When I was 10yr old I was reading through the book of Isaiah. That in itself is unusual. But that year I’d decided to read the entire Bible. When I came across Isaiah 54, the Lord spoke to me.
“Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child;
burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the Lord.
“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide,
do not hold back; lengthen your cords,strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.
“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. For your Maker is your husband— the Lord Almighty is his name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.
“That will be you,” the Lord said. “You’ll adopt two children before getting married.”
My response was, “Ok!” As a child it seemed so plausible. The seed of God’s promise went deep. Since then I’ve prepared for motherhood mostly by praying. Through my teen and young adult years there were seasons of intense intercession for the woman who would carry my children into the world.
When I turned 32, the Lord said, “This year your child will be born.” Being a foster parent at that point, I anticipated a call for a new born baby. Working for a private agency specializing in care for older special needs children this was unlikely. At the beginning of September, with my foster kids back to school and no baby in sight, I sat down in the living room to cry.
“You said this year. The year’s almost over.” After venting my frustrations, I began to pray for everything to come into alignment. What I know now is that my youngest daughter would be born September 19. For reasons unknown, her birth mother suddenly came to Canada from the US a few weeks before Elise’s* birth. After being born addicted to drugs, Elise came into foster care. Sadly, it wasn’t my home she came to. And it would be 18 more months before I knew anything about her.
A chance encounter with someone I knew casually, prompted me to begin the adoption process with my local Children’s Aid. “You have to be ready,” she insisted. “Do it now.” There was such an urgency I took it as a word from the Lord.
My initial meeting with the adoption worker was dismal. She said it would be a year before I could even take the initial training. And she made it clear, since single, I wouldn’t be considered for a child under the age of six. Even knowing all about the foster care and adoption system, I’d held onto the hope of adopting young children – which for me was under the age of five. The Lord had given me several dreams and visions about my kids. They were always toddlers or babies when I saw them.
Her words didn’t line up with what I felt God saying – especially the part about doing it now. At that point I was working part-time at my church. I asked the staff to pray about the adoption process. Two days later I got a call to start training the next week. Everything was fast tracked.
While working towards approval to adopt, the Lord miraculously enabled me to buy a house. Though He’d never said it, I always imaged owning a home when I adopted. Looking for houses, I was leaning towards small. I ended up with a large four bedroom, two story home. In every way it’s so much more than I expected.
Just before moving, my adoption homestudy was completed. Three months after moving into my house, I got a call to take a 3yr old foster child. She reportedly had severe brain damage. March 30, 2011 Sloan* arrived. She walked boldly into my home and sat down at the dinning room table. She was the spitting image of me as a child. She talked a mile a minute, clearly without any brain injury. I was in love – the guarded sort of love that comes with fostering.
Her younger sister, Elise, remained in the foster home they’d come into in December. Around 6mths of age, Elise had gone back to her birth family. Nine months later she and her sister came into care. Once Sloan came to me, Elise would visit on occasion. The first time the social worker heard Elise laugh was at my home. That’s likely what prompted the woman to reunite the children despite doctor’s warnings that Sloan was a danger to Elise.
June 28, 2011 Elise moved to my home. Her transformation has been amazing (more on that in a later post).
Several friends were optimistic I’d be able to adopt the girls. I was not. It seemed impossible. There were many attempts to reunite them with birth parents. To the social worker’s great surprise nothing worked. Since Elise had been in foster care before, the pressure was on to come up with a permanency plan for these kids. Adoption became the only option. After thinking and praying about it, I told the worker I would like to adopt them. She was thrilled. “I can’t imagine a better outcome for them,” she exclaimed.
Her words sustained me as the newly assigned adoption worker asserted her authority – making it clear to the kids and I, she’d be deciding where they ended up. In July 2012, I found out another family had been selected to adopt Sloane and Elise. In the midst of absolute sorrow, something rose up in me to fight for my kids. Sloane had been pleading with the adoption worker to let her stay with me. I knew it would devastate both of them to go.
I appealed the decision. The adoption worker’s primary objection was the fact that I’m single. In August 2012, I presented my case to a panel of three seasoned women from the Ministry of Youth and Child Welfare. I won!
September 6, 2012 Sloan and Elise were “placed” with me for adoption, though they’d already been there for over a year. January 30, 2013 I received the court documents finalizing the adoption. April 28, 2013 we’re finally celebrating! It’s been a transition for all of us from foster mom & foster kids to forever mom & kids. I just turned 36 and true to His word, my daughter was born when I was 32. I got to meet her when I was 34. Everyday life continues to be challenging. Taking a moment to reflect, I’m so glad for the promise God planted in my 10yr old heart. Now that I have the promise, I can see how far from ordinary it is. That’s ok. I’ve never been all that ordinary.