“I don’t know when I first felt called into providing foster care. I think it’s something that has been embedded on my heart since I was a child. When I met my husband, Dane in 2009, we had chatted about the idea of fostering and about this camp that he volunteered in, Royal Family Kids Camp – a camp for foster children aged 6-12 who have been abused or neglected. I think we both knew that we were going to be involved in the fostering community in some way, shape or form in the future.
When we moved from Aurora, CO back to my stomping grounds in Duluth, MN, we made it a point to buy a home that had at least four bedrooms for two reasons: 1) to have space for guests, and 2) to have space to foster. At this point, though, we had no idea when we would actually start fostering. We had one child already who was 3 and I was pregnant with our second child. I was staying home with our children while Dane went to work full time. I felt lonely, even though I had my family and friends nearby. I was depressed and on medication for it. I realized that I didn’t know who I was at this stage in my life. I was used to working full-time, and I really loved working full-time. Staying home with children was hard for me. I knew I was so blessed to be able to stay home with them, so why was it so hard for me? I felt a ton of shame for feeling the way I did, but I knew deep down I wasn’t going to live in this place of depression and shame forever.
One day at church, I noticed a part-time job posting in the bulletin for an Executive Assistant to the Senior Pastor. This is the first time I can remember feeling pulled into something by God. I just felt like I was supposed to apply for that job, even though Dane and I hadn’t talked about me going back to work. I leaned over to him and pointed at that job posting and he said, “Go for it!” I applied, interviewed and got the job. Since that has happened, I’ve been opened up to a really wonderful community that helps me to grow in so many different ways. I’ve been able to work but also take care of my family. I got off of my depression medication and have felt so wonderful.
Like many people in the Vineyard, I’ve gone through Faithwalking 101, 201 and 202. During one my calls in Faithwalking 202 earlier this year, I mentioned to my coach that I felt like God called Dane and I into fostering and into starting up a Royal Family Kids Camp. I voiced my concern to foster – I said that I was scared to step into fostering because I didn’t know what that would mean for my job. Would I be able to continue working? Would I end up quitting so that I could stay home and take care of these children who had a rough start at life? And if I quit and stayed home would I go into depression again? Would I lose myself? My coach asked me why I was scared, and I ended up admitting the ugly truth: I didn’t trust that God would provide for me and my family if we stepped into this journey he called us into. I didn’t trust that he would provide for me. And also, why us? Why are we being called? We’re not perfect – nowhere near perfect! But my coach asked that I spend some time praying about this. That night after our call, I got down on my knees and I prayed. I repented for not trusting God. I cried. A lot. And I asked God to work on me, on my heart to prepare me for whatever he’s leading us into.
Not even two weeks later, I started to get excited at the thought of fostering and I knew that God would provide for me and my family if we said yes to it. I realized God worked on my heart, just like I asked him to. I sat down with Dane and told him I thought it was time to move forward with the fostering process. He agreed with me and we prayed. We asked for him to lead us and to prepare our hearts even more.
Since then, we’ve met with the foster care licensor and begun our training. Doors have been swinging wide open for us on this journey, and so we know this is exactly where we’re supposed to be and exactly what we’re supposed to be doing. We’re only a month or two away from being licensed and we couldn’t be more excited. We’re scared still… We don’t know what our lives are going to look like. We don’t know what this is going to look like for our biological children to welcome other children into our home to live with us. We don’t know how hard it’s going to be to say goodbye to a child we’ve cared for and fallen in love with. We don’t know so much. But we do know that God is going to provide for us. He’s going to continue working in and through us.
I am extremely grateful that I was able to see that I was the one getting in the way of God’s plan. God had already forgiven me for it, and he was ready to move past it when I was ready. I’m blissful that God would even consider us to become foster parents – to take care of his orphans. And the best part about this all is that this is just the beginning for us… I know that God has more planned and that if we just continue to be open and continue saying ‘yes’ to him, we can’t go wrong.”