I know that I say over and over again that I am always amazed by God and His plan unfolding in my life... But let me just go ahead and say it one more time.
I struggled for a while with what to do and when to share about our Foster Parenting Process and an update of sorts for that. I'm pretty sure that the last things that we shared on here about that was that our well hadn't passed yet... and then suddenly I got pregnant, and then the focus of the blog shifted.
Well, I'm happy to say that in September, we officially received our License from the State of Michigan in the mail and we became Officially Licensed Foster Parents! Unfortunately, at the time, that little piece of paper was so bittersweet. We were struggling to understand why we felt *so* called to do what we had sought to do by getting licensed and taking care of these kids and that I got pregnant. We just didn't understand why it all happened and were confused and conflicted.
I felt so conflicted about it and just didn't know what to say about it at all that we never shared with people that we had got our license and that we were Official.
Some close family members instantly thought of the foster process when we announced that we were pregnant back in July and asked what our plans were with the fostering process and while we were conflicted about what to do, all that we shared was that we weren't licensed yet, so it didn't really matter at that point. We wondered up until September if our license was going to come in the mail or what was going to happen.
Some time in August, my licensing worker called me to check in. She said that she finally had all of our paperwork off of her supervisor's desk and that it was being submitted to the State and that we should get our License in 2-6 weeks. I think the License took more like 8 weeks to get, but in August, we did get that little update that I don't think I ever shared because I was so conflicted about what to do if we did actually get licensed. I started to wonder if God wasn't going to allow us to be licensed and if the process of being licensed and going through the classes and what not was just an obedience trial, or what... I had no idea.
For the most part, I would say, most people in our immediate family had the thought of us being Foster Parents really pushed out of their minds once we announced that we were expecting. And especially since we never talked about it again, that's really not at all surprising. We weren't sure what to say, and we weren't comfortable sharing our hearts at that point with the conflicting thoughts and emotions, and up until a couple weeks ago anything we felt about it was really irrelevant because we weren't licensed. I think the only comments that we really got about stuff was that it was so nice that we already had almost all of the "big" purchases out of the way for baby and how convenient that was for us. (Stroller, Infant seat, crib, nursery set up, convertible car seat, etc.)
I guess the honest truth is that I thought we would just know what to do if and when we got a call from DHS with a possible placement. When our license first came in the mail, I knew we were officially on the books, and because I had such an unsure attitude about what we would do in that situation, I freaked out each time my phone rang and it was an unknown number. My stomach would sink and I would start to panic, I wasn't ready to deal with this yet.
All of this background information is leading up to today, when my phone rang while I was driving to Joann Fabrics to buy fabric to make a baby wrap for myself and for my best friend. I was in a good mood, feeling good, hanging out with my friend Michelle who is here visiting, really just enjoying life and having a good time and my phone is ringing with a number that I didn't recognize. I shrugged, didn't think twice about it and answered the phone.
"Hello, this is **** with Bethany Christian Services, I'm calling you with a possible placement."
I'm tearing up even writing this down. The overwhelming emotions that I felt when she said that made it so that I barely heard most of what she was saying. You would think that we were adopting and had just gotten *THE* call, I was that shocked by this phone call. I didn't understand that much about it, she just told me a few little facts about this placement like their likes and dislikes and foods they liked and things like that. After about a minute of that, I finally was able to get my stuff together and start trying to remember the right questions to ask, the questions that I was trained to ask. I asked what kind of placement it was (reunification) and the possible length that they were expecting (6-9 months) which obviously I also understand that that plan can change at any point in time. I told this woman that I needed to call my husband and then call her back.
I called Jack and he didn't answer. I texted him and he didn't reply. I called him again and he finally answered and I said I had to talk to him and it was big. He called me back a few minutes later after he had walked away from his desk and I quickly relayed what I had been told and what I was thinking and he said he needed to think. (I love and hate this about my husband... I'm a DO-er and a JUMP-er and he's a THINK-er. He definitely balances me out.) He basically just asked me if I was up to it, and I said yes. He texted me about 20 minutes later and said go for it.... let me know what happens.
