Now that we’ve recently adopted after a very long wait many are wondering and a few have even come out and directly asked us, more or less, “What’s next for your family?” which I basically interpret to mean “Are you done with foster care? Is your family complete now?”
Our public answer to that very personal question has been: “We’re not exactly sure.” Wouldn’t life be easy if each of us could look through a magic eight ball and know with perfect certainty what lies ahead for us, though?
Here’s what I do know:
-God gives us direction and inspiration in our lives but he never forces us to do anything.
-Many times that inspiration may just be a small thought in the back of our head or a feeling we get. The impression I had a few years ago to make room for more is an example.
-It’s up to us to act upon those thoughts and feelings.
-When we do act upon those impressions we are often given further light and knowledge, and if we’re lucky enough, some clarity.
I also know that:
-Many of the experiences we go through in life prepare us for future experiences.
For example, over 2 years ago we took our first sibling group of two young children and it was a pretty big deal for our family to go from one child to three children overnight- but we did it. That experience couldn’t help but prepare us for our next sibling group of two young children close in age who ended up joining our family permanently.
I have also learned through past experiences that:
-We can’t just sit back and wait for things to happen or fall into our laps but we have to make a conscious effort and move forward with faith.
Months ago when we learned of the possibility of another baby being placed in our home through the foster care system (namely, Jack & Jill’s baby brother) I wrote:
Do we keep fostering if we get to adopt Jack and Jill? Should we continue to pursue a private adoption? Should we be content with the three children we have even though we have room for more?
When I apply the things I’ve learned (which I’ve mentioned above) with our particular situation right now I’ve come to the conclusion that although my husband and I don’t know for certain what lies in store for our family I do know that we have room for at least one more child and despite our recent adoption, the feeling I have to make room for more hasn’t completely gone away. Therefore, we need to act.
At this point in time we’ve decided to do what we can on our end to make it possible for another child to join our family- if that’s what is supposed to happen. The reason I say “if that’s supposed to happen” is not necessarily because of a lack of faith on my part, but rather because of my recognition that:
-Just because we receive a prompting and act on it doesn’t necessarily mean things will turn out the way we figure they should.
Sometimes we got so caught up in the ends or result that we lose sight of being faithful to the means. Does that make sense?
Moving forward with faith for us means that we’re keeping our foster license open. It means staying with one of the adoption agencies we’ve invested our time, money, and efforts with over the last couple of years- at least until our Home Study expires-and updating all of our paperwork and profiles. It means spreading the word that we are available to welcome another child into our family through social media such as Adoption.com and ParentFinder.com.
Moving forward with faith also means continuing to search through profiles of waiting children online because babies aren’t the only ones who need homes.
There is much room for speculation about what the future holds for my family and I could analyze the pros and cons all day of adopting a newborn through a private agency versus adopting a child through the foster care system versus fostering with no intention of adopting versus simply enjoying our time with the three children we do have in our family and taking a breather from fostering or the adoption process altogether because neither are easy. But fostering has most certainly taught me some significant lessons, including:
-Worthwhile endeavors are not always easy and seldom do they come at the most convenient times.
- Life isn’t just about ‘What’s in it for me?’ but rather ‘How can God use me to help someone else?’.
Having said that, perhaps there is another child out there who is meant to be in our family- or there is a birthmother searching for the right family for her child- but in either case, we won’t be able to find each other if we don’t first open our hearts and minds, decide to take action, and move forward with faith.
I’m very fond of this quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that emphasizes how important it is to take the first step even when we don’t know exactly what the outcome will be:
Here’s to moving forward with faith towards whatever is in store for our family.