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. James 1:27
Heal my heart and make in clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like You have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am for Your Kingdom’s cause
As I walk from nothing to eternity
-Lyrics from Hosanna by Hillsong
This verse and this song have quickly become me and Jeff’s heartbeat as we have walked through foster care and adoption. God truly broke our hearts for the orphans that live right here in our neighborhoods. These children, the ones in foster care, need families to love them forever or for a short time, and we believe that we, as Christians, are especially equipped to do that. We have a love given us by Jesus Christ that we can give freely and fully no matter how long a child stays in our home. In fact, we consider it an honor that the Lord of Creation, the One who knit all of these children in their mother’s womb, would allow us to be a part of their story. He allows another mother’s children to call me mommy and it is both miraculous and extremely painful, and it is God’s love to me daily.
Jeff and I were introduced to the foster care system through our church, The Austin Stone. At the time, we were newly married kids trying to figure out how we could serve the church. When the church offered a class to become certified to babysit children in foster care, we thought to ourselves, “of course we can do that!” So, we headed to the church offices to complete our CPR/First Aid training, get our background checks completed, and attend an information session on the foster system in Texas.
We left that training in pieces. We were undone. The numbers and statistics of the amount of children in care, the probability of them aging out of the system having never had a family, and the prospect of these children growing up on the streets or in jail was just too much to bear. The Lord truly broke our heart for what breaks His. We decided at that point we would be certified to provide respite care for kids in foster care. And then, needless to say, it became very clear to us that the Lord wanted us all in on this. We said “yes” to His call on our lives to become certified foster parents and our crazy story began.
We had two boys in our home for about six months. They ended up being reunified with their mother and it was a beautiful picture of God’s redemptive power. He even allowed us to see them recently, nearly 4 years later, playing with their family at a local park nearby. God was so good to give us that peace of mind and affirm that He is trustworthy and good.
A month after the boys left, three precious girls walked through our door. They were 6, 22 months, and 5 months old and terrified, dirty, and traumatized from being removed from their mother and father’s care earlier that day. Ten months later we were able to adopt them officially and three months after that our son was born. The last 4 years with these kids has been full to say the least. Full of love, trials, pain, healing, hurting, learning, growing, and prayers upon prayers. And God has been good just as He promises to be. I can look back and see this amazing story unfolding and I smile as I type this. In fact, just recently, my daughter’s therapist said to me, “Cara. I’m looking at a securely attached girl. That’s amazing.” We’ve put in a lot of blood, sweat, and tears for sure as a family, but God has been faithful to heal and teach and has proven Himself to be exactly who He says He is.
About 3 weeks ago we got a call that would once again change our lives for the crazy. We found out that the girls’ biological mom was going to be having a baby boy, and the state was going to take custody of him at birth. CPS was looking for a home for him and wondered if we’d take him in to be with his older sisters. Without much thought, we said “yes” to that and a week and a half later a tiny little baby boy came through our door. We are once again on the foster care journey. We don’t know if he will be ours forever, or how long this case will go on, or what is going to come out of all of this. But we know God is good. We know He is faithful. We know that He is in control. We know that we are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, and in Him, we have everything we need.