yesterday afternoon, baby asleep and coffee poured and sun through the window, i sorted through hours of conversation and thought and prayer and put these words together for our families. the short of it: jared and i are (slowly) beginning the process of becoming licensed foster care parents. the long of it, as we shared with our families yesterday, is here.
Some of you know that we have been praying about and researching foster care. We attended an orientation through Arrow (a foster care agency) on Monday and, to make a long story short, we are officially pursuing licensing as a foster care family.
We realize that this probably raises a lot of questions and we sincerely hope that you will ask them! We are learning so much already and would love to talk to all of you about the information we are gathering and excited to put into action soon. There is a huge need for foster families in general, and College Station is no exception. In fact, only 9 families are licensed through our agency in Brazos County and children are, consequently, often placed in group homes or taken out of the county for placement in a home.
Children are placed in foster care due to neglect or abuse, so the fact that they are then put through the additional trauma of being removed from their communities breaks our hearts. God’s call to care for the orphan has been knocking at our door for quite some time, and we are so glad that He has given us some clarity as to how we can help address the crisis. There are over 30,000 children in foster care in Texas alone, over 12,000 of whom are waiting to be adopted. We believe it is the correct response for our family to begin fostering one child at a time, whether that child becomes a part of our forever family or we are able to help restore him/her to a biological family.
As far as timeline and a bit of detail, we are currently working on our (monstrous) application and hope to do the training classes in a weekend intensive in January or February. After that, we will have home inspections and complete our “home study,” which is a several hour interview that will provide the agency and Child Protective Services a comprehensive understanding of our family. If a child we foster becomes adoptable and we want to move forward with adopting that child, the home study will be passed on to the judge to assist his decision.
Our hope is that we will have our first foster child by next summer, but our timeline is flexible. We are open to fostering any race or gender. We would like for Owen to remain the oldest child in our home, so his birthday will be our cut-off date for the age we are willing to foster. We are still praying about and discussing what level of therapeutic needs or disabilities we feel capable of handling. Will you pray about that with us?
Other specific prayers at this point are that:
– our application/training/interview process will go smoothly;
– God will open our eyes to the realities that we will encounter and give us the strength and humility to walk through them;
– He will continually remind us that He will be our grace in the need of the moment, whether that moment be a drug-addicted baby in our home, a terrified toddler, or a year with a child ending as he or she is taken back to a biological family member;
– Owen’s heart, even now, will be opened to “sharing” us and that we would be especially skilled in affirming his identity in our family and the way that Christ calls us to be like him and care for our fellow man, as well as how God adopted us when we were orphans;
– we will be faithful to Jared’s position at Grace and the students/families we are called to minister to there;
– we will be able to raise awareness, action and support for orphans and those caring for them in our church and local community.
We hope you will join in this process with us! Please, please, please ask us questions and share in our joy just like you all were so faithful to do when we were pregnant with Owen. We are extremely excited but we also realize that we are opening up our lives to hardship that would be much easier to ignore. Whenever we think about that, it’s our peace to remember that God could have said the same thing about us…but He didn’t. Instead, he told us, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” He’s so good, and He has set that goodness inside us through His Spirit. It is grace to walk with Him, even into an uncertain journey.
Thank you for loving us and supporting our (seemingly crazy) dreams. We are so thankful that we will be welcoming our children into a home that is loved by each of you. We know that will make an immeasurable impact on their lives.
Call us, text us, email us back. We want to do this together.
We’ve attached a Christian foster care guide that a family at Grace helped write. We found it extremely helpful in understanding God’s heart for the orphan, as well as how the foster care system works. If you have the opportunity, we hope you’ll take the time to look through it.
If you want to pass this on to anyone, feel free!
Jared & Abby
so, there it is. the next season of our family’s journey, or at least part of it. we are in the boring paperwork phase right now, so we may not have many exciting updates for a while. however, i am very much looking forward to using joy woven deep as a vessel for sharing what we learn throughout the process, shedding light on the orphan crisis as well as the ever-changing specifics of foster care.
for now, we give thanks that He did not leave us as orphans and we look forward to reflecting that truth in our community. what a privilege and joy.