Our journey, like so many others, started with a call to action:
James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
God put this verse on Adrienne’s heart to speak the desire to care for orphans/foster kids in need of love and stability into our lives.
But what would it look like for our family to live out what the Bible calls “pure and faultless religion?” How could we expand our family with an extremely full calendar of work, homeschooling, drums, piano, babysitting, and travel sports?
Our kids (ages 8, 10, 12, and 14 at the time) were on board quickly – even after discussions of all that could be required of them. I knew that fostering and adopting were powerful examples of God’s love and that they were noble and very worthwhile pursuits. But I contemplated all the significant life-altering implications that would result from following this call and opening our home. This was not a decision made quickly or lightly.
Then I learned:
- Mississippi Department of Child Protective Services (MDCPS) frequently has a tough time finding placement for foster children, especially teenagers.
- About once a week, they have a child come into custody who ends up sleeping in the car of the caseworker or police officer as a foster home is searched for.
God and I had a heart to heart:
Psalm 82:3, “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.” What would it look like for me to defend the weak and fatherless?
Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the other.”
What would it look like to set the cost aside and value someone else above our selfish desires? A temporary lack of sleep and free time? The inconvenience of nap time and diaper bags? Loss of flexibility? The financial cost? Risking upsetting the family dynamics?
As I spent time with God seeking His will and direction for our family, He gave me peace and encouragement. This was right for our family. We ultimately went through the MDCPS and became licensed as a foster family.
A few weeks went by without hearing anything. Then one day at work my world changed with a phone call. Adrienne called me and said there was a 3-day-old infant who needed a home and MDCPS wanted us to pick her up a few hours later. Raylin Naomie came home with us that night. Little did we know that she would never leave.
Over time, we moved quickly from being her foster family to her adoptive family and finally her permanent and legal family.
This choice has brought incredible joy, but certainly some struggles as well. We have faced challenges with lack of sleep, lack of free time, and lack of flexibility. We have had to change how we travel and vacation. We have had to say no to many things due to the limitations of raising an infant and toddler.
These are minor inconveniences. The happiness and gratification she brings us are the ultimate source of contentment and joy in this journey. We are obeying our Heavenly Father and walking in His will. This gives us supreme satisfaction regardless of how we feel at any moment.
The truth is that my life over the past few years would have been a lot easier without Raylin.
However, despite very much enjoying free time and fun and the easiness of life when things are going smoothly, I must realize that Jesus didn’t die for me so that I could merely live a life consistently characterized by fun and relaxation.
If a life of walking with God and obeying Him is supposed to be easy, someone forgot to tell Jesus. I want life to the full, which is only achievable by keeping my eyes on my Savior and obeying Him, and walking in His presence and His will.
I wouldn’t trade my Raylin for all the free time in the world. I am so extremely glad that I answered this call. I knew this was God’s will for our family.
When we love Raylin, we are loving Jesus.
Matthew 25:40, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
Not everyone will be able to do this in every season of life, but I would love for Mosaic to flood the MDCPS office with applications and for the desperate need for foster families to be a thing of the past as Mosaic families open their hearts and homes to these children. Are you called?