Within days of losing Ellianna, people wanted to know “are you planning to have any more children?” “Are you still going to adopt?” In the blackness of the fresh and searing pain, we could not imagine opening up our hearts again at the risk of another hurt. Even though we had talked about starting foster care, we didn’t want to subject our kids to the emotional roller coaster of other children coming and going on top of the pain they were already wading through. It was just unthinkable.
Months have ticked by… Jacob, Baylie and Bella have been doing weekly grief counseling and we have seen them be able to process and understand and express some of the hurt they don’t always wear on their sleeves. All of us as a family have begun to build bridges across the chasm of pain that is forever torn in our souls.
Foster care and adoption continued to be a conversation in our home, but it seemed that Mark and I would never end up on the same page at the same time. Until April 17, 2012. On this day, God very clearly, did I mention VERY CLEARLY spoke to both Mark and I in separate ways with the same message… His plan for us was to begin foster care with the intent of eventually adopting as well as continuing to foster. It’s a whole ‘nother story, which will probably have to wait for my book, but when God so unmistakably speaks to you like that, you act on it. After hours of gathering and filling out paperwork, we turned in our initial packet two days later.
|Our application for foster care|
The next few months were more paperwork, interviews, training, certifications. Our agency expressed excitement in licensing us, and in our desire to care for children with special needs. We were told we should expect to have our first placement in August or September.
It was July when I felt so joyful and empowered that I shook my finger in the enemy’s face, and it was two days later we got the first clue our homestudy wasn’t coming along as timely as we were expecting. Frustrated, we were stuck waiting on our agency.
Shortly after, we heard a story about a little girl. She had been adopted from Haiti two and a half years ago, and the family who had adopted her had decided to dissolve their adoption. A completed homestudy was not an immediate necessity if her family found someone they were comfortable placing her with. We began praying…asking what our part was in this story. The answer was to reach out in faith and take her into our home. After several meetings with her current family, 9 year old Akemi (uh-kimmy) came to live with us on July 29th.
We know that a child of her age comes with baggage, especially after having been uprooted not once, but twice. We are blanketed in prayer by loving friends and family, and are prepared to go the distance to help her heal and feel loved and accepted as part of our family.
So far she has adjusted very well, starting school with Jacob and Baylie only a few days after she arrived. She is learning our story as we are learning hers, and she brings joy to each of us. Some days are tears and questions, and some days are pure faith and determination… but each day is a gift and part of a plan we know has been in place since long before we knew.
We must still complete a homestudy within the next five months, and are having to start completely over with a hopefully more accomodating agency. We appreciate your prayers that the process would go smoothly this time and as quickly as possible.
With our baby BOY scheduled to arrive at the turn of the year, we have grown even sooner than we expected with the addition of our new daughter. Life has never followed our plans, but we know there is a perfect plan even when we can’t see past our own mess.
|Akemi, Baylie, Isabella, Jacob|