Giving Thanks- The Joy of Fostering

The Miller Affect talking about what she is thankful for on the blog The Miller Affect talking about what she is thankful for on the blog The Miller Affect talking about becoming a foster parent The Miller Affect talking about the joy of fostering

Emmy at 15 months

Hi, my name is Adria Church! I am Amanda’s older sister (by 14 months).

When I begin to tell people that my husband and I are foster parents, the first thing people usually ask us is how we got into it. This is a pretty crazy story for us because we didn’t have any conversations about this before we got married. I always imagined myself with a big family, but always of biological children. The thought of adoption was great and I thought that I might consider that one day, but it wasn’t something I was serious about.

Colt, on the other hand, knew at a very young age that he wanted to foster. He had a friend that was in the foster system and was treated really badly by his foster parents. Colt knew he wanted to change that and be a light in such a dark place.  When Colt and I were married about 9 months and not even considering having children of our own yet, the craziest thing happened… I started hearing about foster care EVERYWHERE! They were talking about it in my church, and on the radio. I was meeting foster parents, and I knew God was trying to say something to me.

I seriously had no idea what being a foster parent even meant and I had a million questions, so I went to a good friend who got her degree in social work. We talked for quite a while, and I knew in my heart that this was something we were supposed to do, but I was so scared. I prayed about it for a few weeks and one night, God prompted me to bring it up at the most random time when Colt and I were getting into bed. I remember the conversation as if it were yesterday because I was so worried about how he might respond. I turned to him and said, “Sooooo I know this is going to sound really crazy… but God has really put it on my heart that we need to become foster parents.” Without blinking, Colt looked back at me and said, “Me too, lets do this.”

I think I found an agency that next day, and we began the process of getting licensed almost immediately.  

Our family thought we were crazy. No one was for it. ‘It’s too hard, it will hurt, you don’t have the finances’, were just a few of the responses we received.

Fast forward a few months, and we got our first foster child, TJ. He was 19 months old, and had been through a lot of trauma. I remember them calling us and asking if we would take him. We said yes, and CPS brought this precious boy to our home hours later.

I remember them coming over, and we all signed papers, and they left. I was left sitting there thinking, “Okay, so what do we do next?” My heart broke because this poor baby was too young to communicate his feelings, and was dropped off at this house with people he didn’t know. I can’t even imagine how scared he was.  He wouldn’t talk to me much, and he threw some outrageous fits when he was upset. It took him close to 8 weeks before he would even let Colt touch him.  He taught us so much about Jesus and his sacrifice, and Colt and I would go to bed every night talking about what we learned from TJ that day.

I remember Colt would say over and over again through those first 8 weeks, “I would DIE for this child, and he wants nothing to do with me.” Wow…. isn’t that what Jesus did for us, but so much more? He died for me, even though I was considered an enemy of God in my sin. As time went on, we grew more and more in love with him. I became “mommy,” and Colt, “daddy.”

But then the day came that he had to leave. He had a family member that was going to love him and care for him, and we had to say goodbye. People say comments all the time like, “I couldn’t do that, it would be too hard to give them up.” Well, I hate to say it but DUH! Of course it’s hard! If you aren’t absolutely heartbroken at the end of this, you haven’t loved these children right! We loved him as if he was our own child, and we grieved as if we lost a child of our own. Our family members felt the same heartbreak we felt as TJ was a part of all of our family. He was a nephew, a grandchild, a cousin.

After TJ left, we decided to take a few weeks before opening our home back up. I hated the silence, and seeing all of his toys all over the house. Then we opened back up and got several calls for placements that ended up going to other foster homes. I was an anxious wreck, but God was preparing us for something amazing.  Then we got the call for our sweet baby A, who we now call Emmy. A lot of you have already heard most of her story from Amanda. I cannot share much on here as the case is still open until we have a chance to adopt her in a few months!

Emmy had been hospitalized because of abuse, and was almost ready to go home. I stayed the night with her in the hospital right after we got the call and the first time I held her, she wrapped her tiny hand around my finger. We had a special bond from that moment on. She was only two months old.

After she came home, as time grew on, I noticed there were some things that didn’t seem right. I started asking for tests and therapists began seeing her regularly. I fought tooth and nail, even switching pediatricians to one over an hour away, so that she could get the best care. To an unsuspecting person with no medical experience, she might seem normal, but so much was happening on the inside, that could have been deadly for her had it not been caught. Every month, specialists were added to the list of appointments, and we slowly started working toward what we prayed would be healing.  

