My Family

Written on March 15, 2011 – 11:42 am | by dave |

My family is by no means, ordinary. In fact, most of the children we have are not even our own flesh but they are still our children. Intrigued? Read below to see how God gave me such a unique family and how this path He brought me down has taught me so much about what real love is all about.

As a married young adult, I find that one of the biggest aspects of life outside of career is a family. In fact, many people today should be more concerned with their family than their career. It saddens me daily to see how many young families have incorrect priorities. It’s believed in most parts of the USA that the man does the work and the wife stays at home with the kids and that once the father gets home, the kids need to leave him alone. I cannot accept this because I was raised in one such household where my father worked so often that he was gone more than he was there. As I aged, I began to see how much of a marked impact this had on my siblings and I – worst of all was watching what my father’s absence did to my sister.

With all these things in mind, I committed to myself and to my wife that I would be there for my children much more than my father ever was for me. As my marriage began to prosper, my wife and I were elated about about the concept of having kids. We had been successful in our careers thus far, I had managed to quit smoking, and we really felt that it was the right time to have kids. We both loved working with the kids at our church and they really seemed to be drawn to us. We were lauded by parents at the church for our devotion and our ability to teach. Yet for some reason, my wife seemed unable to bear children. We went to a doctor and found that due to a health issue known as PCOS, she was declared infertile. Despite this fact, we continued to pray and even went through the painful world of fertility treatments. Three years after we tried to have children of our own, we had come up empty handed. Needless to say, we were spiritually devastated and struggled to stay positive.

I recall one night that I walked out on the back porch of my house to see snow begin falling on the city. I was overcome with the beauty of it all but I felt myself burst to tears and I cried out to God “Why can you produce such beauty but cause me so much pain?” I began to beg God for children, I felt such a huge void in my life and Tiff felt the same way. Anxiously, I prayed daily for some guidance and read my Bible daily seeking some form of hope. I finally felt that God gave me something simple, I read that Christians are called to show love for the widows and the orphans and that many children were orphans due to the enemy’s clutches. He finally moved my heart to consider the world of fostering children. When I first asked Tiff to consider this, her answer was a strong “NO!” – she felt that foster kids would be too hard for her to give them up if she had to.   Who could blame her? Moreover, both of us felt like these kids might be really bad kids as the general public leads us to believe. Disheartened, I went back to my study and my prayers, I asked God to move on Tiff’s heart if it was really His will that we do this, I certainly could not move it on my own.

After a month or two of more dead ends in having our own children, Tiff finally broke down. She told me that she was in deep pain because she felt like God didn’t want her to be a mommy and that was something she had wanted her whole life (look at the toys little girls play with. 🙂 ). I comforted her and told her that I felt God wanted her to be a mommy, but a mommy who had a much more noble calling than most mommies. After a bit more discussion, I convinced her to TRY fostering. She relented and we began the process to open our home as a foster home. To tell you all of the details would prove very long indeed and might not be all that exciting so suffice to say, this process was a long and grueling process that took at least 6 months and mountains of paperwork.

Once we were finally an open home, the waiting continued. Weeks went by without hearing anything from our worker. Tiff prayed aloud that God had not brought her a child even this way but she heard Him say “I will bring you a child in my time, not yours.” We stopped our sadness and just prayed for God’s grace to provide us with the child promised. Finally, after three or four months of waiting, our worker called us and told us that she had a 3 1/2 year old fiery redhead girl that needed a home and asked if we wanted to take her. She had no physical sickness but was a physical trauma victim which made her a bit difficult at times but that was the worst of it. We agreed to take her and on Sept. 28, 2008, our first foster daughter moved in with us and turned our lives upside down.

