Almost two years ago, we made the decision to close our home to foster or adopt. We had four kids ages 3-7, my grandmother was in poor health, we were moving to homeschooling all four, and in a nutshell, considering taking in more was just more than we could handle at the time.
But from the moment we closed, we felt like it was a mistake, like it wasn't time yet. In fact, we called our worker on two different occasions in the first few months to reopen, but backed out both times. About eight months ago, we began to feel strongly that we were supposed to reopen. We made initial phone calls, considered what we would be willing to take, but never moved forward, always feeling like there was no good match we were both willing to accept. I'd take another baby, but not a teenager....Scott said no way to another baby, but would be open to an older child. We couldn't agree so we never followed through.
Weeks, or sometimes months, would pass and it would come up again so we'd hash out all the scenarios again unable to agree, we'd look online at a state website of adoptable kids and inquire about a sibling set to find out it was not a good match or that someone else was moving forward with adoption, so we'd forget about it again.
Sometime last fall, I told Scott it was really heavy on my heart that we needed to open, so he finally called to see what requirements we'd have as a former foster/adoptive home. We were told at first that we'd need to complete all the training again which, once again, put us on our heels as scheduling that with our crew would be tough, and there was still the fear we'd go through all this then not agree on what were were willing to accept into our home and family. We put it off again.
Finally, I couldn't take it. I told Scott we had to do it. I didn't know why, I just knew God was asking for our obedience. Maybe we wouldn't take another kid. Maybe it was just God wanting to see we were still willing to say yes to Him. I had no idea, I just knew we had to do it. So Scott called again, this time speaking to someone in charge who said we did not have to redo all the training, but would just need a home study and to redo all the paperwork!! We were open in a matter of weeks!
Of course, once we were open the talks began about what we might be willing to take, younger kids, older, siblings??? How would we arrange rooms and what about school? And then....
In a matter of weeks, we found out about two situations... 1- a teenager who may eventually become a placement. She hasn't yet and it's unclear at this point if she will, but the point is, as soon as we learned of her situation we both thought, this is why we opened! ... and the other.... I found out my youngest sister, who has basically estranged herself from the family, had a baby and for several reasons was not going to be allowed to take him home. My Mom was going to have him under the watch of state care. Our name had come up as a placement if the situation became long term, and again we thought, this is why we opened! And then it looked as if neither were going to happen, so we went back to wondering.
Not quite two months later we got word that the teenager was talking to her worker about how she can come live with us and the next day, my mom called wondering if we were still willing to take the baby. We still don't know about the teenager, but a week later, I flew home to Oklahoma to take guardianship of my ten week old nephew. He will be with us at least a year until we meet at court again to decide how to move forward.
And this is why we opened. This is why God needed our obedience. Before we even knew the need, God was preparing our hearts and our home to welcome more, to ready our children for the changes that may come, and to begin to pray, as we did almost nine years ago before Timothy came to us, God, whoever you are bringing into our home, protect their mind, their heart and their body from harm, keep them safe until they are in our arms. Prepare our hearts and bind us to each other. God knew. And in His perfect time and His perfect provision, He readied our hearts, our childrens hearts, and our home.
But first, in the week we had before I flew out to bring him home, we had to move the playroom out and move the baby bed back in! (We had already put a twin bed in that room "just in case", so we are ready if the teenager ends up here as well.) We decided to repaint to cover all the scrapes and nicks of hot wheels and super heroes being thrown into the wall (that's a "peach frenzy" story all its own!!), and since we had been considering new flooring in the upstairs and rooms were being transitioned anyways, who wouldn't decide this was the best time for such a project? The installers were scheduled the morning before my afternoon flight to Oklahoma.
And then, the Sunday before I left, a few friends invited me over to check out some clothes...you know, a few fun girl minutes before life got crazy...but when I got there, the driveway was packed.
These wonderful women surprised me with an impromptu baby shower. I was beside myself. I think I cried the first fifteen minutes I was there and sat in shock at their love and support the rest of the time as I opened gifts containing new as well as hand-me-down items since some of the women found out about it just hours before and only had time to find outfits, toys or blankets their own children had recently outgrown...diapers, essentials and an offer of breast milk from a friend who had some to spare. My heart could have burst. There just aren't words to describe the kind of love these precious women showed us that day. Not to mention the visitors, meals and other gifts we've received along the way!
Monday and Tuesday flew by as I cleaned, did laundry, prepared school for Scott and the kids and packed to fly out alone and return four days later with a baby.
And then there were five!!
Baby Logan, as the kids call him, has settled right in to our three ring circus. The kids adore him, want to help and hold and feed....they run from the poopy dipes, of course, but we just couldn't have asked for a better transition. So, for now, for as long as God sees fit, we are Akin, party of 7, thankful God pressed our hearts to reopen, and that we acted in obedience, not to our glory, but to His.
Sometimes it's not our job to know why, He just wants us to say 'yes' to Him.