Asia, Zachary, and Amelay, 1994
When Paul and I were first married, a group of teens from Hawaii came to visit our church. We offered to host Asia and Amalae.
1995 (baby is Annaliese)
After Annaliese was born, we had a short term, summer exchange student, Miki, from Japan.
Then there were several years where we welcomed baby after baby after baby into our own family, and sharing our home wasn't really on our radar. Although, a couple of times, we were able to help friends out by taking kids for a week during a move or similar circumstances. During these years, I remember thinking there was nothing I could do to serve God because I was parenting 24/7.
Brianna and Lamek, December 2008
We moved, the kids got bigger, and the opportunity arose to host two boys, Yafes and Lamek, from Uganda with a traveling children's choir. They were taught to call all their host families Auntie and Uncle. One of my most precious memories of their visit was after settling them on the pull out couch, sitting at the computer, listening to them chattering quietly to each other in Luganda.
Zachary and Yafes
When we decided to adopt, we became licensed foster parents. The more I read, the more I admired families who were able to make a difference in the lives of dozens of kids who came through their homes. My perspective changed. I began to see fostering as a calling, a ministry, rather than a means to an end (adoption).
While we were in the process to adopt Hannah from China, California changed fostering regulations. Now you can only have a maximum of 6 children in a foster home. That leaves us out, at least for now.
There is, however, an exciting ministry called Safe Families that we've gotten involved with. It's a way for Christian families to come alongside parents in crisis and help take care of their children temporarily. It's a little bit like voluntary, unpaid, temporary foster care. Here's an article that tells more about it. Safe Families has need for all sorts of volunteers: host families, prayer partners, financial backers, and family coaches. If there is a Safe Families ministry near you, I'd encourage you to see how you can get involved.
Mr. Jingle Pants & Sassy Girl
On a personal level, in much the same way that our particular parenting path has perfectly prepared us to be Hannah's family, could it be that God was using those years of 24/7 parenting to give us the experience to turn around and share that with kids in need?
All I know, is that I want to be available to whatever God has for us. Whatever that looks like. I can't help but think that we have this nice big house and nice big van for a reason.
In progress shot of wall hanging I made for the sewing room in our old house.
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