Today was general conference. With extended family here as well as our bishop, Enos gave our newly adopted daughters their name blessings. It was wonderful! It made me remember an experience that kept us on the path to complete our family. One that I wanted to share.
As I was saying my personal prayer one night at the end of September 2011, I remembered a question our home teacher had asked. After presenting the message on preparing for General Conference, he had asked if Enos or I could share an experience where we had prayed for an answer or for direction and then received it through listening to the conference talks. We had nothing. So, as I knelt in prayer, I thought, “Why not?”
|Yareli's Birthday Party 2011|
|Karina's Birthday 2011|
The girls had been back living with their biological dad for four months now. We were able to visit the girls at least monthly, even celebrating their birthdays with them. I had assumed the DCFS case was closed. Now what? Do we go back to fostering? What if we were fostering other children and the girls came back into the system and they didn’t call us? Although I missed the girls, I had enjoyed a summer of personal freedom. Did I want to dedicate myself to fostering children again? Did the Lord expect me to? I was feeling a little old for being a mom to little children. I wasn’t sure I could talk Enos into being a foster dad again even if the Lord could talk me into it.
I shared all this in a long prayer. “Heavenly Father,” I asked, “Wilt thou let me know through the leaders of thy church if foster care is the path you want me to take?” I trusted He would. This was Thursday night.
Friday night, preceding conference, when I continued in my personal scripture studying, there was a verse that brought a spiritual surge to me. “…Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) I underlined it and pondered on it for some time, feeling like the spirit was saying this verse was speaking to me about our journey to adopt through foster care. Saturday morning during conference, Pres. Uchtdorf quoted the same verse in his talk titled, “You Matter to Him.” The same impression came when I heard him say it as when I read it the night before.
Saturday afternoon Elder Neil L. Andersen gave a talk titled, “Children”. Here are a few quotes that I took notice of:
From a blog written by a Christian woman, “Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.”Rachel Jankovic, “Motherhood Is a Calling (and Where Your Children Rank),” July 14, 2011, desiringgod.org.)
Elder Anderson shared the story of Becky & President J. Scott Dorius of the Peru Lima West Mission.
“We waited, gained perspective, and learned patience. After 25 years of marriage, a miracle baby came into our lives. We adopted two-year-old Nicole and then newborn Nikolai. Strangers now compliment us on our beautiful grandchildren. We laugh and say, ‘They are our children. We have lived our lives backwards.’”
Elder Anderson also shared this scripture:
“And [Jesus] took a child … in his arms [and] said …“Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth … him that sent me.”And he concluded with, “What a wonderful blessing we have to receive sons and daughters of God into our home. Let us humbly and prayerfully seek to understand and accept God’s commandments, reverently listening for the voice of His Holy Spirit. Families are central to God’s eternal plan. I testify of the great blessing of children and of the happiness they will bring us in this life and in the eternities, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
It seemed Elder Anderson did a masterful job answering my concerns about my need for me-time (Children is why God gave us time) and about being too old to be a mother of young children (just ask the Dorius family).
Interestingly, it didn’t end with General Conference. Enos and I attended the Salt Lake City temple the next morning (Monday) as a friend of ours was getting married. As the couple knelt at the altar, Elder Marvin K. Jensen, who was a friend of the bride’s family and acting as the sealer, paused briefly, and said, “Sometimes we add to our families through fostering and adopting children.” He probably didn't know who he was supposed to say that for, and hopefully this young couple didn't stress too much about the possibility of having to adopt because they wouldn't be able to conceive (they have since had a beautiful baby girl.)
The very next day, (Tuesday) I saw on caller ID that our Resource Family Consultant was calling. I did not pick up. I had decided when the girls returned home that I would give us at least 6 months before accepting another placement, if we even continued doing foster care. Nathan was home and overheard the message. There was a nine year old boy that needed a foster family. Nate insisted that I call and get all the details. So, I did.
|Christian and I, 2011|
I shared the information with Enos when he came home from work. I didn’t think he would even consider accepting, but he did. We were pressured to make a decision in ten minutes. After Enos and Nate said yes, I knelt by my bed alone in my room. I told Heavenly Father that it felt like we were supposed to accept Christian into our home. As I asked for a confirmation from the spirit, a conversation replayed in my mind. Within the first few months of having the girls in our home a little over a year previous to this, Kairna (having just turned 4) said something that implied that she thought I was a 'career' foster mom. I told her that they were our first foster children and would probably be our last (it had been an extremely difficult first few months with the girls.) Karina responded, "But Mama Deanne, you have to foster again!" I asked her why. She said, "because Heavenly Father wants you to." This stunned me because although I had taught them to pray, I had not explained to them how Heavenly Father had guided me to be a foster mom in the first place. I asked Karina, "Why does Heavenly Father want me to foster children again?" Her answer sank deep in my heart and returned to me as I prayed about accepting Christian into our home. "Because," Karina said, "He wants you to be happy." I had my answer.
Having Christian kept us licenced to foster children. Amazingly, he was able to be reunified with his bio-mom in six and a half months. Then, we got the call asking if we would take the girls again.
How grateful I am that a dedicated Home Teacher gave the lesson and issued a challenge. General Conference is a conduit for personal revelation. God is so good to listen to our prayers and he has the power to answer them. He loves us.