The Following Post was written by one of our Board Members Jill. You will love reading her story and hearing how The Church has loved on and impacted her family!
Last May, we went from a family of four to a family of seven overnight. We made a spur of the moment decision to adopt three kids out of foster care. We had adopted two kids from foster care the previous two years & bringing these three kids into our lives was nothing that we ever planned to do. Despite our plans, God opened the doors and we (reluctantly) obeyed.
Becoming parents to 5 kids (ages 6 & under) within a couple hours of a phone call from the agency was unexpected, stressful and traumatic. We met three kids who were strangers, but we knew we would adopt in 6 short months. Immediately we knew we’d need help – and lots of it. God had prepared us for this moment, but we had none of the physical essentials we needed to move forward. Instead of trying to do it all, we turned to prayer & God provided the church to show us His love. The church has fed us, clothed us, helped us, supported us, and the church still hasn’t left us alone. Let me explain.
The church has fed us. In the first six months of us meeting three of our kids the local church, our neighbors & friends provided over 50 meals for us. FIFTY MEALS. If each meal for the 7 of us cost a family around $20 (some spent much more), we would have received over a thousand dollars in food & groceries. This doesn’t even include all the people who brought over snacks or sent gift cards to order in dinner. Pure love and generosity in this practical way showed us such support and provided for us during this rough transition.
The church has clothed us. I thought providing new wardrobes for two children was expensive until we had five. Thankfully, some items can be shared between them or handed down, but we have been through dozens of shoes in the past 1 ½ years. The church has provided clothing for us through OneHope27’s placement bags, hand me downs and our church community that have asked us of our needs & provided them. When we needed pajamas, a woman who loved us well from church went out & bought our kids what they needed. When we have needed uniforms for school, people hunted for navy pants and black shoes for us. This is something our kids know and remember – who bought them their favorite pajamas and who got uniforms for them. They felt loved through the clothes & shoes they’ve received.
The church has helped us. Childcare, home repairs, financial gifts, meals, encouraging notes, beds, toys, resources and time don’t even cover all the incredible ways we have been helped during this season. I will never forget the way one of my neighbor friends included part of our story in her blog & suggested that if any of her readers wanted to help her neighbors (us) by making us a laundry organizer I was dreaming about to contact her. Within a few months, we had a handmade laundry basket organizer assembled by strangers in our basement! Someone who heard an overview of our story build me (a complete stranger) a custom piece of furniture. They covered the cost, they delivered it and expected nothing. Everyday – yes, I do laundry every. single. day. – I use this laundry organizer to keep up with ridiculous amounts of uniforms, play clothes, sheets, blankets, towels, princess dresses and so much more. I have had much less stress because of something a man made for a stranger – all because they also love Jesus.
The church has supported us. While all the things I listed above has shown us great support, the support I am referring to here is much more personal to me. The support has been through prayer & encouragement. I started begging for people to cover us in prayer the night we learned about our kids knowing they were already being picked up from their former foster home and headed to our home. We knew the next several years would be a challenge and that we needed God’s divine intervention. Many of my most precious memories from this last year include friends praying over us, coming for dinner to encourage us and time with our friends one on one who have challenged us to follow God more closely and completely with each day. These precious friends who are not allowing us to lose sight of who God is and how clear it was that he chose us for these kids. The encouragement and prayer has helped us push through the trauma and hard days.
Lastly, the church hasn’t left us alone. We have had an incredible amount of consistent waves of these resources and support, but the love keeps flowing. We occasionally get overwhelmed with the cost of our obedience – the daily cost of adopting out of foster care is for our family. Attachment issues, mental health struggles and the results of trauma will likely affect our family in some way indefinitely. God has provided people and a church who don’t allow us to forget we need God’s help and will continue to challenge us to love our kids well – especially on the hard days.
Seeking help from the church and allowing others to love us during this difficult time gets frustrating and even humiliating. Some days I don’t want to need help anymore. I want to be able to raise our kids without the help of therapists, psychiatrists and the church, but God has made it clear. We need the church. We need people who have an overflowing amount of God’s love to walk alongside us and help us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus so we can point our children to Him each day.