For this child I prayed…

…And so it was that she, having waited long and endured patiently, realized and obtained what God had promised…

~Hebrews 6:15

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{necklace: The Adopt Shoppe}     {photo credit: Real Promises Photography}

My family’s story starts out many, many moons ago; 11,680 to be exact. That’s 32 years’ worth if you are good at quick math. I am not going to go into my adoption story in this post, but the story of how my husband and I were led to adopt our daughters. I was featured as a guest blogger over at “It’s Just Emmy” a few years ago to tell my story, so if you are interested, you can read my adoption story HERE. This post will be specific in mine and my husband’s journey to adoption, not my daughters’ story. That is theirs only to tell.

As you may know, the Dropping Anchors Crew is not just a group of foster moms that blog together. The blog is secondary to our friendship and love. It’s a result of the daily interactions we have with each other. We share in each other’s pain and joy. We laugh with each other. We cry with each other. We fly across the country, or even to other countries, just to see each other! Most importantly, however, we pray together. These women, and many others (one in particular you will be introduced to in this story), share in my adoption story for my daughters.

Growing up I always knew I would adopt. I was given such an amazing set of parents through adoption, I wanted to be that for someone else. As a child, I had everything about my child’s adoption picked out. I wanted a girl. Her name would be Kendall Lee (my Dad’s name is Ken, my mom’s middle name is Lee). She would have a slight disability but it wouldn’t stop her from conquering the world! Did you know that older children and/or children with disabilities have a much lower chance to being adopted? I wasn’t going to let her disability cause her to be “unadoptable.” Like the Dave Thomas Foundation states “Unadoptable is Unacceptable!” She was going to be perfect. My family was going to be perfect.

Flash forward 15-20 years to 2011 when my husband and I decided to start a family. I have never been set on birthing another human. I mean, if my family grew that way, then hooray! But if not, it was no big deal to me. I knew love made a family. I sat down and spoke to my husband more seriously about adoption. He always knew I had plans to adopt but we had never had a true conversation about it. He said he supported me in whatever but I could tell he was hesitant. Like the amazing husband he is, however, he told me to call adoption agencies and hear what they had to say. I did. The first one terrified us! I felt like I was buying a baby off the street! Note: not all private adoption agencies are like this. Don’t stop reading here if you’ve adopted through a private agency. It gets better. I promise! At that point he said, “Let’s just try to have a baby naturally and if it doesn’t work we will adopt.” So, we, well… you can figure out what we did. We got pregnant within 3 months. My first positive test was on Christmas morning! We both had the day off so we celebrated by going on a breakfast date, smiling, laughing, and crying happy tears. It was very hard to keep it from our families but we decided to not tell anyone until later in the pregnancy. Miscarriages happen very frequently and we didn’t want to face the possibility of having to then tell that to our parents. Fast forward 6 months. By this time we had 3 miscarriages and I was over the whole pregnancy thing. But, more than ever, my heart longed to show love to a child, whether it was permanent or just temporary.

Years prior to this, when my husband and I were newlyweds, we babysat a friend’s newborn foster son for a few weeks. It was my first experience with the foster care system. I started thinking back to that and thought “Why can’t we do that? We would love those children like our own. I have heard horror stories about foster homes, but I know we would be a great home for a child.” So, I spoke to my husband about foster care. Once again, he said “Go ahead and call. Find out what we need to do.” This began our foster care journey.

We fostered for two years before our daughters came to live with us. The entire time we were praying we found our “forever family,” in whatever manner that was to come. Our first foster daughter was in school and since we both work we needed after school care for her until we were off work. I am very, um, let’s go with the word “picky” about where my children stay for respite, so we never respited our first foster son or foster daughter, until she began this after school care program. The assistant director was a foster mom. We hit off a friendship and in turn began respiting each other’s children. The girls all thought it was a sleepover at their friend’s house! Most often, however, we only kept the youngest child who was 2 years old. We became very bonded to this sweet, little princess!

One night I prayed just before falling asleep, as usual. I had a dream that night that we had Hispanic children.  I couldn’t remember what they looked like or exactly how many children. I couldn’t shake the feeling that our children were Hispanic, and I dang sure couldn’t get the word children out of my head. We only wanted one child, so why couldn’t I even bring myself to say “child” any longer? After a few days of trying to figure out why I dreamed we had Hispanic children (how strangely specific is that?!), I decided to tell my husband about this, knowing he would really freak out over more than one child! His response was, “Umm… We can have a Hispanic child, but I don’t know about this whole ‘children’ thing!”

