Unexpected Joy – A Foster Parent’s Journey

Categories: Children's Ministries, Foster Care, General, Miracles, Non-Profit

The Holloways
The Johnsons

Recently, I was asked the question of what led my husband and I to fostering. Although we made this decision a few years ago, I didn’t have to pause too long to remember what led us to the decision to become foster parents. While there were a few reasons we felt like we were being pushed in this direction, there is one that stands out far above the rest. Simply put, we felt like this was something that God asked us to do. Therefore, we made our decision to become foster parents out of obedience to him.

We have been extremely blessed to be a part of the local church at Grace Church. Two of the core values for our church include being Culturally Engaged and Biblically Oriented. Being culturally engaged means that we believe we are to engage our neighbors both locally and globally in order to share the gospel and care for those in need. Through the core value of being Biblically Oriented, we believe scripture should be the foundation for our lives as believers. As my husband and I considered both of these core values, it wasn’t too hard to see that, for us, this meant opening our home to foster children.

For the past few years, the leadership at our church has brought before us the need for foster parents in our community. At one point, they shared that there are 1,227 children in foster care in Upstate South Carolina but only 682 foster homes and a few shelters. This shed light on a huge need in our community and began to pull on our hearts. We were also reading in Scripture where the Bible is very clear about our responsibility to care for the orphaned and vulnerable in our society. In James 1:27, God tells us that pure and genuine religion means caring for orphans and widows in their distress.

After leaving church on a few occasions, we both felt a sense of God nudging us in the direction of fostering. With the present need for foster parents and the scriptures being pretty clear to us, we prayed about what we could do to help. We felt like we had been blessed with some extra margin of time and resources, so we believed God might be asking us to engage and care for children in our local community through fostering.  We began to pursue it by attending an informational meeting at church where they were going to be sharing more about how to become involved. At that meeting, it became very clear to us to move in this area of getting our license.

It was extremely important that my husband and I felt confident that this was something God was asking of us because the next 12 months or so were frustrating at times and required a lot of patience as we moved through the process of being licensed by the state. If both of us weren’t confident, it would have been easy to give up and walk away from the process. We encountered things like not having the correct size windows according to code all the way to my not having fingerprints that were identifiable (that is another story for another day!). Also, we started the process with one agency (the agency that was at the first informational meeting we attended) and then stopped pursuing it for a few months while we moved to a new home. So, when we started the process over, a friend at church recommended Miracle Hill Foster Care. We began talking with Miracle Hill about helping us get licensed.

My husband and I both agree that this is probably one of the most beneficial parts of the entire fostering experience for us. It was a surprise blessing that we stopped and restarted the process because it meant that we were able to get licensed with the help of Miracle Hill Foster Care. Throughout the licensing process and the child placement process, we know that it has been a much easier experience with Miracle Hill at our side. First of all, having a licensing worker who is knowledgeable about the system and how it works is a huge support. Next, having someone who we know genuinely knows and cares for us throughout the whole time is invaluable. Our Miracle Hill licensing worker shows up at all the court trials, Foster Care Review Board meetings, and comes to visit us in our home. We consider ourselves to be blessed by having someone like this in our life. We have talked with other foster parents who don’t have this same support.  We don’t know how we would have survived without our licensing worker, Becki Clouse. She has been such a benefit to us on so many occasions over the past couple of years.

If you are someone who is considering fostering, I would encourage you to move and take a step in that direction. I would be more than happy to talk with you in more detail about our experience as this is an area that God has grown my love and passion for, so I love talking with others about it. I would encourage you to find a place where there is more information being shared, and just go and listen. We believe whether you eventually think this is what God is asking you to do or if you just learn more about fostering, you will be blessed. We have certainly been blessed in more ways than we could have ever imagined. One of the biggest ways we have been blessed is having the scripture from Matthew 10:39 come alive to us. The promise that Jesus gives us in this scripture of finding more life when you give your life away has become a tangible truth for us through fostering. We have found that we are filled with more purpose and life that only Jesus can give as a result of fostering. God has given us more joy than I could have ever asked for through this experience.

Post submitted by Amy Johnson. Amy can be reached at holloway.amy@gmail.com