Unexpected Journey: Part 1

Mark and I have always been open to adoption. What Christian who has been blessed with enough wouldn’t want to share God’s blessing with the widow, with the orphan, with the least of these.

Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.
Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me. ~Matthew 25:40,45

It’s one of the lessons I learned from  One Thousand Gifts . The idea of keeping my hands open, that the blessings He showers upon us are not just for our comfort and enjoyment, but are to flow through us to others. He blesses us so that we may bless others in His name.

There have been several periods of time over the course of our marriage when we’ve tried to pursue adoption and each time the Lord shut the door.

Then, after Valor was born, Mark and I watched this trailer.  At the opening words,

And then I was weeping. I always cry when I’m angry. And she said, ‘Why are you crying? It’s only orphan.’

we wept.

And when it was over, we knew that now was the time. We NEEDED to do something. We decided that our first step was to have a home study done.

Once again doors were being shut.

We considered international adoption, but we do not meet some of the standards set by USCIS. The door for foreign adoption was closed.

We live in the state of Tennessee where social services will not place more than 5-6 children in a home. The door for foster care through the state was closed.

Private adoption was our last option and still we ran into obstacles.Savannah creek

One agency said they didn’t think we should have 11 children, period (this after being on the phone with me for less than 5 minutes). She said, that she didn’t think that we were seeking out adoption for the right reasons. (Our reasons were that we believed God had called us to reach out to the fatherless by opening our home to them and that if He never sent us children, we were fine with that, but we wanted to be ready should He send some our way. She wanted our motivations to be family building, that we NEEDED to complete our family.)

One highly recommended social worker never called me back. For 6 weeks I called her one to two times each week, leaving a message and never received a call back.

I wondered if we were heading the wrong direction, but Mark remained firm. “It’s fine if we are never blessed to adopt, but that home study is our “drop box“. It is the way that, here in the States, we can be open to children who need a home.

Then one evening, Mark and I were sitting at an informational meeting at Bethany Christian Services and we heard about Safe Families for Children. SFFC is a private, Christian organization that provides a temporary safe family for children whose families are in crisis.

“Oh, but I could never do that”, I thought.

But maybe it was really, “I don’t want to do that.” I don’t want to shower someone else’s child with all that love, only to feel that loss when they go back to the home where they belong. I don’t want my children to feel that loss. What if the home they are going back to is still very hard?

Mark and I had never wanted to do something where children would be placed in our home temporarily. We’d get too attached. Our heart was adoption. We didn’t want this kind of hurt.

But at that moment, sitting in that meeting we looked at each other and knew that this would be part of our story.

I requested an application for the Safe Families program. I read it over and then got busy with cross country, hospitality and enjoying the sunny weather. I sent out letters to friends asking if they’d be references for us and added “complete SFFC application” on my to-do list.

I often ask for a neon sign from God and sometimes He sends one.

On Thursday morning (4/25) I received an email titled, “URGENT: Housing needed for two children”. Really? Had someone made a mistake? We hadn’t even turned in our application yet.

Without hesitating, Mark encouraged me to email back.

To be continued because the kids are up, all 13 of them…

Unexpected Journey:

Part 1: The Call **you are here**
Part 2: Doubts
Part 3 (surprising interlude)
Part 4: Confirmation
Part 5: Happily Ever After

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19 Responses to Unexpected Journey: Part 1
  1. Cindy
    May 1, 2013 | 8:04 am

    So exciting! I’m amazed that your reasons weren’t considered good enough. Wanting to help children for the sake of the children themselves is bad while wanting to use them for your own family’s need to feel “complete” is good? That is utterly upside down.

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    Blair Reply:

    I agree Cindy!

    All 13 of them. Can’t wait for part 2!

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  2. Laura
    May 1, 2013 | 8:05 am

    Kimberly,

    What a wonderful opportunity to show Christ-love in your home. Both to those children you temporarily have and to your own children who are seeing you stretch forth your hand. Thank you for being open to the will of God in your life. I will be praying that this time of ministering to these children has long lasting effects both in their lives and in the life of your family too.
    Laura

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  3. Chandra
    May 1, 2013 | 8:05 am

    I love how God writes such beautiful stories!!!! Seriously, I can vividly remember the day you commented on my old blog over five years ago telling me you all were open to adoption…and I have prayed for you all ever since!!!

    LOVE it! Can’t wait to hear more!

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  4. Laurke
    May 1, 2013 | 8:48 am

    You can let them go when the time comes. Who are we to be selfish and hold on to someone’s child because we are afraid of the hurt that may result to US? Yes it’s so hard. I’ve let 17 go and have blessed others and been blessed each time. I have 3 foster boys now and just try not to imagine them being here permanently to help ease my own loss when it comes. But that’s hard, too, because I love them all! If God calls you to it, he will give you the strength to let them go.

