I've always loved telling stories. Back when I was cool and hip in the eyes of all the youth I worked with, I was known for my crazy stories. But I've never felt like I have a life changing story in anyway. But the last year has been quite a crazy one for our family and I'm beginning to feel like maybe I do have a story to tell, and more importantly that we ALL have stories.
This week were asked to tell our story about fostering in less than 3,00 words. It was harder than I thought it would be, but here is what I came up with. You might see this story one day in a little video or published in a book, but until then read it and take a moment to think about your story. Do you have one to tell? If so I encourage you to write it down, share it with others, or keep it to yourself and then reread someday. Enjoy.....
Within a month of completing our foster care certification, J-man (a 10 month old little boy) was dropped off at our home in the late afternoon. He was scared, over tired, hungry, and had nothing. We were told his case would likely end with adoption into our family. Over the next couple of weeks he became our son, a brother to our boys, and a "twin" to our daughter. We were now a happy family of 6!
3 weeks later we found ourselves meeting Bio Mom and learning that she was fighting to get him back. CPS now believed J-man would one day be reunified with her. It hurt deeply.
We picked ourselves up off the floor and made a decision. We weren't just called to love our son for as long as he was in our family. We were called to love his Bio Mom too. Jen began to befriend her slowly, learning her story. She grew up in foster care and did not trust the system. She never felt like anyone was on her side, then or now.
She became part of our foster story. We called her, encouraged her, held her hand in court, and even helped her throw a birthday party for J-man, letting her invite her friends/family. We saw her change, grow, start making smart decisions, and become a better Mom. Jen held her and talked her through a miscarriage. She was our son's mother and she needed our love, support, help, and prayers. We made her struggles our own, even though it would mean J-man would eventually leave our family.
6 months later, we drove a van full of clothes, diapers, food, toys, and other supplies to an HEB parking lot. We got out of the van and embraced. Tears on everyone's cheeks. That day we would say goodbye to our son, our children's brother. But, on that same day a mother and son were becoming a family again. A broken family became whole. A week before we would celebrate the birth of our Savior, we saw a family restored, sins forgiven, and a new beginning.
Our children miss their baby brother. We miss our son. We still talk to Bio Mom, receive pictures of our little man, and pray daily for them.
When we started the journey to becoming a foster family we never thought that we'd be strong enough to love Bio Mom. We thought that we'd be like other foster families and just love on the kids. But God had a different plan. God wanted to use our family to radically foster the "whole" family. God called us to sacrifice so a family could be restored. God called us to love the unloved. God called us to love even though it hurt.
Bio Mom shared with Jen many times that her experience growing up in the foster system was bad. She was scared when CPS took J-man. But, we showed her a love no one would. We fought for her and her son. The love and acceptance God showed us by sending His son enabled us to love and accept Bio Mom. Our love and acceptance gave her the strength to work so hard at getting her son back. Through this first foster experience, God taught us so many things about loving like He loves.
If you could tell a story about yourself in less than 3,000 words, what would it be about???? Go share it with someone.