Friday, July 19, 2013

...a little more of the story

Back in the winter of 2012, in the middle of taking classes for foster parenting certification, the stories told of kids so desperate for help overwhelmed us.  So much in fact that even though we continued on with the classes, we seriously contemplated not accepting any kids.  We shut down because the need was so great - thousands of kids need help and what difference could we possibly make anyway?  It didn't seem like a dent would even be made.  

We prayed about it for a few weeks. I especially was still wavering. One Tuesday night, during a Bible study of Isaiah, our teacher shared details about her childhood.  I don't even remember which part of Isaiah she was covering because I was so moved and convicted by her words.  She began by saying how she had recently met a co- teacher at a seminar.  They got to chatting and figured out that they had lived in the same area when our teacher was an infant.  Upon further narrowing down, they discovered that our teacher lived in an orphanage and this man, her present day co-teacher, actually ran the orphanage she had lived in.  He recounted for her how he and the staff would pray for each child daily and also pray over a child when he knew potential adoptive parents were interested in adopting that child.  40 some years ago he actually prayed over her and prayed for her adoptive parents; praying that she would grow up to love Jesus and spread His grace to those around her.  My jaw dropped and tears came to my eyes as my heart absorbed her words.  This one man prayed and trusted and God is still answering his prayer to this day. And she's just one of the hundreds of children this man prayed over.  

Deeply touched by her testimony of God's faithfulness, I hurried home and couldn't wait for Jon to join me there from work so I could share. We took away from her testimony that it's all right that we can't possibly take in every kid in Cuyahoga County (CC).  God wasn't asking us to do that.  He was simply asking us to be willing to help.  And willing we were.  Our purpose strengthened and renewed, we continued taking the classes and even went shopping for a crib and car seat.  

As the prior post mentioned, Cierra came to live with us about this time last year.  Once a week for the first few months, we would drive to her mom's town and sit in a collaborative house with her mom and Cierra's social worker. After 2 hours of visiting, we would part ways. We learned that many of the towns in Cleveland have these co-lab houses nestled right into a neighborhood so they can collaborate with the neighboring people; helping them with a variety of things like finding counseling, housing, jobs, and parenting classes.  

So, back to the timeline, Cierra came on a Friday night.  The following Monday morning Jon and I discovered that I was 4-5 weeks pregnant.  As you can imagine, we couldn't believe it.  I took multiple tests because I was convinced that either the test was wrong or I was incorrectly interpreting the symbols.

As the fabulous news began to sink in, we marveled at God's timing.  Had we found out about the little baby before Cierra came, we might have said no, simply out of wondering if being prego and taking care of a 5 month old would be too much.  It certainly wasn't too much, it was difficult at times, because life is, but it certainly wasn't too much; it was amazingly wonderful.

Both of our families showed so much love and support when they found out about the plans to foster.  That love and support only amplified when Cierra arrived.  After C had been with us for a week, per our request, the county signed a permission slip authorizing C to leave the state.  We drove her up to MI so the family there could meet her.

Weeks turned into months and before we knew it, fall was almost through. All through this time we were in contact with her mom several times each week via texting.  She loved to receive photos of her daughter. Sadly though, it became apparent that she wasn't working her case plan and hadn't been working it for weeks.  She began to hint that she would like us to adopt Cierra.  We of course were guardedly excited and started allowing ourselves to hope along those lines.

As we continued to be in communication with C's mom it became increasingly difficult to be kind. What helped us get through each interaction with her was remembering that God shows grace to us on a daily basis and He also gives us grace to extend to others.  Thanks to Chelsey for lending us "Families Where  Grace is in Place".  It was and continues to be a powerful message of grace.