My official journey to becoming a foster mama began on June 2, 2012, but I have unofficially been on this journey for much of my life.
As a child, I loved all children younger than myself, especially babies. At about 9 years of age, I was making babysitting fliers to put up around the neighborhood, wondering why no one was calling me to ask me to babysit. You might be thinking, “Wow, what an entrepreneur!” Although my parents are every bit the entrepreneurs and gave me that example, I was not looking to make money, nor was I seeking to fill a desire to start a business. I was not built that way.
I didn’t know it at the time, but my longing to babysit came from a deep desire that God had placed in my heart: the desire to be a mother. Just holding a baby brought me an indescribable joy and a peace that transcended all understanding. (Philippians 4:7) I found this kind of joy and peace in nothing else; I didn’t know it at the time, but it was a gift from God.
My path to building a personal relationship with God is a story for another post, but I’ll just say here that about four years ago I got to know Him and His word, made the decision to make Jesus Lord and Savior of my life, and was baptized.
I became a Christian at 27 years old, and by then I had already felt the desire to be married and have a family of my own for quite a few years. When I got baptized, I was grateful that God had not answered that prayer yet because I would get to marry a godly man, something that I would not necessarily have made a priority if I had been married before I surrendered my life to Him. I also became impatient. I wanted to get married, and I didn’t understand why God was making me wait. In the story I had written for myself, I would be married by the time I was 30 and already be having kids. At one point, I even began to believe that God was saying “no” to my desires of marriage and kids.
I began to ask God to take away those desires, desires that He had put in my heart. I couldn’t understand why he had put them there if He was not going to allow them to be filled. I went through some periods of tough heart-ache because these unfulfilled desires were so strong at some points. (Proverbs 13:12).
Godly, spiritual people in my life listened, prayed with me and for me, and sometimes cried with me. For the most part, people, no matter how much they love you, don’t really know what to say in situations like this…when there is an unmet desire that is making your heart sick. The one thing that I would hear a lot, though, was that I needed to surrender “it” to God – “it” being marriage and kids. First of all, I didn’t want to surrender that to God if it meant that God wasn’t going to give it to me. Second of all, even if I did want to surrender it, I didn’t have a clue how to do that. When God has placed a desire so deeply in your heart, how do you surrender that? God put it there, so what can I do about it? It never made sense to me.
About two years into my life as a Christian, someone very wise finally explained it to me in a way I could hear it and understand it. Simply put: I, myself, as a human being can do NOTHING without God. I cannot “just” surrender. I can PRAY for surrender. God has to give it to me. Great, so pray to be able to surrender “it” to God. But I didn’t even want to surrender…so I needed a baby step. My first prayer towards surrender was to “want to want it”. God, help me to want to want to surrender marriage and a family to you.
After I got to a place of wanting to want surrender in this area of my life, I began praying that God would give me that surrender. With help, I built my faith back up that God did want me to get married, and I continued to pray for surrender. (To me this meant that I believed that God wanted me to get married but that I was surrendered to whatever story God has written for my life whether it included marriage and kids or not.) Good friends of mine also consistently prayed that I would surrender. It took almost two years of praying for this surrender for God to give it to me, and it came quickly and in a completely unexpected way…it came through fostering.
When God first presented the idea of being a foster mama to me, I thought I was totally crazy for having such a thought and dismissed it almost immediately. I shared the thought with two women in my life anyway, and was told that I shouldn’t automatically dismiss it, especially since it seemed like something I really wanted to do. They challenged me to pray about it and to get advice. I thought for sure it was going to be a “no” from people in my life. I’m single, I work, I want to get married, and I though people were going to say that fostering would be too much of a complication in my life. What I heard was almost the exact opposite. My spiritual friends were telling me that being a foster mama made complete sense for me. The more I prayed and asked advice, the clearer God made it. He wanted me to be a foster mama.
I turned in my first paperwork and had my initial interview on June 2nd, and I knew God was filling a desire that He had placed in my heart: the desire to be a mom. But God is so awesome and big that he wasn’t just fulfilling one desire, he was also helping me surrender. In giving me the gift of becoming a foster mom, he also gave me the gift of surrendering marriage and a family of my own. I still wanted it, but I was surrendered to whatever God’s story was for my life. If his plan for my life was for me to be a single foster mama, great! If it was something else, great! I actually felt a total peace about His plan for my life, even though I didn’t know what it was.
It never occurred to me that I could want marriage and a family at the same time as being surrendered to God’s plan for my life. Now that I am on the other side of it, I know that you can absolutely surrender whatever your “it” is and still very much want it to happen. There’s just not the same desperation. It doesn’t cause the same pain and sadness. There is a total trust in God that He will take care of you according to your best interest and to His glory. The best part is that, I didn’t do any of this. It was all a gift from God so that I cannot boast. (Ephesians 2:9-10) It is ALL to His glory.
On July 30th, I became a certified foster mama, and on July 31st, I was placed with my first foster baby, the baby that God thinks I am perfect to love and nurture. And so the adventure begins…