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  5. Amanda
    May 1, 2013 | 9:05 am

    I am SO excited for your family, and I cannot wait to read more about your story as it unfolds! Our family is currently waiting on our baby boy from Ethiopia. I am also excited to learn more about this organization. Our family has a HUGE heart for the orphan and vulnerable child, so this may be something we look into in the future as well. (We also live in TN). Blessings to you guys, and I will be praying for your family as you welcome these two little ones into your home temporarily. :)

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  6. Sheila Mom to Seven
    May 1, 2013 | 9:32 am

    Oh, that’s so wonderful, Kimberly! You sound just like me, except that you’ve actually taken those steps. Praying for wisdom and guidance in the future…
    (Btw, great to hear from you again.:))

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  7. Katie
    May 1, 2013 | 9:38 am

    I am so excited for your family. Our story is the exact opposite of yours. When we went into foster care, we knew it would be hard, but we wanted to help reunite families. We wanted to be an encouragement and light to both the children and their parents. It wasn’t always easy, but we are grateful for that time in our families life. The funny thing is then God gave us two children to keep. So, we ended up being adoptive parents after all. A few years later we knew it was time to adopt again, we had been doing respite care for special needs children. So we decided to take that experience and adopt a special needs child. It wasn’t easy. Everyone told us we had too many normal children(we had nine at the time). But God opended the right doors at the right time. So, we have been blessed to adopt three of our children. We believe God has another adoption in our future, just waiting on His direction and timing.
    Our family will be praying for yours as you do God’s work in loving these children and their parents.

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  8. beth renneker
    May 1, 2013 | 9:54 am

    Wow! I regularly read your blog, and am always inspired by you and your husband. You have such unity in serving God.
    Adoption is something I love and am grateful to have participated in. Whenever I hear of others caring for the least of these, in order to serve our Lord, I am blessed and awed by how greatly God loves each of us through His people.
    What you are doing will be hard, but the best things always are the hardest.

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  9. Annie
    May 1, 2013 | 9:58 am

    How exciting! The Lord is faithful! It’s in His Word, therefore He will walk you through. What a testimony! I am praying for your family and this uncharted experience!!!! Can’t wait to read more.

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  10. Beth
    May 1, 2013 | 11:20 am

    As a fost-adopt mom, I have to say it is not usually hard for us to “let them go”. Of the 16 foster children we have had in the past 3 years, only 3 were children that were hard to let go. We just adopted one of those, he’s 3 and we got him at 13 months, and I felt from the moment they wheeled him out in his stroller that he was “mine”. Most of them we look back fondly at the time they were here.. a few were so difficult and brought so much trouble to our family/home that we were actually glad to see them move on. We just trust that God has put these children with us for a reason and HIS plan is bigger than ours!

    Fostering is the hardest thing our family has ever done.. but also the most rewarding. It changes every one of us.

    Beth

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  11. Jacqueline
    May 1, 2013 | 1:05 pm

    This gives me the chills. Can’t wait to read the rest. God bless!

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  12. Sarah Giovannetti
    May 1, 2013 | 1:05 pm

    May God bless you on your journey. I have felt the same way. I only wanted the adoption, but we pressed though with foster care anyway. Now, 1.5 years later, we have said good bye to one precious baby boy and we are in the process to adopt our current 3 placements. It hurts, and it doesn’t stop. But it’s worth it. Because God absorbs a lifetime of hurt for us, I know I can absorb a bit for a child. Now everyone thinks we’re crazy to continue to grow our family (we are at 5) but we know it’s God’s calling on our lives, and so we will obey. May I suggest you check out http://www.newhorizonsforchildren.org as another way your family can reach out to children in need? It’s a hosting program that places children from China, Latvia and Ukraine in Christian homes during the months of February, July and December to experience normal family life, and more importantly, the love of Christ!

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  13. Brooke
    May 2, 2013 | 6:14 am

    I haven’t spared the time to look at a blog in a few months now, but remembered yours in my Bible study this morning. We have two Rusian boys we will probably never be able to pick up and bring home. We have also run into a lot of the obstacles you have. I am pregnant with either #9 or #s 9 and 10 right now and my oldest is 9. We have considered safe families, but wondered if it would be safe for our children…

    Please keep us as honestly as you can online, updated on the process.

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  14. Katie
    May 2, 2013 | 1:27 pm

    We do Safe Families in Atlanta and love it! So excited for you!

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  15. Michele
    May 2, 2013 | 10:19 pm

    Can’t wait to hear the rest of tHe story unfold! Praying for your family!

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  16. Jamie
    May 3, 2013 | 3:21 am

    What a cliffhanger!! I can’t wait to hear the rest!

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  17. Marisa
    May 9, 2013 | 2:17 pm

    Could you tell me what a home study is?

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    Allykay Reply:

    An agency comes and checks out your home to make sure there is enough living space to accommodate the child, background checks are run,what kind of discipline is allowed since they aren’t biological children,etc. To see if they are fit to adopt or foster.

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