In May of 2008, the Lord took us on a journey that we never expected. After having two daughters by birth and adopting our son, my husband, Clint and I began our second adoption journey. Our plan was to adopt a healthy infant. Little did we know that God had something very different in store for us.
I will never forget the phone call I received from my sister. She told me about a baby girl born with Down’s Syndrome that needed a forever family. I became overwhelmed, even scared at the thought that maybe we were to be that family, as we had never considered special needs. But the Lord changed our hearts and we stepped forward in hopes of adopting her.
The morning that we were to find out if she would be ours, my stomach was full of butterflies. I put on a new shirt and started doing my hair as I realized I might be meeting my baby girl that day! The call came and my dreams were dashed when I found out that another family would be adopting her instead. As I fell on my bed in sobs, I called my husband and said, “Come home now, I need you.”
There were other times after that where my hopes of adoption didn‘t happen. Six months later, we were waiting to hear from our caseworker again, hoping this would be our time. I couldn’t stop the tears that flowed when the email came through with another rejection. When my husband asked me if I needed him, I shook my head and told Him, “I just need to be with Jesus right now.” Falling on my bed devastated, weak, and emotionally drained, I begged the Lord for His perspective. I couldn’t begin to understand why He continued to say “not yet.” God was doing something far greater than I could understand at the time and as I cried into my pillow, I remembered the last time this happened and my first thought had been “I need my husband.” This time, however, my first thought was, “I need my Jesus.” This comforted me. With His new perspective, I began to see the treasures in my waiting season.
A few weeks later we were waiting on another call. This time everything felt a little bit different. I had a sense of expectation that I couldn’t shake and so with trembling faith, I allowed myself to believe that this child was ours. It just felt so right.
Returning home from grocery shopping, with bags still on my kitchen floor, I sat down to quickly check my email. My heart started pounding when I saw the email from my caseworker. But then it sank as I read the words, “She chose another family.” I fell on my knees and just begged God to again give me His perspective. I cried out to Him wanting to understand why He put this desire in my heart. In my despair, He answered me. It was as if he tenderly held my face in His hands and said, “It’s not about you.”
I felt Him say, “It’s not about bringing a child into your family, it’s about bringing your family to a child.” During this time, we became aware of older children waiting to be adopted. My dreams of adopting an infant seemed to be slipping away but God was opening our hearts to something we had never considered: foster care.
We became aware of children in the foster care system, over 400,000 of them, and this prompted us to action. With my kids in tow, I walked into our local foster care agency to find out more. It was there that I saw the rooms where children, after being removed from their homes, waited for a foster home to be located. I was horrified to see old, junky toys, weathered books and hard furniture. Nothing looked friendly or welcoming. I left that office with a fire in my belly to make a difference. Soon after, we gathered a group of volunteers to makeover those rooms and then we did the same thing at another agency in town. It was an incredible experience watching the Body of Christ come together and serve; the fire in my belly burned hotter.
Time went by and we enrolled in foster care training classes still unsure of what God had in store but two days after finishing those classes, we received another call. This time, we were being asked to take in two little brothers who needed a foster home and we said, “Absolutely!” Five months later, their sister joined our ever-growing clan and our little family of five grew into a much bigger family of eight. Our kids ranged in age from one to eight years old!
Life turned upside down after that! With our three new additions came difficult challenges and times we thought, “Why are we doing this?” But through it all, our eyes were opened to the incredible needs of the foster care community and I kept thinking things like, “More people need to be aware!” or “How can we get the Body of Christ engaged?” I was seeing pieces of a puzzle but I didn’t know how they all fit together. In April, 2011, the Lord put those pieces together and gave me His vision and The Forgotten Initiative, a ministry dedicated to bringing joy and purpose to the foster care community, was born.
To follow Jami’s personal blog: visit www.lifewithapersonalgod.blogspot.com
In August 2011, Clint and Jami’s three little ones became available for adoption and in July 2012, they became a forever family!