Our Foster Care Journey…

Andy Layton#24forFosterCare1 Comment

Written by Jaime & Tami Kent

It was 2012 and we had just launched NOMORE the previous year. I had this sense that inviting people to declare NOMORE to things like poverty, slavery, orphans, and those who felt hopeless was going to involve us as a family doing it first. After much prayer and talk with our 3 boys who were 8, 12, and 14 we took our first step to become a foster family. We made the decision to personally own those words, No More. We have always made big decisions like this together. Inviting our boys into the process helped them to own their part to love and it grew their faith too. 

October 17th, 2013 after long classes, multiple background checks, series of prodding questions about every detail of our pasts by perfect strangers, we took in our first placement. She was 6 months old, with a cute little round face. Baby B was beautiful! Over the course of several months she became part of our family. It was hard to imagine what life was like before her. As a dad of 3 boys it didn’t take much for this little bundle of joy to wrap me around her little pinky. Even so, there was a little hesitation for me to fully surrender. I remember walking into the grocery store and having this conversation with God in my head. I was good with helping and loving her to the degree that was comfortable but to give her my whole heart? That would not be reasonable as I wouldn’t want it to break when and if she went home. “God, I will love her but I’m going to hold a piece of my heart back to keep from getting hurt.” God’s simple and loving response, “I held nothing back when I gave my son on the cross.Don’t rob yourself of the blessings that come from ultimate sacrifices.” This was the beginning of something profound in my life and the life of my family. 

Months went by and close to the year mark of Baby B as part of our family we were approached by the case manager with a simple question, “Are you interested in adopting her?” Our response, “Ummmm, YES!!” Of course we were. She had become a part of the Kent fabric and we just couldn’t imagine life without her.  For the next 18 months we found ourselves in countless court hearings as her family did their part to fight for their child. It was a weird feeling watching a family who had lost her to the system of care fight so relentlessly. 

It was a hot September morning heading into court where the judge made his decision. Looking past the room and directly at my wife and I, he said these words, “I don’t want to have to do this. There is no part of me that rejoices in returning this child (her reason for coming into care was egregious), but I am bound by the law.” I don’t remember everything else because an immediate wave of grief washed over me deafening every voice in the room. We held our emotions in until we got to our car where we cried like we never had before. In our tremendous grief we prayed, “Father, your heart broke for your son like this so you can heal our broken hearts too.” 

Now years later I am grateful for that season. It taught our family that love and loss are equally important. Pain produced something we couldn’t have done on our own. Out of pain came passion, empathy, determination, and grit. We knew the joy of living beyond ourselves and we knew the hope it produced and we wanted more. Not more just for us but more for every person who is struggling to find their place and wants to make a difference. We want more hope for those who know they have something to offer but no one who notices. 

Baby B wasn’t the last one we would foster. There were more and yes, a few more tears. But each one of them taught us something beautiful about God and his unconditional love for us. What I love about the act of adoption and fostering is that it directly mirrors what God has done for us. The way He has adopted us into His family takes on such incredible and profound awe and meaning. 

You may not foster or adopt but my hope is that you doing something that pushes the boundaries of what you think you can handle, bringing you close to the edge, feeling like at any moment you will burst. There is no greater love than one that can’t be given in return. You must live. You must love. You must lose. You must hope. It all produces the qualities worthy of being repeated in others. So love someone who can’t or even won’t love you back. Give everything you have. It is the example Jesus laid out for us and one that many have followed because of the way He lived. So don’t rob yourself of the blessings that come from ultimate sacrifices. You were made to do this and for other to see it and do the same thing. Your life has more purpose than you know. 

“But that’s not all! Even in times of trouble we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance. And patient endurance will refine our character, and proven character leads us back to hope. And this hope is not a disappointing fantasy, because we can now experience the endless love of God cascading into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who lives in us!”

Romans 5:3-5 TPT

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