The peach, apple, and walnut trees growing in our yard are grafted. A graft is the removal of a part of one tree which is then joined to another tree. This creates a joint that can move and grow with the new tree. The new tree often produces more or better fruit than the original tree. However, there is a cost. There is damage to the trees and great care and nurturing of the wounded trees must be taken to assure proper growth.
Picture a family tree with roots, large limbs, branches constantly growing and changing with the seasons. We idealize our family trees as productive, fruit-bearing, and full of healthy foliage. However, family trees have dry rot, disease, insect damage, or have experienced severe storm damage leading to the death to part or all of the tree. This comparison of our ancestry to trees is not a perfect representation in many ways, but can help us visualize our connections.
Over the past two years we began a journey after researching the plague of child trafficking and the connection it has with children who are not solidly connected to a family. The statistics in the U.S. alone are discouraging and children aging out of foster care are particularly susceptible. Our initial thought was, “what can we do to help?” The thought of this level of evil is overwhelming and sickening. Once the fog of anger, sadness, and helplessness burned off, we tried to think realistically of what we could do with our resources, in our current situation. Since we were already considering growing our family through adoption, we decided that we could help at least one child by connecting with them and providing a safe place to grow. In order to do that we would pursue adoption through the foster care system. As we have prayed, prepared, trained, studied, and waited, we saw a great need for foster families. As a result, we are intentionally opening our home to love and nurture foster children.
God created a way for us to be reconnected through the redemptive love of his Son. In the same way, healing can take place in the life of a child who has experienced great loss. Our hope is to share in the grief and loss of these little ones in order for them to know they are wanted, loved and cherished by God and us. We also look forward to working with their parents to show them God’s grace and life changing forgiveness. If reunification is possible, we pray that God will help us to unselfishly return them home. We are still open to adoption if that is ever an option. Above all, we want these precious branches to be attached to a tree they can grow and bear fruit on.
God has really been patient as we gradually came around to this path. We have peace about this decision! We welcome your prayers as we take this step in the coming months.