No Longer Big, Scary, and Unknown

foster care
Written by Ashley, adoptive mom

My name is Ashley, I’m an adoptive mom, as well as a former foster mom and residential group house parent.

Our daughter, Kate, joined our family via infant domestic adoption in April 2011. When she was a little over a year old, Patrick (my husband) and I began asking Kate’s babysitter, Jane, (who had become a dear friend over the course of that year) questions about foster care. Jane and her family had fostered over 70 children through a 20 year time span. Needless to say, she was an incredible source of information!

We felt like foster care was an incredible way to serve and love vulnerable families and children, but we knew very little about the process.

After learning more, we went through the foster care classes; imagining our family with a little one, birth to six or so was our “ideal” age. However, God orchestrated a completely mind blowing series of events, and we welcomed, Brandon, an 18 year old aging out foster teenager, into our home when Kate was 18 months old.

After a beautiful seven months of having Brandon in our home, my parents adopted him! Brandon is now my brother and will be sharing his view of growing up in Foster Care tomorrow with The Archibald Project!

After his placement and adoption, we became house parents to eight children in a cottage style residential setting. Patrick is a VP for a residential campus (where we also live), caring for children from hard places. These children and families are worthy of our attention, care, and sacrifice and we believe they deserve to know about the love and restoration of Jesus.

In the beginning, Foster Care was big, scary, and unknown. I thought it would be something where a social worker would show up at any time of day with any amount of children and just “drop them off.” I have no idea why I thought this as this was not the case. In Foster Care you are able to state ages and situations for which you are comfortable… and honestly, an 18 year old was not originally in our plan. I can’t explain why I agreed to this

particular situation with Brandon, other than Jesus provided a peace. Of course, people thought we were crazy, and maybe we were and still are, but Brandon joining our family was beautiful.

Fostering and now living and working on a residential campus has highlighted the depravity of this world. My selfishness has to be faced daily, as we worked the needs, appointments, football practices, etc… into our already “busy” schedule. I was selfish a lot.

With the path the Lord has had us on since starting to foster, we have seen more families in crisis, kids suffer, and behaviors amp up, and it is hard to take in at times but Jesus can redeem this messed up world! And He does. We have the chance to experience Him making things new and saving people right before our very eyes.

I want the world to know that fostering is a crazy, hard journey. But so, so, so worth it. When I think of how God brought Brandon into our home and then my parents adopting him, I am in awe of the Lord’s provision in writing this story…all because we chose to jump in and say ‘yes’. He took our feeble yes and provided a forever family for Brandon. Even though we only had seven months with him in our home, Brandon’s life and story has changed the trajectory of our lives.

Foster homes are sooooo needed, as well as people to come alongside foster families and support them through meals, running errands, babysitting, etc. We need real families who love Jesus and desire to serve hurting families and children right in their own counties. That’s what I want people to know. It’s not easy, but personally, we have seen that following hard after Jesus isn’t easy and was never promised to be.

It sounds so trite, but just do it. Get involved in foster care somehow. Become a licensed foster family. Provide help to a family who is fostering (I think this is huge! These families need our help and support.) Love on the caseworkers in your county by coordinating meals in their office. Become an advocate for a child in the system. There are so many ways to be involved in foster care.

To read the story from Ashley’s (now) brother, Brandon, click here!

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