So I call this woman back and leave a message letting her know that we are on board. She tells me that she has to get his paperwork and that she will call me back and let me know details and things like that later today. She said that she was off work at 7pm today and that she would call me back by 7pm whether she had his paperwork or not just to touch base.
Between that time and 7pm was about 6 hours... which leaves a lot of time for second guessing. My initial reaction was SUPER excitement. Then I started to talk to people who really didn't understand what we were doing or why the heck we would take a child into our home while I was pregnant and possibly have him here after I give birth. I started to have seeds of doubt planted in my mind, I started to wonder if I should call her back and tell her that I was pregnant and that I couldn't do this. (My licensing worker knows that I am pregnant, and I'm assuming that's in my file, it's not that our workers don't know that I'm pregnant.) I started to run through all of these scenarios in my mind about the kinds of things people would say to me about how crazy I was to take on something like this, especially while being pregnant. I was picturing what I would respond or how I could wholeheartedly respond to people who said, "well, I don't think you should do that, you're going to want alone time with just you and your baby when he/she comes home!!" Then I started to think these same selfish thoughts.
I searched my heart in a panic and prayed for guidance. I immediately felt the need to start looking through my phone. I needed to call someone who understood where my heart was when I started this process, and why we did this in the first place. I needed to talk to someone, and quick. My heart was racing as I scanned through my phone... and suddenly BOOM... the ONE person in my whole phone book who is on almost the same road with feeling called to action in this way too. I text her to see if she's available to talk, and she says yes, and I call her right away. This conversation was a God-send and it was exactly what I needed... and all she really did was say a couple words and ask maybe one or two questions. She was EXACTLY the right person to share my heart with, and she was probably 1 of 2 people who I had shared my struggles with what to do with our license after I got pregnant, where I was not sharing with anyone at all.
WHY did we choose to get licensed to be Foster Parents? Because we felt called to do it. We felt like God was saying, "Here is a need, and I have given you the means in your life to fill this need." We are followers of Jesus Christ and we are called to SERVE Him and SERVE others. We are called to a life of service in His name. We followed in obedience to His call to serve Him and others in this way.
WHAT are we thinking? Don't we want to spend time with our baby and enjoy this all by ourselves?? Of course that was our first thought. We want to take this baby and hold it so close and never share it with anyone or any thing because this was OURS. This is OUR baby and we waited a LONG LONG time for this baby that we really thought would never come. But wait, if Jesus came back tomorrow... would he accept that excuse from us?? I highly doubt it. This baby, along with this placement... these are HIS children.
God was so gracious to us with this precious gift of life that I have growing in me. How selfish of us to take this gift and turn my back on what we so clearly felt was the calling in our life. How could we stand before God and justify our actions?
Once those questions and obvious answers came, my heart was filled with peace.
We are not taking this placement because it will be FUN, even though I know, we will get so SO much joy from this. We are not taking this placement for OUR benefit, because really, who in their right mind with the chance to choose would choose this? We are faithfully, devoted, and wholeheartedly following our Lord and His calls on our life and we KNOW we will be blessed because of it. Any blessing that we could have experienced by staying a family of 2 (1/2) while I am pregnant and a family of 3 when the baby comes in March, is going to be exponentially outnumbered by the blessings we will receive by following His call and will for our life. I pray that neither Jack or I ever have a stumbling block about this type of decision or part of our walk in our life at all ever again, but more so- I pray that we will definitely be able to recognize this situation when it comes up again and be able to wisely choose.
With all of that being said and explained...
With great Joy... and God's Amazing Grace in our life... I am so excited to announce that joining our family very soon will be a little boy... named Caleb. He is two.
Let Caleb's name... which is a Hebrew name that means "Faith, Devotion, and Wholehearted"... always remind us of our Faith in Jesus, our Devotion to Him and His Devotion to us, and our wholehearted desire to love and honor him in all of our ways!!