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.
“However motherhood comes to you, it’s a miracle.” Valerie Harper