Jim named this blog post, and I think it is perfect for it. He also talked about the old saying, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans."
Our plans are shifting and changing. We don't know if we are just indecisive flakes, or if God is sending us on a wild goose chase. The only explanation we have to offer is simple - we are trying to do what is best for our family and carry out what God has planned for us. Making plans is a great thing, but making them in pencil is even better. We are open to change. We want to keep moving forward and never stand still.
For a multitude of reasons, we never took our names off of the Ethiopia waiting list. We couldn't bring ourselves to do it, especially before we received our foster care license. Something as easy as paying for a pool fence to obtain our license has taken much longer after many other things have unexpectedly come up.
What is also unexpected is that we are number 11 or 12 on the Ethiopia waiting list. We are much lower on the list than we thought and are probably 2 months away from a referral of a child. The changes in the Ethiopia program have happened (i.e. higher cost, travel twice, etc.), but the increase in wait times did not happen. It actually decreased. We thought there would be plenty of time to get our foster care license and make sure it worked out before removing our names off of the list. That is not the case. A decision has to be made.
This has been probably the hardest 2 weeks of my life. I don't think I have ever cried so hard in my life. If you ask close family, they will probably tell you that they have never seen me so --- I can't even think of a word to describe it other than different. Full of anger, bitterness, anxiousness, jealousy, depression, etc. It has been a rough two weeks, and it doesn't help that the boys just started full day kindergarten.
Deciding between foster care and adoption is not easy. Our hearts are in the foster care program, but I dream of my little girl. However, we decided to finish what we started and continue to pursue foster care. That was the hardest decision ever. We just wanted to talk with our social worker one more time before taking our names off of the list. After talking with our foster care social worker about our issues, she suggested we adopt first. She stated that she believes it is God's plan for us to foster, but maybe not right now. We live in a more affluent zip code, and there are not many, if any, foster kids available. DES places kids according to zip code. We knew our zip code would be a hindrance from previous conversations with our social worker; however, when we asked her if she could tell us that we were needed, she said no. Other families in our area are getting a sibling set after waiting more than a year, and more families are just dropping out after waiting with no placements.
Even with that knowledge, it is tough to make this decision. We began praying about it on Thursday night. We have had some miraculous things happen (i.e. letter from immigration -- first letter in 9 months about the adoption came in the mail on Friday; we found a way to cover the adoption costs but yet we could never find a way to cover the small pool fence expense; etc.) There have been miracles, signs, and just a sense of peace. My mom even suggested that maybe God is granting our desire to have another child in our home, and either option is okay. Just because we choose one doesn't mean the other would have been a mistake.
Anyway, I'm rambling. The bottom line is that we are withdrawing from the foster care program for now. Helping kids is still a huge priority for us, but there are so many ways to do that such as working in a local shelter. We hope and still plan to foster in the future, but right now we have decided to continue with the adoption.
We feel at peace. We are happy, and we aren't ashamed by being open to a change in plans. This is the route we are pursuing, and we hope to see it to completion. Grandma Jones, this one is for you!