I wish I could tell you that it is “easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy” (as my 5-yr-old likes to say) to parent children who have been adopted or to be a foster parent. I’d love to say that once a child enters your home either for foster care or adoption, all problems go away and it’s just downhill and smooth sailing from there. It would be fantastic for me to declare that I never second guess myself and that we are all about lollipops, rainbows, and laughter. However, if I were to say any of these things, my words would be false. They would not bear a truthful witness to what it is to be a parent through adoption.
A few months ago, I started praying/speaking these words to God, “What do you want me to do with my life?” “What do you want from me?” One morning while praying, I heard the words, “BE BOLD.” A little startled at the immediate response, I asked, “What do you mean?”
“BE BOLD.” The words were clear, concise and not complicated.
Several months have passed and to be honest, I just kind of ignored this answer. I know the Lord told me to be bold but it was just too simple of a declaration. I am a detail-oriented person and the two-word response to my prayer just didn’t cut it.
With the dawning of a New Year, the Lord’s answer of “Be bold” has never strayed too far from my mind. I wonder, friend, if His words are not only meant for my ears but also for yours.
For prospective foster and adoptive families, you need to know that being bold is imperative. It’s more than just declaring an injustice in what you are witnessing. It requires a stillness of faith AND a movement of courage.
Being bold, in the sight of others who do not understand, is necessary.
When you are asked, “Why in the world would you want to do that?” be bold.
When people say to you, “I would never subject my own kids to that,” be bold.
When you are quivering in fear over what is going to happen with a child you love, be bold.
When you have the opportunity to love on biological parents, please, by all means, be bold.
Foster parenting and adoption both have this funny way of knocking people to their knees. We fall down time and again, but we get up. We wonder what we are doing and why in the heck are we doing it, but we keep on. In the face of many obstacles and trials, we stand up. We are bold.
When parenting children who come from extremely difficult situations, we learn of our own blessings and our own stumbling blocks. Their histories collide with ours and we realize how different life could have been for us if we were handed down the same hardships these children have been dealt.
I know the saying of “What would happen if you weren’t afraid?” It’s fine and everything but I like this version better: “What would happen if you were bold?”
Since we have such a hope, we are very bold…
2 Corinthians 3:12
How could your courage and boldness literally change the course of a child’s or adult’s life?
What would your boldness show to children who look up to you?
How could you make an eternal difference for someone?
What if you took that darned thing called infertility, grabbed it by the neck and said, “No. I’m not going down that way”?
What if you become a foster parent and take in kiddos that absolutely soak up your love and attention?
What if you step outside of your preconceived comfort zone and foster a large sibling group, older youth or ones with special needs?
What could happen if you decide tomorrow to wake up declaring that boldness is the only way to live?
We are on our way into a new year. We don’t know what we will have to face or overcome as the year unfolds, but let’s live this year with a boldness that leaves an impression.
Shine your light, friends.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
If you are considering foster care or adoption, my wish is that fear would not stop you. It isn’t easy, but it is so worth.
Goal for the coming year: Let others see that boldly living and courageously loving is a remarkable way to live.
Caroline is a mother to three children through adoption, and a strong advocate for foster care. At the age of eleven, Caroline underwent an emergency hysterectomy in order to save her life. Since then, she has known that she would never have biological children.
In 2006, Caroline and her husband, Bruce, became foster parents and quickly accepted the placement of a newborn baby boy. Through their journey of foster care, they learned so much about the needs of children, and were greatly humbled by the experience. They went on to adopt their daughter after fostering her, and recently adopted their youngest boy in 2013.
Currently, Caroline works for a Christian child welfare agency in Missouri. Caroline shares her life experience about foster care, adoption, barrenness, and faith on her blog, Barren to Blessed.