When I first heard about 4KIDS I remember speaking to my husband about fostering children and deciding together that we did not feel it was our calling at that time to open our home. We knew that we wanted to help children in the community, just not along the lines of providing a home.
We never imagined that only four months later God would change the direction of our lives. Our plans were clearly not His plans. I distinctly remember Doug Sauder speaking about a 15 year old pregnant teen that was in need of a host home after she delivers. She was brave and unselfish and making the heart-wrenching decision of choosing what was best for her baby – adoption. She also needed a family to care for her since her own family had given up on her. Something was tugging at my heart and I did my best to ignore it but it wasn’t going away. I even felt a sense of urgency. My husband and I and our children decided that day that this young lady’s new journey would begin in our home.
We had no idea what we would experience bringing in a stranger, a teen girl who came with a history of abuse, neglect and abandonment into our home; she was just a child herself, and she just delivered a baby and she was now separated from her baby – the only person she loved. Would she like us? Would she try to harm us? What do we do with her? She came with no instructions, just a shattered past and a broken spirit. We knew that the only way to guide her and direct her was with God leading the way because we were blinded by inexperience and the fear of the unknown.
This past year has been a rollercoaster ride of emotions as she grows and allows God to continue to work on her and we continue to love her. Little did we know that God had plans of working on us as well! She is no longer a stranger; she is a member of our family who calls us mom and dad, brother and sister. Even though she is a child who came with the label of “troubled teen” this did not define her. She just wanted a home and a family to love her and hold her accountable. She wanted to belong. She went from being abused, neglected and abondandoned to being loved, encouraged and given the security of a family. She is a valued child… she belongs. ~ M.J.