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Swell Hearts

Coming Home: A Swell Forever for 4 Siblings

Coming Home: A Swell Forever for 4 Siblings

How did we get here?

Our Foster-to-Adoption Story

To begin this wild adventure, I need to bring you back to Christmas 2012. 

Our best friends, Lauren and Josh, got their first placement as Foster Parents. We had the honor of walking with them on their incredible journey of loving two of the most amazing kiddos. I was actually at the court date in May 2013 when the judge made a manipulated decision to send their two kiddos back to a home that was unsafe, and certainly not ready for them.

In a small town court room, I witnessed the injustice of a decision being made that had nothing to do with the best interest of the children. It was solely based off of "reunification is the goal". To top it off, our judicial system twisted the concerns that were voiced by my friends to spin a web of lies to question their motives of being foster parents. The outcome was covered with corruption and deflection, not about setting up the biological parents for success or the best interest of these two little souls. I was there when they painfully packed their kiddos belongings with no warning that goodbye would come so soon.


Shortly after this experience, I was sitting in our one-bedroom apartment in downtown Nashville on our blue couch with a new friend, Mimi. She bravely started to share her story with me, including stories of being a victim of the dark side of foster care. Those stories that we hear, but just hope aren't true. Through her honest words and grace filled testimony, the Lord spoke to me, right there on our big blue couch just as she was talking. It wasn't one of those little whispers or puzzle piece thoughts you have to try to figure out what it means. It was more like, "You are supposed to be foster parents!"


Later that night when my husband got home, I shared with him the message that I received from God. "So guess what," I said. "Oh now what," he replied waiting for my next big idea! "So, we're supposed to be foster parents!" I said in my high pitched excited voice. He didn't respond so I just kept talking, pleading my case, saying everything I could think of to convince him that this was really from God! Our short conversation grew from weeks to months, going back-and-forth debating reasons why we should or shouldn't foster.

I'll give it to him he had a strong case- we lived in a one bedroom apartment, he was working for a small airline not making very much money, we hadn't even had conversations about having any biological kids let alone opening up our home to other people's kids. I gave it a good shot at trying to convince him on my own with the statistics, sad pictures of children waiting for homes, touching articles foster dads. I tried to twist his arm and bully him into it, but all of my efforts fell short. So I waved my white flag and gave up. Maybe that wasn't God that I heard, maybe it was my own desires that I was trying to force to become reality. I am the dreamer, the one that precedes without caution and in all fairness I have presented him with some pretty crazy ideas in the past. So I just chalked this up as one of those situations and made a promise with myself to lock my lips regarding the idea of becoming foster parents and I would move on. 

I'll give it to him he had a strong case- we lived in a one bedroom apartment, he was working for a small airline not making very much money, we hadn't even had conversations about having any biological kids let alone opening up our home to other people's kids. I gave it a good shot at trying to convince him on my own with the statistics, sad pictures of children waiting for homes, touching articles foster dads. I tried to twist his arm and bully him into it, but all of my efforts fell short. So I waved my white flag and gave up. Maybe that wasn't God that I heard, maybe it was my own desires that I was trying to force to become reality. I am the dreamer, the one that precedes without caution and in all fairness I have presented him with some pretty crazy ideas in the past. So I just chalked this up as one of those situations and made a promise with myself to lock my lips regarding the idea of becoming foster parents and I would move on. 

So I waved my white flag and gave up. Maybe that wasn't God that I heard, maybe it was my own desires that I was trying to force to become reality. I am the dreamer, the one that precedes without caution and in all fairness I have presented him with some pretty crazy ideas in the past. So I just chalked this up as one of those situations and made a promise with myself to lock my lips regarding the idea of becoming foster parents and I would move on. 

Shortly after, we were eating at our favorite sushi restaurant and a significant conversation. The tone of his voice changed as he began to speak. "I've been praying a lot about if we should become foster parents or not." I just held my breath almost in disbelief that he was bringing it up. He continued, "I feel like the Lord has told me that we are supposed to do this!" It took all of my adult strength to play it cool, but there is no physical strength that could have held back the tears!

