-olds in our home, a boy and a girl. They weren't related then, but God had chosen them to be brother and sister. The following year we learned we would get to adopt those two, legally making them Benjamin and Leah.
Just days after getting that news we took in an 11 month old boy. Months go by and we eventually get the go-ahead to adopt him, our David Michael. Two months later, we bring his baby brother home from the hospital. That was our precious Jacob, whose adoption was finalized the day before his first birthday.
Our hearts were bursting with all God had done, how he had taken our quiet, empty house and filled it with love and life (and messes!). Then six months later, I took a pregnancy test to get my sister off my back. I knew it would be negative, just like they always were. Then two lines showed up. Mark didn't even know I was taking the test; I'd stopped telling him so there weren't two of us getting our hopes up for nothing. So there I was in the bathroom, hand clamped over my mouth as I was laughing and crying at the same time trying not to draw attention. That baby was our Sarah, the little sister Leah had been praying for. When she was 10 months old, we had another surprise--pregnant again! Our Mark Jr. is now 14 months old and a joy to all.
We are getting ready to celebrate our 20th anniversary and are thrilled to do it while changing diapers and wiping up little people messes. God had an amazing plan for our family. It seemed like it took forever for it to get here, but now we understand that things had to happen at certain times for it all to come together just right. I wouldn't trade one day of the struggle and heartache that it cost to get us where we are now. Our family theme song, which is sung at every child's dedication service, is How Great Is Our God. And how very true it is!
The Morell Family
Megan and Mark, what a beautiful testimony to God's goodness! You have a beautiful family. Thank you for sharing your inspiring and encouraging story with all of us!
As with any adoption story, there are no two adoptions that are the same. We would love to hear your adoption story from a Christian perspective. Some families choose international adoption while other families choose domestic adoption (private or foster care). If you have adopted and would like us to feature your adoption story on Adoption Story Wednesday, please go to our Share Your Story page to submit to Adoption Strong.
“However motherhood comes to you, it’s a miracle.” Valerie Harper