I also want to add that a month after she came to us, we opened our home up to two more girls, babies E and S. Having three children under the age of 2 coming from such dark places was really hard. I felt guilty because E and S were being drug to all of A’s appointments and sitting through her therapies. I had all three of them for 5 months and then a family member came along and took E and S. This wasn’t the same as the loss of TJ and there was a lot of joy! I knew that they were going to go to a home that could give them the attention they needed. I know Amanda really loved these two girls and it was really hard for her to see them go.

With baby A, we were told there was a family member wanting to get her in the beginning and when that fell trough there was silence. And then we were told that the goals of the case were being changed to unrelated adoption (that’s us!). I was ecstatic! I was able to tear down some walls that I had built to protect myself, and I wasn’t just in love with baby A, but head-over-heels.

Then the dreaded news came that another family member came forward. Many people on the case didn’t agree with her going to them, but the law is the law, and I struggled. You see, in taking care of baby A, I stopped relying on God for things. I took it upon myself to do everything on my own. But God broke me down. I cried night after night on my knees begging Him to let us keep her.

I didn’t want to let God have the control, because I was scared of what His will might be. I knew that God was sovereign and in control and that He might choose to send her away, like TJ.  I was so angry with God that it was even a possibility. It wasn’t until I was so broken down (and my family may tell you at the near brink of insanity), that I remember finally letting go and telling God, “I trust you.”

He worked miracles in ways I couldn’t have ever imagined, and now we will be adopting our baby A this Spring. PRAISE GOD! She fills our life with so much joy and laughter. And let me just tell you about the resiliency of these children… although we are still working out some medical needs, she is doing better than the doctors could have ever imagined, and she will likely live a normal, healthy life!

This journey doesn’t end for us there. We are all called to care for these children, and that is what we will do. We currently just took in another little boy and girl, siblings, and are really excited to see what they teach us about life and God.

It takes an army, and we are beyond grateful for the army that has been built up around us! We would love your prayers as we continue this journey first of all! If you want to help out, there are so many ways! There is a closet in DFW called Chosen Ones that accepts clothes that only go to foster families.

When we get calls in the middle of the night for a child, we are able to go over there to get some basic necessities until we are able to get them more. Ask your church if they have a foster ministry, and see how you can help. You have no idea how much a meal helps in that first month of getting new children. Or PLEASE get respite certified so that when we need a babysitter or even a week of vacation, we can find help. We can’t just let whoever we want watch the kids and it is very difficult to find help. And it is a lot easier than you think to get certified to babysit!

If you know a family that has foster children, donating money helps in more ways than you can imagine. These kids usually come with nothing and every child has different needs, so there is no way to fully prepare. If you know someone who is about to start fostering babies, throw them a shower.

The list probably could go on an on, but these are some of the ways that people have really blessed our family and made this possible for us to do! It’s also really hard seeing some of the most innocent be hurt by the darkest side of society, but those who have so sacrificially wanted to help us through this journey give us so much hope and encouragement, and for that we a re grateful.

What I also want to say to each of you is that if you have considered fostering, DO IT! Just do it! Is it full of sacrifices? Absolutely! Is it hard? Without a doubt! But I personally believe that to say that you can’t do it because of the pain and hardship is to say that these children aren’t worth it, and I BEG you to just stop and take one look at one of these sweet babies’ eyes. I would be happy to speak with you personally on how to get started and what to expect!

If you want to help, please comment back to this photo and Amanda can give you links on where you can donate. You can bring so much joy to these children around Christmas time!

If you want more information on fostering, please email Amanda at themilleraffect@gmail and she will connect us. I would love talk to you about how this has changed our lives.

Thank you so much for reading the beginning of our journey!

God Bless,

The Churches

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21 Comments

  1. December 19, 2016 / 2:52 pm

    This is so inspiring and I have tears streaming down my face as I read this. My husband and I are interested in foster care/adoption and this was so encouraging. Thanks so much for sharing! xoxo

  2. December 5, 2016 / 11:34 am

    Incredibly beautiful and heartfelt post! Would love to learn how we can help!

    Warmest regards,

    Emily & Barbara
    FortuitousFoodies.com

  3. Jenny Jennings
    December 1, 2016 / 10:28 pm

    Such an incredible family and I am blessed to have been a tiny part of this journey with you Church family! We 💜 you and those precious children.

