I inherited my looks from my paternal grandmother, my love for puzzles from my maternal grandmother, and my passion for adoption from my foster grandmother. Genetics can be funny that way.
At the tender age of twelve, my mother was taken away from her biological family and made a ward of the state. She and her younger sister were placed in a foster family while their brother was sent to a different foster family several hours away. Life as she knew it changed forever.
My mom's foster mother was a kind woman. She had a good sense of humor and a strong belief in God. While we were growing up we only knew her as Grandma, although we sometimes wondered why we had three grandmothers when most of our friends had only two.
I can still remember listening wide-eyed to her stories of taking in foster children and running a ranch. A seed was planted in my heart and I knew that someday I would do the same.
I graduated from college with a degree in Human Development in 1994. In August of 1996, I welcomed my first foster child -- a little two-year-old named Andie. The following spring, a brother/sister sibling set joined our tiny family. In July, my son Quinn came to live with us. Suddenly, I was the 26-year-old single mother of four kids aged 9, 8, 7, and 3, who was also in the middle of starting a private Christian school.
Yes, I was busy!!! A little too busy, in fact. I had almost no time for a social life, especially dating. Andie took it upon herself to find us a daddy. She began to pray daily that God would send one to us, even after my little nephew recommended we pick one up at Walmart.
I had to give up two of my foster kids after having them for only eight months. That was extremely painful for me. So much so that I decided to let my foster care license go. In 1999, I adopted both Quinn and Andie, and we were a happy family of three.
But Andie was still praying for a daddy to join us.
Her prayer was answered in 2002, when Shawn and I joined our lives together in marriage. Andie had her daddy at last.
Since then, Shawn and I have been blessed with four kids whom we call ours, even though we never adopted them -- Tiffiny, Kirrisa, Billy, and Zoe. We hosted two kids from Korea -- David and Hannah. In January 2010, we adopted a sibling set of three girls -- Nikki, Alyssa, and Maya. In 2012, we hosted four orphans from Latvia. We had hoped to adopt them, but the older siblings said no. We continue to communicate with them and send periodic care packages. At least they know we will always be here for them.
In 2013, we hosted a 17-year-old from Ukraine, Tatiana. I had said that I would never host a child whom I couldn't adopt, but God had different plans. Divine doors flung open and miracle after miracle brought her to our home. We obtained a student visa for her to study here in America and she is now an unofficial/official member of our family.
In a bizarre turn of events, we find ourselves being able to host two of our original Latvian four this summer. My head is still spinning on this one. We have about $4000 left to raise for this to happen. And that would be the reason all the fundraising advertisements are plastered all over the left side of my blog.
We feel incredibly blessed to be able to share God's love with His precious children. And we are sincerely grateful for every whispered prayer and donated dollar that helps us continue to minister to His forgotten ones. Thank you for being a part of our journey. May God richly bless you!