by Heather Bock
Greg and I began the process of fostering to adopt about three weeks ago. We started the online classes, began attending the classes in-house with our agency, and checked off the first items on the somewhat overwhelming list of what we need to complete before we can say yes to a potential placement. Can I say how frustrated I was that I couldn’t seem to measure our house right in order to make our drawn floor plan correct and how proud I was when I was finally finished (not perfect, but as close as I could make it)? Truly, I don’t know how I could measure from one side of the house and have the walls not meet up right on the other side of the house on my Excel model!
During my last vacation, I also read a book about fostering and adoption by Mike Berry called Confessions of an Adoptive Parent, which I will be reviewing soon. I’ve known a lot of people who have fostered and adopted, and I’ve heard a lot of difficult stories. I know what our family is taking on isn’t going to be easy, but the combination of the book and the classes has hit me lately how hard it’s likely to be.
I don’t tend to be an overly fearful person, but as I was confronted with more and more challenging stories, fear began to knock on my door. I hadn’t fully let it in yet, but I had opened the door, and it was trying to get a foot in–you know, like those annoying pushy salespeople who won’t take no for an answer?
I started adding fear to my prayers–that God would help me stand firm against it–and He answered.
For the last six months or so, I’ve been slowly decluttering our house, drawer by cabinet by storage bin, and when I reached my closet, I became stuck, too overwhelmed to make much progress. I had been “working on” my box of sermon notes and random written prayers for at least two months. Really, it had just been sitting half-completed on the floor of my closet. Last week, though, I finally found the motivation and time to sort through them, and I was moved to tears when I discovered a prayer I had prayed before JP, my third, was born.
I was newly pregnant, and after the initial excitement had waned a little, I became overcome by fear. What if this one is a difficult baby? What if he or she has colic, autism, or some other special needs? What if I can’t handle the difficulty?
Through the Holy Spirit’s help, I realized at the time that I needed to give my fear over to God, that I couldn’t be controlled by it. I decided to write this prayer:
“God, I want to stop fearing how I will handle having a third child. I want to stop fearing that this baby will be more difficult. I’ve told everybody of my fear, and I know I need to trust You. This has got to stop now. Yes, this baby might be very difficult. You never promise me ease. I choose to trust You not to give me more than I can handle. I want holiness more than happiness. I ask for Your help through it, and please help me trust You now. I love You.”
Soon after I prayed, I read this verse, what I took to be a direct answer from God:
“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (I Cor. 10:13).
After that, I chose to cling to this verse, that no matter how difficult it might be, He would be with me to help me handle it well. Peace covered over me.
JP turned out to be a fairly easy baby, and the transition from two to three wasn’t very hard. If I had spent time worrying, it wouldn’t have helped the future if he was going to be difficult, and ultimately, it would have been a waste of time and energy, especially as my fears were unfounded.
Remembering this, I realized exactly what I needed to do with the fear hanging around my door. I needed to shut that door tight against it and turn the bolt. I still need to prepare for the difficulties by taking the classes and dropping everything I can that might make life harder, but I need to trust God just as I did before my third child was born.
No matter how difficult our foster children and finally adopted child might be, I can know that God will give us the grace to love each one well. In this knowledge, I have peace.