I recently read a quote that said, "sometimes we learn obedience through pain." It stopped me in my tracks then and when I got to know this family, my mind immediately went back to it. This family’s journey into foster care began with a private adoption that fell through. "It was a devastating loss͟," Jennifer said. They began fostering with the intentions of adoption, but as they got into their licensing classes their thinking changed. ͞"We saw the great need for foster parents and decided at that time that whether we ever ended up adopting though foster care, we wanted fostering to be a part of our lives for a long time and we wanted our children to learn to love others and realize that the world is much bigger than them."
So far, this family has had two placements (three children), a three year old boy who was with them for 8.5 months and a sibling group, ages 14 and 24 months, who were with them just under one month. Jen and Joey have three other children, Claudia (13), Gus (5) and Rayf (1). They describe their home as pretty loud and a little crazy with their boys and other children who enter through fostering, but also say they are plenty warm and fun! They love being outdoors, taking trips together and just being a family. Joey is a small business owner and Jen is a mortgage officer. A busy team that proves if something really matters to you, you can make it work!
Jen’s honesty about their hesitation was so tender and beautiful. Initially, it was the idea of children coming and going inside their home while they still wanted to grow their family. A failed adoption is a loss that doesn’t just go away. The grief remains. She said ͞while we still want to grow our family, the hope of adoption is no longer the reason we are fostering now. We are doing it because there is such a great need.͟They also shared one of their guiding scriptures as a family that has led them through both the joy and pain of foster care and out of the pain from which their journey began, noting that the easy thing to do would be to just keep their family as is and not have the disruption, uncertainties and stress that comes with fostering. But they said John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends͟" challenges them to live differently. Because their own story began in loss and pain, I believe this family is especially equipped to understand the pain that engulfs children who enter foster care and allows for the healing redemption that is possible when we choose to obey the calling to lay down our lives for others. The pain may have been the beginning, but it doesn’t have to be the end, with their mindset and faith, the great possibility of beauty from ashes is attainable indeed!