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Friday, February 28, 2020

Hart's Fostering Journey

It feels almost foreign to be typing into the Blogger interface. I hadn't planned on taking an almost permanent hiatus from blogging but life has gotten full in a way that I could have never expected. I hate to use the word "busy" because we are all busy and we all have the same amount of time in our days and the freedom to choose what we spend those precious hours on. In an attempt to update you on the past 2 years of life may be pages and pages of me rambling so I am going to try to be concise with the intention of being back on here a little bit more in the future. As you can probably guess from the title, we are fostering! We became a family of 6 in the fall when a sweet 2 day old baby joined our family through foster care and almost 6 months later we are head over heels, attached, and in love with a little boy we will most likely have to say goodbye to. I plan on writing a whole post about that part of foster care- loving and attaching knowing you will say goodbye- but that is a soap box post for another day.

So what led us to foster care? That is a loaded question that was years in the making. Since before we got pregnant with Ford, our biological son, we felt the conviction to grow our family through adoption. We started the adoption process when our daughter Lucy was just a few months old (my most recent adoption post here) and brought home our son, Gideon Aaron, through adoption in November 2016. To say we were overwhelmed physically and emotionally is an understatement so I we held off on adding to our family. In October 2018 I vividly remember how sick I felt reading the news that the state of New York passed a law to allow abortions up until 40 weeks gestation. A baby's heart starts beating at 6 weeks gestation and by 40 weeks most babies are already born and in their parents arms. We had started to talk about adding to our family and it was that day that I felt a deep conviction about foster care. There is so many layers to this story and how the Lord used our failed adoption match prior to Gideon to start to stir our hearts towards foster care. I started working at The Heart of Texas Pregnancy Resource Center shortly after we brought Gideon home because I began to feel this passion towards family preservation, not just fighting for the lives of babies. God was working and preparing us for our foster care journey years before we said yes. So that October day I asked Jon to pray faithfully with me about the possibility of foster care. Fast forward to January 2019 where we went to our first orientation with a local foster care agency and the stars aligned (pun intended because our agency is called STARRY). I was finishing up my last semester of an intense theology development program at our church and knew we didn't have the capacity for training until I graduated. We continue to pray, asked our community to pray, and started to research, learn, and ask for discernment and wisdom to move forward. We started our pre-service training in June 2019 and became licensed in early September. We knew it was going to be mountains of paperwork because we've adopted before but honestly nothing could have prepared us for the mountain RANGE of paperwork, training, background checks, rec letters, and other things we had to complete before becoming licensed. It is definitely not for the faint of heart... or disorganized person!

Maybe there will be a day that I go more in depth on becoming licensed and what is involved but in order to keep this post less than 1 million words, I will come to a close. Foster care has been so much more physically and emotionally demanding than I could have ever imagined but also 100 times more wonderful. Our weeks are filled with therapy, bio parent visits, phone calls, paperwork, home visits with CPS, attorneys, ad litems, and very little sleep but I wouldn't change it for the world. There is a chance we have to say goodbye to our sweet baby soon and I can see how people could easily throw in the towel after 1 go around. It is so much, so hard, so tender and emotional. I break at the thought of saying goodbye and not having that beautiful baby laugh to wake up to every morning. I crumble thinking of my forever kids giving the baby one last hug and kiss. I can feel my breathing pattern start to increase and a frog form in my throat as I type this but you know what? I will do this all again. I will sacrifice by time, sanity, emotions, heart, money, and family for the chance to love a child. We would have never met this sweet baby had we not said YES to foster care. I would not have cried out in prayer night after night and felt the love and closeness of my Father had we not said yes. The promises of God in scripture are more real for me than they ever have before because this world doesn't make sense and my God is the one thing that does not change. My heart will break, in fact it has already broken, BUT GOD. He is working, moving, shaping, and claiming so much glory from this season of my life. I will never be the same after foster care. Once your eyes are opened to poverty, injustice, and brokenness, you are never the same. I long for heaven and I know the Lord is using foster care to place eternity in my heart. This world isn't my home (praise Him for that!) but while I am here, I want to serve Him faithfully by loving His image bearers.

Night after night I host TED Talks in my head of things I want to say about foster care, Jesus, attachment, redemption.... if only I could record them into words. I hope to write more and answer questions more in depth to be informative and encouraging but also as a reminder to myself where God has me.

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