A friend of mine posted a plea on Facebook asking God for a sign...preferably a billboard with flashing lights. I laughed for a split second then remembered that He had sent us a billboard once!
Several years ago, I came to the devastating realization that we were never going to be able to have more kids short of a miracle. (I'm still praying for that miracle though.) We began to talk about fostering and/or adopting another child. We talked about it on and off for several months and then forgot about it. Later, we took in a relative's child off and on while her parents tried to get their lives straight. Once they did and she was no longer with us, that void came back in my heart. So, we talked about fostering or adopting again. This time a little more seriously. I even checked out the class dates, the requirements, etc. But my husband was not convinced that this was what we were supposed to do. So, I continued to pray for a sign from God that would tell us what it was He wanted us to do.
Several more months went by, and we became friends with some foster/adoptive parents and began "hanging" out with them asking about the process. We listened to their horror stories about the "system", the courts, and the biological parents. Yet, we saw all the good that they were doing and wanted to do the good too. We ran into other foster parents and saw several TV shows/movies that had unexpected fostering/adoption themes. I read several articles that popped up here and there about fostering/aodpting as we continued to wait for our "sign". Not getting any sign, we decided that maybe we weren't cut out for all the drama and heartbreak this would entail? So, we put it out of our minds for awhile, and I continued to pray for the emptiness to go away.
Then one Sunday my husband calls me over to look at something on the front page of the newspaper. I hate reading the paper and watching the news because it usually just upsets me. I tried to get him to tell me what it was, but he insisted that I get up and come look for myself. I reluctantly got up and walked across the room. There, on the front page of the newspaper, was a HUGE article about the shortage of foster parents in our parish. Wow, I thought, this was definitely a sign, right? Well, my husband wasn't quite convinced yet. Coincidence #1. We talked about it some more and decided again it just wasn't for us.
Then one day it was just the two of us driving down the Interstate. I'm not sure where we were going or what we were discussing or where the kids were, but I remember our conversation came to an abrupt halt. We were both staring at a HUGE billboard along I-10 that was literally begging for foster parents. You'd think that we ran straight to the OCS office to begin the classes right then, huh? Nope. Not us! Coincidence. Coincidence #2 according to my husband. But I knew that my prayer had been answered and that this was what we were
suppose to do. Several weeks went by as we continued to discuss it, I
looked up more information online and even called to sign us up for the
classes. Due to scheduling conflicts, we could not make that session.
We chalked it up as "not meant to be", and I tried to put it out of my
I continued to pray for me, for us. I was really starting to become depressed about the thought of never having another baby. It didn't help that I was surrounded at work by all these new moms and pregnant women. I prayed for God to please help us make a decision---for us to be on the same page, for us to know what He wanted from us. I continued to bring up fostering or adopting, but we ultimately talked ourselves out of it every times. We had a hundred reasons not to foster, but the three main reasons weighed heavily on our hearts were our three small children at home. We knew we wanted to keep them healthy and safe---emotionally physically, mentally, and spiritually. Did we really want to bring a child with so much "baggage" into our home to possibly harm our own children's well-being? No, we agreed that we couldn't. Besides, people would think that we were nuts? (Hmmm...recurring theme in my life?)
I continued to pray for God to help me find a way to "get over" the fact that I would never carry a child in my womb again. Silently, I cried myself to sleep many nights praying for some miracle to happen. I mostly prayed for God to physically alter our bodies to be able to conceive again and have normal, healthy pregnancies. That never happened, but God was still trying to answer my prayer for a sign. I'm sure by now He was starting to get a little perturbed at us thinking, "What more do you need than a billboard?" But we still couldn't "see" what He was trying to show us. Maybe if He had used the flashing neon lights...
Great things began to happen in our lives. My husband got a new job and was able to be home every night. We had moved to the country and bought a horse which the kids loved. We bought a bigger vehicle that would hold lots of kids. We started spending more time together as a family. We began to make wonderful changes in our lives. Things were really starting to fall into place for us. I was almost happy, but still felt something was missing. Deep down inside, I knew what was missing. It was all the other children that we had originally planned on having. Depression began to sink in again when one day I get a call from my husband to come to the store he was managing in town. I packed up the kids, and we headed into town.
He beckons me to come behind the store counter and stand where his stool and computer were. He then makes me look out the window straight ahead over his monitor. My heart sank and tears welled up in my eyes. There, right in front of his store window, was a HUGE sign on the fence once again begging for foster parents! The new building they had just built across the street from his store was the social services office. Coincidence number 3. Nope. Answered prayer. Finally, he knew without a doubt that this is what we had been called to do. We signed up for the next session, attended it, completed it, and became certified foster parents.
God does answer our prayers and even sends us signs. Are our eyes opened enough to see them? Are our hearts opened enough to answer Him when He calls?