Our Journey to Find our 5th Son
*Identifying information has been changed due to confidentiality.
In January 2019 I, Amanda, went with my close friends to a Children’s Pastor’s Conference in Florida. The conference was very inspiring and informative. Curiously, every speaker mentioned foster care or adoption in relation to how to minister to our families and children. They talked about how families have changed so much and the need for people to come alongside and support and encourage these families and children.
My husband and I had pursued foster care in the past but had such negative experiences with the process and frustrations with their requirements that we really weren’t interested. But the desire to help children in need wouldn’t go away… so much so that I asked my husband what he thought about it. Unbelievably, he agreed to do the online interest meeting, and he wasn’t completely turned away.
In January of 2019, I had a dream about a young boy. This young boy was running up to my car as I was driving out of the grocery store parking lot. The boy was yelling, “Please take me home with you. Are you taking me home? Please don’t leave me here.” I woke up undone! In tears, crying my eyes out. Although the boy in the dream resembled my own son Matt, I had never seen a child of my own cry with such desperation! From that point on, I felt convinced that for some reason God had us on this path. I wasn’t sure if the dream was just to awaken my senses to a deep need in our community, or for me to be a part of the foster care system, or if indeed I had a son that was waiting for me to take him home.
After many conversations with my husband, we began the process to become a licensed foster/ adoptive family. We continued with the classes but frequently thought about dropping out of the process. We second guessed our decision at least twice a week. It was weird and awkward talking to friends and family about what we were planning on doing because I’m 60 and Mark is 62 and it’s like … Abraham and Sarah … we’re a bit old to start parenting again. And yet … the effects of the dream would not go away.
We finished all our classes, paperwork, inspections, and then home-study in May and we were simply waiting for them to finalize the paperwork for licensing. We told them we weren’t in any hurry because we weren’t going to take a placement before our vacation in June. We had by this time decided that we were just willing to do respite. The stories our friends were telling us regarding their placements, and the trouble the kids were, and just all the stuff … we simply had too much going on in our lives to deal with it for more than a week. But we could certainly help someone else out and give them a break. Babysitting without all the commitment.
On a Sunday in June 2019, I got the call asking if I would do respite for an 11-year-old boy who was coming from a failed adoption placement. From here, we took our first [and only] foster respite placement. Jay was a neat kid from the beginning. Eager for life and connection. After a being with us a few days, I asked if he could come with us to a preteen camp. By the end of the first week, I told the case workers that Jay really needed to stay put for a while. We were the 7th place he had stayed in 2.5 years. [only three actual placements, but 7 different stays, 7 different adults, 7 different rules and situations, 7 different everything]. Praise God Arrow’s case managers were thinking the same thing and worked overtime to get us officially licensed so that Jay could stay with us as his new foster placement.
Since the time Jay had been placed in foster care going to school was challenging. Obviously, he was frustrated with being separated from his brothers, and then moving to a new place, not knowing what was going to happen and being forced to behave socially when he was unsure of what was going to happen to him.
Jay began dropping hints that he wanted us to adopt him. But my husband wasn’t truly convinced we should adopt. Our age, my parents living with us, Jay’s energy and anger issues. How would we be able to handle all of this? And what would happen when he was older and stronger?
One day we got an email stating they were presenting Jay’s case to 3 families who were interested in him, and that IF we were interested in adopting Jay, we would need to let them know right away.
Suddenly, we were faced with a dilemma. We didn’t feel ready to adopt but we were already attached to Jay and unwilling to let him go. Plus, the dream kept compelling us. So, we said yes; we wanted to adopt him! We began the adoption process. We worked hard to complete the process quickly because we wanted to complete the adoption before the holidays.
During this time, we began discussing his name. Naturally we wanted him to have our last name. And because of the dream we wanted him to know that God saw him and heard him and so God spoke to me in a dream revealing to us his new middle name, Derek. But we also wanted to change his first name from Jay, which was associated with so much pain and suffering, to a character he had begun to admire who was bold and courageous. *Adoptive Name*. We prayed and we asked our friends to pray that he would be receptive to the change.
We had planned to wait to tell Jay until we had a court date so that he wouldn’t be so anxious. But in September, we received the papers from the lawyer and included was a statement Jay had to sign in front of a notary public stating he wanted to be adopted and he approved of the name change.
So, on that day, [8 months from the morning of the dream] we formally asked Jay if he would like for us to adopt him. We took him out to IHop for breakfast, and after ordering our food we asked.
Mark, “We would like to adopt you. Would you like that?”
Jay, “Yes! Yes!”
Amanda, “Jay, back in January I had a dream about a little boy who came running up to my car and beating on the windows begged ‘Please don’t leave me here! Please take me home!’”
Then I handed him a card which read:
Would you be our son?
We love you Mom and Dad.
Jay looked up at us with wonder in his eyes and said, “Is this my new name?” We nodded. “I love it! My name is going to be *Adoptive Name*, like the man in the Bible. You’re really going to adopt me?” “Yes!” “I’m going to be your son!”
Our family has been blessed through the process of adoption. This was a journey our family could have never fully prepared for. We are thankful for the people who helped us through this process. Jay, you are loved, you are worthy, and we are blessed by you joining our family.
A note about Arrow Ministries from Ashley Seidl:
Arrow Child and Family Ministries is a foster agency whose goal is to help kids and strengthen families. Arrow serves and impacts over 4,000 children, teens and families each year. We were founded in 1992 by a former foster youth who believe that Christian foster care was the answer to the ever-growing crisis of foster care.
One of our beloved families has been so kind to share their story with you! This was written by a foster mom who will be becoming an adoptive mom on November 22nd, National Adoption Day. Their lives have been forever changed through the foster and adoption process. She and her husband have been a blessing to Arrow Child and Family Ministries. If you are interested in becoming a foster/ adoptive family, or would like to receive more information on how to serve these families in the area, please reach out to me, Ashley Seidl at [email protected] or call (254) 752-2100.