Hi, I am Melissa. I am a wife to Justin, and a mom to two littles. I have a daughter Lannie and a son Nash. My children have joined our family through foster care and adoption. I would like to give you a little overview glimpse into our journey of how we built our family. So, here's our story.
Justin and I faced several years with unexplained infertility, where the doctors were puzzled why the process, of getting pregnant, was not working. The doctors kept saying all our testing went well, and I was taking some fertility meds with no success.
In the beginning of 2015, God reminded me the desire that had been born in my heart as a teenager for adoption. In my mind, I had always wanted to adopt, perhaps, after having biological children. Isn’t it funny how our plans, are not God’s plans for our life? I found this precious video online of a local family, and their adoption story. So I mentioned adoption to Justin. He flat out shot the idea down, and said "No." I knew there was no way I could change his mind; it was set in stone and he did not want to adopt. However, I knew that God could change his heart. I begin to pray, harder than I had prayed for anything in my life before. I just knew I wanted to be a mom; however, God wanted to make that a reality.
The very next day Justin causally mentioned he had looked at some adoption sites. I was blown away at how quick God was working on his heart, but I did not tell Justin of my prayer. Within the next week's time, God had completely done a 360 degree turn on Justin’s heart. He was on board with the game plan for adoption. We went to a local meeting on adoption and left discouraged after hearing the process and cost of private adoption. Justin reminded me that I had a friend working for our local department of social services office, and she was frequently taking children to the lower part of our state to find a foster home. There was such a great need for more foster homes in our local town. Justin thought we should become foster parents and adopt through foster care. I was terrified and asked (the same questions everyone considering foster care asks), “What if we become too attached?” and “How will we say goodbye?” (The truth is, if you're asking these questions, you've already met the first criteria to being a foster parent.)
We set up a dinner with my friend to pick her brain. I wanted to know it all- the good, the bad, and the ugly of foster care, from her perspective. We left that dinner encouraged and with a clear path God was leading us down.
Justin was the driving force for getting all our paperwork done and initial training scheduled. We went through the licenses process in about 3 months’ time. We became officially licensed foster parents in October 2015. Our first placement came 3 days after we were licensed and was a 2-month-old baby girl. We were head over heels in love. We knew we needed to foster first, but our end goal was adoption, to build our family. At first it looked like our first placement might be headed to adoption, but then that quickly changed. You see, with foster care, you almost must take things with a grain of salt per-say, especially at first.
We quickly realized we would have baby girl for a few months, before she would transition home through a goal called reunification. I instantly went into the stages of grief and found myself bargaining with God. I wanted to keep her forever, because she was the sweetest little baby. The week before Easter, we found out she would go home for a visit on Easter weekend. And then, the next weekend she would go home forever.
We had that sweet baby just shy of 6 months. When she left, I took every single baby item in our house, and closed it into our nursery. I gave myself a rule- I was only allowed to cry in the shower. Because, physically it felt like we were mourning a death in our family, when she left. (That's what losing a child feels like, right?) It was the strangest feeling to be parents to a baby one moment, and the next moment it was back to just the two of us.
Within three weeks, we got a phone call on tax day that there was a new born baby girl that needed a home. We quickly accepted the placement from DSS and eagerly awaited the call to bring her home from the hospital. In this same time frame, we had stumbled into a new church that Easter. We instantly felt God doing a work in our heart through our new church. We quickly joined the Capstone Church family and felt at home. One of the missions Capstone embodies, is to serve the foster care system by being the hands and feet of Jesus. Our view on being foster parents changed from being goal focused on adopting to grow our family, to simply serving the children in foster care.
We brought Lannie home from the hospital at just 3 days old. One of our initial concerns was how would we manage childcare until we reached the 6-week mark, when a child can go to daycare. God had formed a plan before us for this too, and my sister was able to stay home with Lannie until she was 9 months old. Lannie’s adoption was finalized when she was just 9 months old, and we put our home on the hold list with DSS.
When Lannie was 14 months old, Justin and I both felt God asking us to open our home back up for a new placement. When we called the licensing worker on that Wednesday, she informed me there was no babies at this time, only toddlers. I quickly turned down the idea of another toddler and said "If you get a baby call us."
That Friday, the phone rang and there was a 2-week-old baby boy that needed a home. We accepted the placement, and they dropped a baby boy off at our house that Friday afternoon. It was a holiday weekend, and I was not even home from work when he arrived at our house. As soon as I got home, I realized he was pretty underweight and just looked more skeletal like. As soon as our pediatrician opened that Monday morning, we were calling for the first appointment available. Our little guy was under 6 lbs. and looked so thin. The pediatrician office said we needed to wake him every 2 hours, to make sure he was eating. This was the start of twice weekly pediatrician office visits for weight checks for a few weeks. There is just no exhaustion like working full time, having a 14-month-old, and a newborn that is hardly getting any sleep. This was the start of survival mode in our house, and we hung out in that mode for months.
He was our 3rd placement and was like no baby we had ever had before. He would cry for hours on end and had a temper from day one. When he was about 6 months old, he had an extensive hearing test done which he completely failed. Turns out the poor child’s ears were full of fluid, and he could not hear. God used the trials we were facing with Nash, to soften my heart. God began to change my heart to realize we needed to move away from the survival mode we had been living in and start living a full life.
Part of me learning to live life, was finding a love for listening to podcasts. I quickly found some women of God on various podcasts that were pouring into my life weekly. I pretty much gave up any TV time, to listen to podcast. I was consuming them in the car, while washing dishes, and really any free time I could find. God used those podcasts to deliver just the perfect messages to my heart each week. I grew a love for our community at church, and the weekly sermons.
You see I have been a Christian since I was a child, but now I was actually learning how to be a Christ follower. As God has continued to soften my heart, my passion for talking about foster care and adoption has grown. I frequently find myself in a conversation with a complete stranger about how to become a foster parent, and the great need for more foster parents. I have no idea how long God will call us to be foster parents, but I will forever be grateful for the ways He has continued to transform my heart through this process.
At this point in our journey we have been foster parents for 3 and ½ years and had three sweet babies in our home. We still have that tiny baby boy that joined our family 19 months ago, and in our house, he is known as Nash. He has taught me patience, and God continues to teach me lessons through Nash’s story. I never would have thought that one of the hardest times in my life as I walked through infertility, would lead to such a blessed life on the other side of the struggle. I am egar to see the ways God will continue to transform my heart, and how He would continue our family tree.
a loving momma- always in waiting,
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