We are officially done with all our classroom training!!! 27 hours in a class over the past 1 ½ weeks and I can’t believe it’s over. We still have a lot we have to get done, but that is certainly one HUGE check mark off the list.
Just like last week, at the end of this weekend of training, I was filled with much joy and peace over this process and our coming journey! VERY minimal anxiety, which is a huge testimony!
The training this past Thursday, Friday & Saturday was a lot more of the technical stuff with the process, so it was at times a little boring. But my brain is definitely on information overload.
As strange as this sounds, I’m kind of sad our trainings are over. There is something so comforting about being in a room full of people that are at the same place as you in life. There were probably about 30 others there besides us and just knowing that we are all about to embark on this same journey together brought me much hope. It’s kind of a feeling of…if they can do it…I can do it.
I had one incrediblely divine appointment on Saturday I have to tell you about because I’m still so excited over it! Part of the training on Saturday was CPR training. As a foster parent you have to have your CPR training renewed every 2 years. So a couple came in the back of the class just for that part of the day.
They were very noticeable because it was a middle age Caucasian couple with a little adorable African American boy that looked about 5 years old.
When they came in, they sat in the back of the room. The entire time I kept thinking to myself how badly I wanted to go talk to them and hear their story because Heath and I very much so have envisioned are family similar to what we were seeing. And he was just the cutest little boy and so cuddly I couldn’t just watching him!
I’m not typically the type to go up and talk to a stranger unless the perfect opportunity presents itself. And I so badly wanted that to happen. Well, just as God would have it, that opportunity presented itself none other than in the ladies’ restroom. I mean would it be anywhere else.
I asked her while we were at the sink washing our hands if this is her foster child. She said that he is actually her adopted son. They got him from the hospital when he was a newborn. I was excited when she said that because Heath and I are setting our age bracket for newborns to 2 yrs old. I have heard a lot of difficult stories about getting newborns, so I have felt a little bit of anxiety over it. But to see this successful story in person brought me much hope.
Through conversation, she told me that her and her husband go to Gateway. I told her that there is a huge foster ministry at Gateway (as if she didn’t know that) that I often get on the website for research and support. She said, “My husband and started that ministry at Gateway!” WHAT?! The veil was lifted from my eyes and in that moment was in awe of the orchestration of this moment. I knew I needed to soak it in.
We talked for quite a while and I told her about my 2 main concerns.
1. Getting a newborn and thinking we will be able to adopt this newborn and then 4 or 6 or 10 months later, that newborn gets taken out of our home and placed with a family member. Ultimately, I do realize that this is probably the best for that baby, but how heart wrenching for the foster parents.
2. My concern for Ella and protecting her heart and her emotions through this.
She spoke such amazing truth to me, not holding back! This is her passion and it showed. She basically was telling me that I cannot protect Ella. But God can! That I cannot guard her emotions but God can and will. That I cannot guarantee a baby staying with us, but God knows. That I cannot control my heart breaking many times through this process, but God has already supplied the grace needed.
She was telling me how strong her little 5 year old boy is. That when a baby comes in to their home and then leaves, the 5 year old will come up to his mom and pat her on the back and say, “It’s okay mommy.” I know. She told me he is stronger than she ever could have imagined.
I have always felt that God has something in store for us that is a little different than the norm because of our daughter. If you have ever met Ella, you noticed her joyful, sweet spirit, but also sensitive spirit. She is a very compassionate child and very intuitive. Rarely misbehaving, but constantly striving to be pleasing to us. We've always noticed this, and I have always thought about what God could have for us by giving us a child with these characteristics. Over the past year, as this plan has been unfolding, it has become obvious why this strength and compassion has been in her since the beginning. God has been equipping us for the past 4 years and we had no idea!
This lady also told me that she used to hold one arm up to the child (metaphorically) so the child wouldn’t get to close to her heart, while with the other arm holding the child close. It was her way to manipulate her feelings so if the baby was taken away, she wouldn’t be as hurt. But she said after doing that with the first few, she felt God very strongly telling her to STOP IT. To love that child like you would if he was your own and if he doesn’t stay, then God will supply the comfort and grace at that time. But to stop trying to manipulate her own feelings and to trust HIM!
It was AMAZING to me that my two biggest concerns about this process was exactly this lady’s two biggest concerns. Isn’t that awesome? I still am getting goose bumps thinking about how God is even now preparing Heath and I for the journey He has for us. It’s so true…if He has called you to something He will equip!