    For all that read this……even if you can’t foster, YOU can help others that do. We are called by Christ to care for our elderly and our orphans. We need more willing families and churches to get involved.

    Please, take action today. Donate, foster, babysit for those that do or become a CASA advocate for your county.

  4. Jan
    November 30, 2016 / 10:04 pm

    I have considered this for awhile and now i will talk to my husband and get certified to babysit thanks for sharing.

    • December 1, 2016 / 10:57 am

      Jan you have nooo idea how much that helps! My sister can never find a sitter and it is so incredibly hard for them to every get out of the house just the two of them!!

      xoxo Amanda

      • Adria Church
        December 1, 2016 / 10:27 pm

        Yes Jen, it would be a huge blessing to anyone that you are able to help! Now, if only my own sister would do it… ahem…

  5. rachel moore
    November 29, 2016 / 9:40 pm

    what a great post i fell upon on giving Tuesday. I commend all you did for these children. How much God blessed them!!! I have two toddlers so my arms are quite full but someday I would love to follow your lead and do this great service to a child in need. HATS OFF!!!
    rachel
    http://www.pinterestingplans.com

  6. Robin
    November 29, 2016 / 10:01 am

    This was an amazing post. Thank you for sharing your story. My husband and I have discussed fostering, mainly because we both want to adopt. We have one biological child and we are trying to get pregnant again (shhh…), but I truly believe this is in our future.

    • Adria Church
      November 29, 2016 / 10:51 am

      Robin, that’s awesome to hear! There is such an incredible need for good homes for these kids! If you ever have any questions or want to chat about it, I’d love to do that!

  7. November 25, 2016 / 6:45 pm

    Adria-
    Thank you so much for spreading the word of how amazing fostering can be! My three nieces ( all sisters ) had been in foster care for three years before they came into my sister and brother in-laws lives, and now six years later I can’t imagine our family without them! You are truly an amazing human for opening your heart and home to those babies. Prayers to you and your family that this spring goes smoothly!

    • Adria Church
      November 29, 2016 / 10:52 am

      I bet those sweet girls are so incredibly special to your family! God bless your family for taking them in!

  8. November 25, 2016 / 12:11 am

    What a beautiful story, thank you so much for sharing!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  9. November 24, 2016 / 2:12 am

    This post touched my heart so much Adria! I’m tearing up as I type. So thankful to have met you and Amanda. I will continue to pray for you and your sweet foster babies regularly. You are such a light and I thank you for being such an example of selfless Christ-like love. Hugs and love to you and your hubby and Amanda and your entire fam this Thanksgiving!!

    love always,
    Christina

  10. Callie Craig
    November 23, 2016 / 7:33 pm

    Oh my goodness Adria. This touched me in a place I didn’t even know was there. I have watched you and Colt go through so many different things from all your posts and stories and I commend both of you for being the ultimate sacrificial being that God called us to be. So many of us are self absorbed and never realize that such a tiny thing such as opening our loving home could change innumerous kids lives. You and Colt are a true blessing to every person that you meet and I am so proud to say that I know you. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

    • Adria Church
      November 23, 2016 / 11:19 pm

      Thank you so much Callie! I was telling someone else today that it isn’t the prettiest life, and I’m exhausted at the end of every.sing;e.day. But isn’t that what a full life looks like? We have known more joy than I could explain! I really appreciate your words of encouragement!

  11. Anonymous
    November 23, 2016 / 7:15 pm

    We are so proud of you and Colt.
    Kevin

      • Adria Church
        November 23, 2016 / 11:20 pm

        Thanks so much Dad, for all that you do to support us! Even if it means watching all three and losing ten years off your life in a day ;). We couldn’t do it without you!

  12. Calli
    November 23, 2016 / 5:27 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this sis (Adria). It is hard for me to say goodbye to your sweet foster babies, so I can’t imagine what it must be like for you & Colt. I am in awe of your hearts to serve God and I am daily encouraged and humbled by y’all’s journey. You are showing Cameron and I, our family, and especially these foster kids what exactly it looks like to take up the cross and show the love of Christ no matter what pain and hardships you may face on on your path. Love you guys so much!!!

      • Adria Church
        November 23, 2016 / 11:22 pm

        Thank you for how much you love our babies! These kids are so lucky to have Aunt Calli in their family! We love you so much and miss you!

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