He told me about a good friend of his that grew up in foster care. His friend flew helicopters for the military in Denmark but had some family issues that caused him to move to California and placed in a foster home. His foster dad passed away, leaving him alone at 16. Over the next few years, this guy lived in a van and started his own business. After a few years of being on his own, he sold his first business for over $1 million! Jason grew pretty close to his friend and was really inspired by his life, especially coming out of foster care and never being adopted. It's obvious that God used this friend to reveal His plan and purpose to Jason.

I'm not sure why the Lord shows me some things first, but it could be to teach me patience to allow my husband to lead our family. I'm still not as good at it as it should be, but I'm growing!


So then came the classes to become certified foster parents, following was our home study. From start to finish it took us six months before we got our first placement. To me, it felt like a marathon and to him, it felt like a sprint. Our vision for becoming foster parents was to foster pregnant teen moms because I work as a birth Doula and have daydreamed about providing a safe place for new moms. Our intentions were never to adopt as we dreamed of having two or three biological children and fostering on and off. 

Our first placement was the sweetest little three-year-old that won the hearts of us all. We had the joy of loving on him for two whole months before he was reunified with his father. Shortly after came a spunky 13-year-old who was only with us for a week. Then came that life-changing call. Jason and I were ordering coffee and headed to volunteer at the women's mission when we got the call for a three-week old baby boy. I asked the placement worker to hold on while I asked my husband what he thought. "It's a three-week old baby boy!" I said in that really high-pitched excited voice. "But we haven't talked about fostering babies" he replied. "I know but it's a baby" was my obvious response. "What about work, we both work full-time" which was a very valid point! "I know but we'll figure it out, it's a baby" I disputed! Then he took the phone from my hands and told the placement worker we'd take him. 

Five months later we got our first call for a pregnant teen and we joyfully said yes. We immediately painted a room, bought new bedding and even a TV for her room. Long story short a lot of information was withheld from the placement worker and we ended up having to say no to having her come into our home. At that point, we had to look out for the safety of our five-month-old little guy. Two weeks later we received another call for a pregnant teen. An hour before this call I was praying, thanking the Lord for all the sweet blessings he had poured into our lives. "Lord where ever you call us we will go, whatever you ask from us we will say yes." I prayed.

Then my phone rang it was a placement worker asking us to take in a 15-year-old mom to be. I grilled the placement worker she could hear the distrust in my voice. I told her I'd call her back after I talk to my husband. I told him about the 15-year-old girl and as I was talking I could see the uncertainty in his face. "I just don't see it", "I just feel like the Lord shut the door with the last teen mom we were ready to take in." Then I shared with him the promise I had made with the Lord moments before receiving the call. "So you better be certain of your decision, don't make me a liar to God!" I said in an annoyed voice (I told you I'm a work in progress). After seeking some godly counsel from a trusted friend he told me he thought we could do it. The next day, this tiny little pregnant 15-year-old firecracker walked into our home. Within 24 hours she had let down her guard and it was the beginning of our lifelong bond with her. I even had the honor of being her birth Doula and witnessing the first breath of her baby girl.


One month later, our baby's 3 older siblings were in need of a foster home. This would bring the total children under our roof to six. I'm pretty sure you can figure out how the conversation went leading up to this decision. I pushed, he said no and then he prayed about it and said yes! 


And here we are. Our little mama and baby girl have since been reunified with their family. But they are forever family and come to visit often. Our four little siblings' biological parents have stopped any effort of getting their children back, which dealt us another one of those push, no, pray, yes conversations about adopting four children. Because if you remember adoption was never part of the plan, especially adopting four. But thank goodness we are not writing this story, this is a lot better than I could've done!

And I know the short story of me trying to sum up the work of God in all of our lives will fall short. It's been way more magical than my vocabulary could express. But we are excited and grateful for this crazy wacky journey that the Lord has taken us on. And we can't wait to become a family of six, maybe seven soon (we've decided to try for one biological child, The kids are even praying for it!). Who knows there might be a chapter 2 to the story, so stay tuned!


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