Since we had no previous experience parenting, we threw ourselves at the mercy of our foster daughter’s counselors. They were amazing and provided us countless books on parenting and dealing with adoptive children, dealing with trauma victims, and so on. We also followed their advice at every corner. Sure – we have been spit on, kicked, hit, clawed, bitten, and spent many nights thinking we were totally insane for choosing to do this. But our hearts remained strong and our foster daughter blossomed because of it. On August 3, 2009, we adopted her into our family forever. Our families and friends have been an amazing anchor in all of this and thanks to the counselors, we met up with several other families who were dealing with the exact same stuff we were dealing with. Once you become a foster parent, you find other foster parents and can make amazing friends who understand exactly what you are going through.

Tirelessly, we worked to help our foster daughter through her various issues including PTSD, RAD, ODD and many others. She eventually graduated from the trauma counseling program in time. She has now grown into a teenager which is truly horrifying. Sure, there are still bad nights but what child doesn’t give their parents bad nights sometimes? God used this special child to show us the meaning behind unconditional love, the love He has for all His children. We may not always like Him, we might even yell at Him and spit on Him and fight Him, but he loves us the same and if we are willing to relax and trust Him, He will get us through any storm.

A few years into fostering, we had cared for a few different children but had not had children from my wife’s womb but we kept trying while still learning to care for the orphans. If God chose to bless us with a child from birth then we would be glad to take them. But He then brought us another challenge – a newborn baby boy to foster. We picked him up from the hospital a week after he was born, he had stayed there because no families had opened their home to him until we did. It became apparent that this young child had some very serious issues that needed to be addressed by a medical professional. We fought with DHS and the courts until we were granted approval to take him to any medical practice that was covered by his insurance. After a litany of tests and so many doctors appointments that my wife had to stop her job (he at one time had over 21 doctors and therapists), we were able to determine his battery of needs including: Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Disgenesis of the Corpus Collosum, and many other issues we cannot even pronounce. Life with an autistic child with severe allergies took some adjusting but we continued on. We later learned that this little boy was expected to live only 6 months and never walk or talk. I am pleased to say that by God’s Grace, he is now many years beyond that time (over 6 years in fact) and is able to do both walking and talking quite well. We adopted him into our family in 2012.

Only a month into fostering this very fragile little one, God brought us another child, a two month old infant who had been in a full body cast until a week prior to us meeting him. He was a trauma victim and black. We still took him as our own and watched with amazement as he grew into an amazing child who has been gifted with high intuitiveness and a relatively stable personality. He scarcely shows any signs of PTSD and has been healthy for most of his life. We had to fight a rather grim legal battle but finally God granted us the ability to adopt him in 2014. He and his slightly fragile brother are inseparable and despite looking nothing alike, are more connected to each other than some blood brothers.

After taking in three children for adoption, it is important to note that this was not the end of the line. We actually fostered over 12 children at various times and became actively involved in the community around foster care including hosting a monthly support group for foster and adoptive parents. Once you are in this world, it is very hard to leave it and you find lots of families that crave that support and just knowing they are not alone.

The most grandiose blessing that we have ever seen God offer my family occurred in 2014. Through an amazing series of circumstances that could only be possible by God’s hand, my wife and I were blessed with two biological children, twins, one boy and one girl. This was the net result of over 10 years of prayer, tears, seeking and waiting. These two children serve to show us that God is always faithful, no matter how long it takes. With 5 kids, I think it’s safe to say that our hearts are and house is… full.

But God was not done with us yet, after blessing us immensely with a wonderful life, 5 crazy children, a good house with lots of space, and a comfortable life, he brought another change to our hearts. A desire to show love to people of all nations. We began hosting international students with a fateful 1 month period with a Japanese girl that showed us how much broader and more interesting our lives could be. Shortly after that one month, we became an international host family starting with a high schooler from Japan (we wanted to start with what we know), and later, another high schooler from Denmark together. These two girls blessed us richly and connected us to a whole community of exchange families and students and God is giving us many new ways to reach and bless others because of this. We have yearly exchange students and also international friends from a local university from time to time.

My family is what you would call “Mixed” or “different” but it’s still perfect in God’s ways. God adopted us even though we may not be the best children in the world’s eyes. I encourage ANYONE who wants to consider fostering to do so. God will bless you with more than you can imagine if you just learn to trust Him.