“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11: 1). While some may find this quote clichéd, for me it sums up our walk through our journey of foster care and adoption. It reminds me the Bible tells the stories of everyday people, like my husband and me, who chose faith in God over the fear, anxiety, and doubts, which filled their journeys.
Our walk in faith began with thirty hours of foster classes, reams of paperwork, numerous interviews together (and separately), home preparation, fire inspections, lockboxes, child proofing, and seemingly endless waiting for approvals from multiple parties until we were deemed responsible enough to be officially approved in January 2017 by the state of NC to be licensed foster parents.
Then, the waiting began again. With each call we prayed for God’s guidance, and with aching hearts, we declined the first four calls we received. I cannot describe how my heart crumbled each time we said no, but we truly felt we had not yet heard God say yes.
After much prayer that yes came in February 2017, and with God’s gift of a five-day notice, we met our son in the NICU and instantly fell in love with him. That’s how I believe it should be when fostering; these children should be loved fully regardless of the pain that may accompany that loving. For didn’t Jesus love us enough to suffer unto death to save us?
From this God-filled moment, our story began. Since then, our faith has grown steadily as God has moved mountains so high and carried us through valleys so low to bring us to the final stages of becoming our son’s forever mommy and daddy. During this roller coaster journey, God also gave us the honor of hearing another yes when we received the call to love our son’s baby sister when she was born fourteen months later. Although her foster-to-adopt journey is not over, we have seen God work miracles and move seemingly immovable mountains as we continue to pray for the honor of becoming her forever parents.
Some of the highlights of these God-filled journeys include twenty-plus court dates (where social workers, lawyers, and judges made decisions while I sat on old wooden pews, studying my Bible and praying), monthly or biweekly home visits from social workers, quarterly home visits to update paperwork, twenty-plus hours of training each to maintain our foster license, visits with biological parents or biological relatives, shared parenting (meeting the parents and co-parenting), newspaper notices, DNA testing, status meetings, and more. Grief and pain go hand-in-hand with joy in the fostering journey, but the word of God, his promises, and prayer (ours and those of many prayer warriors) have brought us through the hardest of times.
Although I could fill up pages with the details of our journey, what really matters is understanding fostering is about trusting God and surrendering all fears, anxieties, and doubts to the Lord. He designed each of us for a purpose, and through this journey I know he has been weaving a story that glorifies him and the plans he has made.
It may take time—you will wait in foster care A LOT—and there will be really hard moments at the foot of the mountains, but there will also be sweet joys ahead whether it be a victory of adoption or a reunification between biological parents and child. Ultimately, foster care is remembering it is by faith that we walk in our lives, trusting Jesus in our walk, and fixing our hearts and eyes on the knowledge we have all been adopted into our Father’s family through Jesus Christ. One day, we will sit at his table and sing out praises that Jesus thought we were worthy of the sacrifices he made on OUR adoption journey.
I finish this somewhat lengthy entry (but very brief synopsis of a long journey) with the reminder I scribbled in my Bible when we first began our journey several years ago: “If God was to add my story to his Word, would my story speak faith, model surrender, and be built on the foundation of trust that God made me for a purpose? Would my story be read for God’s glory? It is my hope that when I reach Heaven, God will say,’My good and faithful servant, your story has been added to the Hebrews’ Hall of Faith.”
I want to live by faith, and foster care & adoption are filled with constant reminders God calls us to walk in faith, trusting him fully, and letting him hold all the glory in our story. What’s your story?
-Sara Auman (Mercy Hill Member)
Photography by Kayla Jean Photography