Soon after my dream, we visited another private adoption agency and I fell in love. My husband really liked them as well. I was ready to start the private adoption process with them immediately!  As we laid down in bed that night, we began talking about the agency, how the intro meeting was, and what that meant for us. For the first time ever, my husband revealed to me that he too had been praying for our forever family and he had something revealed to him: our child (he wasn’t saying children yet!) was currently in foster care and we needed to find him/her before we pursued any type of private adoption.

Whoa. God had spoken so specifically to my husband as well. How was I to go against that? Our child is currently in state custody??? That can’t happen. We have to find our child(ren)!

My prayer warriors kicked it up a notch, and so did we. We had more specific things to pray about now… finding our child(ren) who were currently in foster care! The more we prayed, the more our hearts were led to our friend’s foster daughters. I gave my prayer warriors this to pray about as well.

Have you ever known anyone who has “a straight line to God”? Well, I have this one friend who does. Her name is Shala. If you ask her to pray for something, you better be prepared for the results. God speaks to her in the purest ways I have ever seen. I gave her the photo below to use to pray, specifically for the oldest child. She immediately sent back what was spoken to her during her prayer:

“This is her daughter that I have made for her. She will bless her and both will be transformed into gems in My Crown. I smile upon their faces with joy. I shall be their rock.”

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This  was the first picture ever taken with my oldest daughter back in 2013, well before we knew anything about her being our daughter.

Now, at that time I kept thinking we were all wrong. Yes, these girls were currently in foster care. Yes, they are Hispanic. Yes, there is more than one of them. Yes, Shala, my husband, and I had all been spoken to, BUT their case plan wasn’t adoption. They were on track for reunification. As much as our hearts said “these are our girls,” our minds said “they can’t be, it’s not even a possibility.” Besides, even if their goal changed to adoption, their foster parents loved them. They would adopt them.

Side note: Don’t tell God “but” or “it’s not possible.” I mean, He moves mountains and He walks on water! Who did I think I was with these negative thoughts?!?

A few weeks passed and we continued praying for our forever family. I received a phone call from the girls’ foster mom. She said the case plan was possibly changing from reunification to adoption in a few months and they had been praying on what that meant for their family. She said she didn’t know why, but they weren’t being led to adopt the girls. They loved them greatly but it didn’t seem like they were supposed to adopt them. That’s when I told her what our hearts already knew.

A couple more days passed. I received a text that only said “Pray” from the girls’ foster mom. She’s still yet to explain that one, but boy did I start praying! I also immediately texted Shala (I mean, straight line to God, you know?) and the Dropping Anchors Crew asking them to pray as well.

Two days later we were keeping our friend’s youngest foster daughter again for the night. She was asleep on my husband’s chest. My phone rang. It was her foster mom. She proceeded to tell me that out of nowhere, very unexpectedly, circumstances had changed and the girls’ plan had changed to adoption that day! With tears in my eyes I turned and told my husband. I immediately snapped the photo below. I never wanted to forget that moment. I won’t ever forget that moment.

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In our state, once a goal plan is changed for foster children, if the current foster home does not want to adopt, the child or children are removed and placed in another foster home immediately. I know this practice is super sketchy. Don’t get me started on that rant. Now, just because you love a child in foster care and you are a foster parent doesn’t mean that if that child leaves their current home that they will move in with you, even if you tell DSS you want to adopt the children. Nothing is that easy you guys! BUT, get this: God made sure our girls would come to us. We were the only home open in the entire county! There was NO ONE else for DSS to even consider in regards to placing our girls into another home. They had to come to us! We had already disclosed our bond and love with the girls to the DSS caseworkers, so when the placement call came in for a 2 and 4 year old sibling set, it was followed by a “oh, and do you want to adopt them, hint hint?!” It was the greatest placement call I have ever received.

On Monday, April 20, 2015, after 1055 days in foster care and 407 days in our home, our girls were officially adopted.  The legal system finally told us what we had known for a very long time.

As you can see, our story is knitted together with prayer, God’s Words, and God’s workings. From what I felt about adoption as a child, to what I felt in my heart about my forever family as an adult, to what my husband felt about our forever children being in foster care, to what my prayer warriors felt about my girls; it was all from God.

Never before has the verse “For this child I prayed” rung more true.

