This is the eve of my youngest bio son’s tenth birthday! Ten years – Double Digits! It’s so strange to think it’s been nearly a full decade since I’ve carried and birthed a child. In some ways it feels like it was just yesterday and in other ways it was a lifetime ago. Ethan was the surprise baby we didn’t know we needed. He’s optimistic, adventurous, brilliant, and determined. What a gift he is to our family!
As an adoptive mom, it’s also a bit surreal to celebrate my final bio baby getting older. I will confess to you that there is a voice deep down in my mind that is whispering just how foolish I am to have chosen to start the clock over on raising babies. Three times! This untrue voice sneaks in and reminds me that if I hadn’t chosen to walk the foster care path, I would be “free” eight years sooner. (Side bar: are you ever really “free” when you’re a parent? Counseling and coaching adult children is an important job, too!) Yet here I am, in my forties still teaching babies how to use a toilet, how to share toys, how to drink from a cup without a lid. It would be easy for me to lean in and lend that whisper a louder microphone than it deserves. But it’s in these moments that I have to remind myself why we started fostering and Who led us here in the first place.
People often look at our family and wonder why in the world we would have started this journey given our circumstances with Hayden. And I see that point, for sure. But, it’s not in spite of Hayden’s life that we were able to foster; rather it’s because of Hayden’s life. You see, it was his diagnosis, the sanctity of his frail life, the reality of how quickly this temporal life passes that changed everything about the way we live and operate. And it was with our new lease on life that we decided to trust God in all things and move forward in baby steps of fostering as He was calling us to. And all those consistent small steps led us to growing our family by three more surprises.
Could I have kept myself out of the foster and adoption world? Certainly. But could I ignore what God was directly calling me to? Not if I was wanting to walk by faith and trust my Father. I think oftentimes we make “easy” circumstances the goal. A healthy baby with ten fingers and ten toes….Getting the kids graduated and launched into the world….The ability to travel and see the world. All great things, sure, but what if your baby isn’t healthy or is missing a limb; your child never graduates or leaves; what if the only traveling you ever get to enjoy is through Discovery channel documentaries?
I already knew my main focus would be taking care of at least one child for the rest of his life, or mine. I was positioned for a life of serving someone who could never give me anything back in return. My heart was being molded and prepared for the opportunity to continue serving others, only this time it was in the foster care space. Was it hard? Yep. My favorite quote from a country song says, “If it was easy everyone would do it.” And that rings true here, too. But just because something is hard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. It just means it’s hard. When something is too hard for you, maybe it’s an opportunity to step out in faith and lean in, wildly trusting that God will sustain you in whatever it is He is calling you to.
(And no, foster care isn’t what He’s calling everyone to – so you’re off the hook if you thought I was trying to recruit you. :)) But I bet if you quiet those untrue voices you might be hearing and if you release any desire that doesn’t make you look more like a light in a lost world, and choose instead to listen real close to His gentle whisper, you’ll begin to hear what He’s calling you to. And that’s when the real fun begins – with the chance to embark on an earthly adventure that’s preparing you for eternity.