Foster Care Month: The Joy of Bigger Plans

We are a foster-to-adopt home. Even though it took us nearly 9 years to get here, we believe this was what God wanted all along. He knew we had to go through all the tests and heartbreak to allow us to see His plan.

Our family today is a family of three. We have a beautiful foster son who will be 2 in August. He is so full of life and love! He has helped us see how we are as parents. We also still have our two fur pups. We’re looking forward to seeing the possibilities of our ever-expanding family!

Now that we’re fostering, I’m realizing more and more how being a foster parent is definitely a calling. It isn’t meant for everyone. I’ve had to learn to be spontaneous and not have a plan for everything. You fall in love over and over again, not knowing the outcome of it all. You’ll find out who your true friends are. The people you thought would be in your corner aren’t, and vice versa. Court days are the worst!!! You sit all day and wait, wait, for your turn, only to leave feeling like your voice wasn’t heard. It’s an emotional roller coaster. But it’s all worth it.

It’s incredible to look back at our journey and see how God led us to foster care. My husband, Joel, and I got married in 2009. We had the same desires for our ministries and our lives. We both wanted a big family.

Fast-forward to the fall of 2011. We were ready to start trying to conceive. I have always been like clockwork with my cycles, so my husband decided he would get checked out. He talked with his primary care doctor and they ordered him to do a semen analysis. On Halloween 2011 we received his results. His count was zero. Yes, you read that right. Zero.

We were devastated. We saw our dreams of being parents disappear before our eyes. We were confused, angry, broken – all the emotions we could imagine, we had. I was more bitter and angry than anything. I didn't understand why in the world God would give me this desire to be a mom and love children, and then just rip that ability from me. I had my soulmate, but I felt like I was missing my final piece to the life I had planned.

That December, when I was at my darkest and angriest, I heard a word from the Lord. He encouraged me to hang onto hope for a child. I immediately felt all the anger leave me. But month after month, year after year, no baby came. The confusion and hurt grew deeper and deeper, but every time I was at my lowest, God would remind me to remember His faithfulness. We didn’t pursue any medical intervention for nearly 7 years. Then I turned 30. My biological clock felt like it was ticking its last tick. So, we decided to seek a fertility specialist. She restored hope in us. She believed based on all my husband’s bloodwork, he just had a blockage and that IVF was our greatest chance. She gave us a 60% success rate (which is on the high end). We drove three hours to a male fertility specialist in Louisville to have a TESA procedure performed. This procedure would extract the sperm for us to use for the IVF cycle. We were filled with hope and joy. We were finally on our way to becoming parents!

I was waiting for the doctor to come out and tell me the great news. That isn’t what happened. Instead, the doctor came out with a look of defeat. Being in the medical field, I knew what that meant. The test was negative. The doctor was dumbfounded. He couldn’t give us an explanation about why everything pointed to Joel being able to reproduce, only to discover it wasn’t possible.

During the trip home, my husband brought up the idea of us becoming foster parents. He had originally brought this idea up when we first received his SA results, but I shut it down. I didn’t think I could handle the hurt of loving a child only to let them go. Not only that, but I wasn't ready to give up on my dream of becoming pregnant. But then I remembered my mom had always told me I had this incredible ability to love. She told me I loved every one of our friends and siblings’ children as if they were mine. She told me “Angela, I know you don’t want to hear this, but I think this was God's plan for you all along. He gave you your big beautiful heart full of so much love for children, so that you would and could love foster children. I know you want to have a biological child, but God has bigger plans.”

I didn’t want to hear what she was telling me, but my spirit knew she was right. So, I told my husband “Let’s fill in the gap for the thousands upon thousands of children in the system who need parents. I know it isn’t going to be easy, but I believe this is what God had for us all along.” My husband said, “Let’s do it.”

I share our story in the hope that it will encourage you. No matter what this life brings, God is FAITHFUL. Yes, there will be heartbreak, but when you know you are walking the path that God has set before you, there is a peace about it.

Fostering is filled with a whole new set of emotions that are completely different than infertility; however, there is also so much JOY in it. The joy comes when you know the child feels safe in your arms. Joy of hearing them tell you adoption has been added to the plan. Joy of a biological parent trying to make positive life changes so their children can return. Joy knowing that you helped reunite a family. Joy knowing you shared Jesus with them through the whole process.

We recently visited one of the newborns we fostered as our first placement. His return to family was the hardest goodbye we’ve had to date. But now we have a life-long bond with his family and will be able to watch him grow!

So look for the JOY in your own situation. Your trial may be different than mine and the path God has for you might be different, but His faithfulness is the same. His joy is the same. Embrace it all.

The good, the bad, and the ugly. When you embrace it all, you will truly be able to see the blessings that have been waiting for you all along!

Angela loves Jesus and is a blogger and an advocate. She and her husband have been on the journey to grow their family for more than a decade and are currently proud foster parents. Angela shares much of her daily life through Facebook + on her blog, Sincerely, Angela. She hopes that her story will encourage you in yours, a reminder that with God all things are possible.

-Waiting in HOPE- Foster Care Month: The Joy of Bigger Plans