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The Unexpected Gift of Foster Care

The Unexpected Gift of Foster Care

Posted on November 07, 2017 by Coreen Thomason

My husband and I recently opened up our home to a five-year-old girl. It’s been surprising, challenging, rewarding—and one of the last things we ever expected to do. But let me back up.

For years I found myself walking through life in a haze with no clear understanding of why things were happening the way they were. I desperately wished I could connect the dots of my life and see what the picture was supposed to be. I wanted to play my life backward, just to catch a glimpse of what I could expect. Because things were not going according to plan.

At the center of all of this confusion and frustration was one little word and one big, life-altering struggle: infertility.

Struggling With Infertility

Over the past six years of this journey, infertility has become a struggle that I’ve just learned to live with. On bad days I question why it was given to me and how I can continue living this way. But on good days, I’m grateful, if only because it helps me celebrate what I do have and walk alongside others who are faced with the same challenge.

It has been a stretch of years filled with grief, loss, anger, and envy. There have been a lot of bad days. But now, miraculously, hope is setting in, and I have more good days than bad as I see God’s beauty in this journey.

Nobody wants to learn things the hard way, but God has graciously shown me things on this journey that I couldn’t have learned any other way. Whether your struggle, like mine, is infertility or if it's the loss of a loved one, divorce, addiction, a wayward friend or family member, illness, an accident, or deep hurt—I hope you can find a bit of God’s beauty in your own life.

Finding Beauty in Plans B-Z

During these challenging years, I have gained a level of perseverance that I never thought possible. I have leaned into tough news, difficult conversations, and painful procedures. I didn’t do this by my own strength, but through God answering my endless prayers for strength, wisdom, patience, and discernment. And in times when I couldn’t pray, He heard my groans. God has loved me through my endless battle of feeling inadequate and taught me that I’m enough, just as I am. Galatians 1:15 says: “But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by His marvelous grace.” In days and years of struggle, God gently tells us more about who we are in Him and shows us how strong we really are.

Building relationships with others who can say, “Me, too,” was a game-changer on this journey. I have gained so many amazing friendships by finding others who are living with the same struggle as me. God has blessed me by speaking through others at just the right time and healing me with their words. My marriage has also grown so much deeper. My husband and I have chosen to turn toward each other rather than away, and we are stronger for openly communicating during this journey. Our marriage has become unshakeable and that is something that many couples never achieve. God created us to be in community, and we’re never alone in our stories. So, find people who can walk alongside you, knowing exactly what you’re going through. Carry each other on the dark days and celebrate with each other on the days the sun shines through.

The most beautiful thing I have gained on this journey is to fully trust God. When your plan A doesn’t work out and you’re on to plan Z, you have one choice—and that is to fully trust in God. “Thy will” is my motto and one that carries me through situations that I have no control over. Trusting in God’s timing and being obedient in the wait is a daily discipline, but one that is rewarding like nothing else. He is so faithful and worthy of our trust.

Opening Our Hearts to Foster Care

As of recently, I have been able to understand answers to some of the questions, see the lines connecting the dots, and see a glimpse of where my life is going.

Last year, my husband and I started volunteering with Safe Families, a local non-profit that provides respite for single-parent families. What we thought was going to be a one-weekend-a-month commitment has turned into us opening our hearts to do foster care. We learned pretty quickly that we don't have to have all the answers when it comes to caring for vulnerable children—but God equipped us along the way. We now understand the level of love God has for each one of His children and how we can show that love back to them. And now, we specifically get to do that by fostering a five-year-old girl who has brought us complete joy. 

I believe that beauty is hidden in plans B-Z. But in order to see the beauty, we have to listen and trust God to uncover it. My story may not be what I planned, but it is even more beautiful than I could have dreamed. God loves me so much that He has given me a different story than most, and I’m truly blessed. The craziest part of this journey is that I wouldn’t take back the infertility. My personal growth, my relationships, and my dependence on God are things that I’m not willing to trade. I still hold my dream of having a family, but I can already see the beauty in God’s plan for my family through the eyes of this beautiful foster child.

No matter what your struggle may be, my prayer is that you find the beauty in it. I encourage you to reflect on what you can learn from it, find your “Me, too’s,” and deepen your dependence on God. Although we may never fully understand God’s plans, we can trust that they are good as hard as that may be to hear at times. As Proverbs 22:19 says, “I am teaching you today, yes you, to trust in the Lord.”

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