I’ve known for about half of my relatively short life what I was called to do. I am one of the lucky ones, who at a young age discovered the thing in life that made me feel the most alive. As Steve says, it makes me feel like I am home.
When I was 6th grade my parents started the long and arduous process of becoming foster parents. At that point I had no idea how much it would change my life. By the time we got our first baby I was in the 7th grade. His name was Isaiah and he was just placed for a few months. His mom was in jail and she didn’t want him. The agency had someone lined up to adopt him, they just wanted to make sure that she could provide a good home for him. So he stayed with us for four months, and he was my brother. While we still had Isaiah we got a second baby. Her name was Aaliyah, like the singer. Her mom was sixteen when she got pregnant, and Aaliyah was the product of a rape. Her poor mother lived in an abusive situation, and probably should have been in foster care herself. My parents thought about taking her in too, but the dynamic of a sixteen year old mother and a new born, along with me and all my other brothers and sisters was just not something my mom could do. So Aaliyah lived with us for a little over a year, and she was my sister. I don’t say that lightly. While these little babies might not have been related to me by blood, they were family. I looked at them just liked I looked at my siblings that I shared parents with.
Aaliyah was the baby that made me realize my calling. Gosh, I loved that little girl, she was so cute and fun and I knew that the rest of my life needed to be for helping little girls and boys like her, kids whose parents couldn’t or wouldn’t take care of them. I remember reading stories of foster parents who abused the kids they took in. They wouldn’t feed them enough, or bathe them enough. Sometimes they would beat them. They took them in for the money the state would give them. I don’t know how those people can even live with themselves. But it was because of them that I knew I was called to foster care. It was because God communicated through the book of James that that is what I’m called to do, that really that’s what all Christians are called to do, to help the orphans and the widows.
After Aaliyah went to her adoptive home my mom had my little brother Sammy. We didn’t do foster care again until I turned 18, and even then it took us a couple months to get a baby. We were now living in Pennsylvania, and the rules and standards were a little different, but finally in March we got Ethan. His mom did drugs while she was pregnant with him, and he was born 2.5 months early with under developed lungs. He came to us with oxygen and a sleep apnea monitor. All of his health problems might have scared someone else, but in God’s sovereignty He brought Ethan to us. My mom is a pro at taking care of premies because almost all of us kids were early. Ethan has a lot of issues because of his birth mother, but his new mom (my mom), will stop at nothing to make him feel loved and a part of our family. When he has a tantrum she holds his close and tells him she loves him and prays over him. That’s who I want to be. I want to give love to those who so desperately need it. I want to be the hands and feet of God.
While I know the thing that makes my heart beat, I’m not completely sure what that is going to look like. I know that God has called me to something great, I just don’t know what it is yet. But this I do know, I love orphans, I love kids who haven’t experienced care and protection from the people that should have shown it to them the most. I want to bring the kingdom of God down here to earth. I am a firm believer that God has a serious soft spot for kids. They are messy, and honest, and trusting. A child can’t help but be authentic. (Except when they break something, experience tells me that when they break something they lie like a rug.)
So while I’m not sure where God will take me, or how he is going to use me to love His children, I have faith… like a child. The kind of faith that believes that even if I don’t see it now, God is working all the parts together to use me for His glory. He will open the doors, I just have to be ready to walk through them.
“We are assured and know that [[a]God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.”