Recently I contacted my friend Amanda (Bowers) Bowen. I have known Amanda since 2001 because her brother Matt was one of my best friend in college. Amanda would later come and join us at that college. Amanda and her husband Andy have been fostering and adopting children. After speaking with Amanda several times on this subject, I realized that she could write a book on the subject. I asked her to write her story about why they are fostering and adopting. I’m hoping to have Amanda expand on this subject in the future on my blog. While Amanda realizes that fostering and adopting isn’t for everyone, maybe after hearing her story you would consider such an undertaking. National Adoption Day is November 18th this year and is held annually the Saturday before Thanksgiving.
When asked “Why foster-to-adopt?” Our answer can be summed up in one word: obedience. Obedience to the call of God for our lives. As Christians, we’ve been commanded to “go into all the world.” What place needs Jesus more than our own city? A city known for its poverty. A city that saw a 30% rise in drug overdoses last year. A city desperately needing the hope of Christ! And while we’re going into the world, we’re to be making disciples. What better way to disciples than by parenting. What better avenue than fostering, for our biological child to see the Gospel lived through our obedience. So, the process of “going and making” makes us more like Christ, which should be evidenced by our love (John 13:35) and obedience (Matthew 28:16-20). What better testimony than literally caring for orphans (James 1:27) through the means our culture has available: foster-care.
Of course, we have tangible and practical reasons for this decision as well, which is where our (Andy and Amanda) story starts. It was time to have another child. We successfully navigated our biological 2-year-old through infancy like a couple of rock-stars, yet he desperately needed a sibling. Coupled with our hesitancy toward another pregnancy, we began exploring adoption. International adoption quickly became limited to us because of our preferences in a child (newborn), length of the process (18-24 months) and cost ($12,000-$30,000).
We began to research domestic options. Interstate adoptions had close to the same amount of paperwork and complexities as international. Private adoptions in Pennsylvania were rare, would take between 6-12 months, came with minimal legal risk (possibility of returning to birthparents) with an estimated cost $40,000 out of pocket. So, we’re left with adopting through foster-care. Outside the start-up costs (which we might have spent $300) of clearances, physicals and vet visits, our county paid for everything: initial clothing reimbursement, child’s health insurance, court and lawyer fees, etc. They even pay us, to parent the child we’re hoping to adopt, while actively participating in the 15-24 month high legal-risk process.
This obedience thing is sounding easy, right?! Right up until we got less than 24 hours to prepare our home for infant twins. Two babies with two drastically different sets of needs, with a clinically insane mother and disinterested father. Our previously calm routine, centered around activities for one child, suddenly turned into chaos of 3x a week visitation, 2x a week weight-checks, doctors visits, court hearings, and endless phone calls. Easy until, we’re utterly exhausted aftering being up all night with her sick littles, yet birthmom is screaming at us for “stealing her babies,” but we get to be Jesus by responding in love rather than reminding her she’s the reason the state intervened in the first place. Easy, until the CYS worker lies to us, then about us. Easy, right up until, we have to pack all their belongings (and a little extra because you know the situation they’re return to) and our hearts experience a loss we may never be able to articulate… entangled with the privilege of coaching our 3 year old through this escapade.
Easy will never be an accurate description of fostering, or of obedience. But a key component to obedience to the Gospel, is God shaping us to be more like Himself through the “going and making”. Having the twins in our home for 4 months, might easily be the most difficult season our faith. But also the season we experienced the most growth.
Cost: Luke 9 – take up cross; Living sacrifice Rom 12; James 1 – testing of your faith.
That’s the thing about obedience, it’s not easy or awesome in the moment, but is worth the reward. Obedience to the call of God for our lives. The demonstration of the Gospel through our lives. Our sacrifice of self to follow after Christ. Our answer is easy, though there is nothing easy about our answer.
Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons at www.cornerstoneforestcity.org. You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, PA 18421 on Sundays at 10:45 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP on iTunes or Googleplay.