It has seemed like an eternity since I’ve been able to write! We’ve been so busy with end of school year activities, practices, recitals, etc… My kids…my family…they are my life! My children motivate me to do the things I do. I don’t know what I’d do without them. God has graciously blessed our family with many things. I pray that God will bless you through our story…our testimony. Our girls favorite song right now is “God Is on the Move” by 7eventh Time Down. God is definitely moving in our lives!
Has God ever given you a word or a scripture to encourage you through the wait?
“For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!”
Isaiah 64:4 NLT
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm…”
Ephesians 6:13-14 NIV
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
The middle of February we got the call for our first placement for foster care. We were excited but scared at the same time. Who was this terrified, young man? Would he be a good fit for our family? Would he push us to our limits? Would our family accept him as a part of our family? Would we be able to provide the love and support this lonely, scared, young man needed? I went to our foster agency and there he was…quiet, scared, but curious. We’ll call him “N.” I met with our therapist and his case worker. His background was one of disaster, horror, and misfortune…like most foster kids that are in the system. I heard his story and about cried. We talked, hit it off, and did a pre-placement. Hopefully, we’d be able to give this young man some sort of stability, security and safety…but most of all…LOVE!
Our pre-placement over the weekend went smooth and we knew that placement would be inevitable. He was placed with our family that Monday and we knew that the Buchanan family would be forever changed. Overnight, we went from being a family of 4 to a family of 5! He loved sharks, the outdoors and had an opinion about anything and everything. He was one of a kind.
Needless to say, life with “N” was interesting. He definitely kept us on our toes, we revamped the rules of our house (more times then I’d like to admit), and we never had a boring day. We had our ups and downs, crazy visitation schedules, medicine changes, numerous suspensions from school, and consequences to match those suspensions. Out of all the placements we’ve had, the one thing we’ve learned is every child/pre-teen/teen needs love…unconditional love…no matter what a child/pre-teen/teen says or does.
“N” was placed with us towards the middle of February. On March 1st, we received the call we’d been patiently waiting on. Our sweet young “E” would be placed with our family on March 6th (this was the day before my birthday). It was a bittersweet placement. I was so excited but torn at the same time. I was a bottle of mixed emotions. Long story short, dear friends of ours were hurt in the process of “E’s” placement. Their family went through tremendous adversity (I pray for their family constantly). We made the best of the situation and carried on with discretion.
The 1st week “E” was in our care, he had visitation with his younger siblings and we learned this visit would also be an adoption visit. Our hearts sank deep into despair. We loved “E!” He was apart of our family and didn’t want to lose him. We could see everything we had prayed and fasted for going down the drain. We prayed a lot and stood on numerous scriptures for encouragement.
Later that month, I got a phone call from the other family wanting to set up a visitation schedule with “E” where they could get to know him better. “E” had made an impression on their hearts much like the one he had made on our hearts. We were crushed yet again. We would eventually learn over the course of the next few months, it would be an emotional roller coaster for our family. The family interested in “E” was such a sweet family. The mom was so warm and welcoming and the dad seemed very meek.
The Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend, “E” and his brothers had a visitation with the perspective adoptive family. “E” came back from the visit all excited…he had made his decision. He informed us he wanted to be adopted by this perspective adoptive family. In that moment, life as we knew it, stood still. God reminded me of King Solomon. In 1 Kings 3:16-28, King Solomon was faced with a difficult decision. God gave King Solomon vast wisdom to discern who was the true mother of the baby. All I could think was how could God dangle this young man in front of our family only to jerk him away. My heart sank deep into such hopelessness that Mother’s Day that I severely questioned why God had given me the scripture 1 Samuel 1:27 AMP, “For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted my petition made to Him.”
After a few weeks of praying and questioning God, a friend from church spoke such wisdom to me. She mentioned when God had given me the scripture (1 Samuel 1:27), maybe He didn’t promise me one son but many sons. I received vast revelation from our conversation. See we were fostering not one son but two sons and we were foster parents. Who knows how many “sons” God would place in our home. God knew what I needed to help me get through my storm of hurt and disbelief.
“E’s” visitations started out quickly but eventually had to be tapered down. “E” suffered from extreme anxiety to the point he started pulling his hair out, having night terrors, and then accidents while he slept. He loved the prospective adoptive family but his heart was struggling. He loved both our families but missed his brothers dearly. He told me over and over again how he hated making decisions. He cried…his heart was torn. I released him from our family, and told him not to worry about hurting us or making us upset.
On “E’s” last weekend visitation (we didn’t know this at the time), he came home with a different demeanor. His attitude was different and he had such peace. He was laughing and playing again; joking around with the other kids. I questioned what had changed, but dismissed it. As a mom, I was at peace knowing he was at peace. I figured he had came to grips with the decision he had made about being adopted by the perspective family. I remember that day like it was yesterday. Most the kids were either outside playing or starting our nightly bedtime routine. I was sitting in my chair and “E” came to me and wanted to talk. He smiled and said “I want to stay here. I want to be adopted by THIS family! I want you to be my mom.” I was so shocked! I didn’t even know how to respond. At that moment, I had so many mixed emotions. I was excited but at the same time I felt such empathy for the prospective adoptive family. How would they react, what would DHS say, how would things change, could things change…so many questions.
After that final visit, all visitations came to a halt. God was working in mysterious ways. DHS actually listened to “E’s” voice and gave him a chance to speak his mind. For the first time “E’s” case worker spoke to me about us adopting him and the possibility of separating the siblings. A family group conference was scheduled and we waited.
Now, if you’ve never been apart of a family group conference, its a meeting where everyone that is involved with that specific child comes together and discusses what is in the child’s best interest. We attended the group conference. We devised a plan to keep all the siblings in touch and to schedule play dates. Everyone agreed that separation of siblings would be in the best interest of all the siblings. DHS listened to what we said, made notes, wrote down our plan to keep siblings in touch, and we were dismissed. It would take a few weeks for the decision to be made.
The wait for any kind of news seemed like an eternity! In the middle of August, we received the news…separation of siblings had been granted! We were ecstatic! The perspective adoptive family would be free to adopt “E’s” siblings and we would be free to adopt “E.” I was in awe of how God had moved mountains and how He had worked in mysterious ways!