We were stalled for a time because families with six children cannot take in more children through foster care, so we waited until Micah turned eighteen to leap that temporary hurdle.
Now, we get to take Step #4!
A tangible step that is necessary and important. Finances.
In California, while the level of income is not (necessarily) an issue, the county/agencies verify that monies received by foster care families will be used for the foster children, not to pay personal bills and expenses. This is a wonderful and important requirement and one that forced us to reassess our finances so we can Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field,
and after that build your house (Proverbs 24:27) in order to take Step #5 - Apply!
Our faith was small when we first faced this giant, for we know it will take longer than we like, but small faith is enough because we know we deal with a God who is not paused or thwarted by earthly hurdles. When He calls us to action, He does not ask for our opinions or our excuses. (See the singed eyebrows of Moses for details.) He wants to see ACTION. Obedience. Full surrender. And because He is a loving and gracious Father, He uses the body of Christ to affirm and encourage us in the calling.
Three weeks ago I sat in our church sanctuary with a sweet sister in Christ, to say goodbye. She moved across the country to begin a new life with her family in the beauty of the south. We have studied God’s Word together, prayed for each other, and encouraged one another for the past few years, and have mutually stirred each other up in the faith. After we prayed, she handed me an envelope and said, "This is a love gift for you. It is a small token of my gratefulness for what you have invested in me." We smiled, dabbed our tears, and hugged goodbye.
Later, I opened the card, and five paper bills fell into my lap. I couldn't believe it. Unexpected, not-part-of-our-paycheck money.
I sat there, staring at it, and felt like the Lord stepped up behind me to speak loudly and clearly in my ear, "Do you see that, Michelle? I can make things appear out of nowhere! I am not bound by salaries and expenses and seemingly large obstacles. I am God. You - are not. So stop trying to figure out the "how," and walk in obedience, one step at a time, and watch Me work."
I continued to sit, for a long time. Praying, repenting, asking for renewed faith and proper perspective.
And then, I placed the card on our kitchen windowsill to remember that day, pulled a large glass jar from our cupboard, laid the bills inside, and ...
The Eastman Adoption/Foster Care Savings Jar became a part of our home.
(Dennis calls it an Ebenezer Stone.♥)
Basically, all monies earned/received outside of D's paycheck (child care, dog sitting, speaking engagements, loose change, etc. etc.) go into the jar. Each time it fills up we will cash it in and make a double/triple payment on a bill (car, student loan, child's braces, etc.) until we are debt free and can follow the Lord wherever He takes us in the Foster Care/Adoption world. For it is a big world, with a myriad of ways to serve.
Right now our passion is to do Emergency Foster Care for babies, but as we see in Scripture, a desire does not always equal a calling. (I.e., the Lord's refusal to let King David build His temple.) The Lord might want us financially free to help fund other families who are adopting, or start a ministry for birth parents who are broken and hurting because though their rights were terminated, they love and want their children. He may have us open our home to support single mothers until they are able to support themselves. He may fill our home with babies until they are reunified with their parents, or adopted. He may even move us to another country to join in the work others are already doing to rescue and serve children in need.
The options are endless!
And even better - our God is without limits!
When we explained the purpose of the jar to our children, Josiah, Isaiah, and Ellie ran to their piggy banks and nearly emptied them, dollar bills and all, and the teens raided their own coin collections and wallets. We LOVE this! Our entire family is in agreement about fostering/adopting, which is incredibly important.
But this is not surprising, because when the Lord calls the PARENTS to foster and/or adopt, He also calls the CHILDREN. ❤
We have no idea how long it will take or what it will look like, but the Lord DOES.
So for now - we will wait. We will pray. We will collect coins.
And we will watch the Lord do what He does best - His Will.
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
Psalm 27:13, 14