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{photo credit: Real Promises Photography}

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{photo credit: Real Promises Photography}

“For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of Him.”

~1 Samuel 1:27

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 {photo credit: Real Promises Photography}

Alisha Signature

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If you would like to learn more about Shala and her work for the adoption community, as well as ways you can help, I encourage you to visit her Facebook page “Knit Together By Adoption Encouragement Trip“. Shala and her gorgeous family will be traveling across Canada and the United States of America this year, speaking God’s Word into the adoption community. To donate directly to the Knit Together By Adoption Encouragement Trip click HERE.

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The Neufelds

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About Alisha Palmer

Alisha and her husband Shane have been therapeutic and medically fragile foster parents since 2012, caring for many children from medically fragile infants to therapeutic teenagers, and numerous in between. In 2015 they adopted their two amazing daughters from the foster care system. She is a foster care and adoption advocate who strives to encourage others to step out of their comfort zone and into this world, providing love and stability to children during their darkest times. Follow her on Instagram @fosterloveforeverhome.
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21 Responses to For this child I prayed…

  1. Jamie says:

    Beautifully written Alisha! I’m so proud to call you friend! And even more proud that you can finally share this beautiful story and your gorgeous girls with the world! ❤️

  2. Cherilyn Garner says:

    I am so happy for your family!

  3. LaCinda says:

    This is such an inspiration. I am so touched by your story.

  4. Tiffany says:

    Thank you for your sharing your story of God’s faithfulness to your family. It is so beautiful. We just got certified for foster to adopt officially a few days ago, and waiting for whomever God had for us. Many blessings on your family.

  5. Megan says:

    I needed to read this tonight. We are in the middle of trying to adopt from foster care. We should be so much further along in the process, but our agency has had continuous turnover and not-too-transparent caseworkers working with us. I am frustrated beyond words right now, and I long to bring our children (I believe He wants us to adopt a sibling set) home. Please pray for our family and our children, wherever they are, that we can be united soon. And get Shala on that prayer request, too, lol! Thank you for sharing your journey.

    • It took us over a year after the girls were moved to our home for adoption. The process is long and frustrating but it is worth it in the end. We will be praying for your family. I am sure I can put in a good word for you to Shala as well!

  6. Thank you for sharing…we have our own amazing foster/adoption story. You would think the miracles we have already seen would be enough. And, yet, here we are again..with the question of whether to become recertified as foster parents…and so far, no answers. A series of events has lead us to wonder if there is another child out there who belongs in our family. Waiting on God to make it clear…and watching for His hand. What a blessing God gifted you through Shala! I would give much for Him to speak so clearly. We’ve been out of the system for a couple of years now and it is honestly hard(scary, complicated, messy) to go back into it again!

    • I will be praying for your family’s journey. Sometimes God shows us little tidbits of what is to come, hoping we take the first step to show Him our faith. Much love to your family!

  7. Aunt Wen Wen says:

    I can’t even begin to share my emotions. I knew in my heart there was a deep passion for you love of a child. Always wanted to ask, but just couldn’t hear the words. If I asked about having your own, I would’ve had to be strong for you and tell you everything was going to work out. Instead I read, processed in my own way and truly see that everything worked out. All in God’s timing as he is always on time. I love you unconditionally. You’ve given me more precious babies to love, adore and yes worry over. I’m proud to be your sister, to share in your sorrows and joys. I thank God and I’m so grateful. Blessed by the anchors of our souls, held by the hands of Jesus and wrapped in love.

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  11. Shadee Nae says:

    I know that my post is super late, but I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story. I’m currently a foster mom to a handsome 6-month old little boy. I originally received a call for a foster adoption and was not made aware that a relative was going through the process to try to get custody. I’m so heartbroken. The entire time that I was trying to get licensed I told everyone that my “ideal Kiddo” would be a 6-month old little boy. I thought this was God’s answers to my prayers. I’m so scared that I end up in tears at least twice a day. This post gave me some encouragement to not lose all hope.

    • I’m an avid believer that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes it takes years to see or understand but it’s all part of God’splan. I wish you all lots of luck. I will be praying for everyone involved in your son’s case.

  12. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story! You are such an encouragement! We are at the very beginning of our foster care journey; learning to trust the Lord every day, and looking for His will!

    • Thank you for the kind words. I wish you all the luck in your journey. It’s hard to see His plans when we are thinking too deep about it. Sometimes you just have to let go and trust!

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