Our day

For anyone who has been reading With Great Joy for any length of time, you know that we are in the process of adopting through the foster care system. When I say "in the process" I mean that we have a completed home study, and a foster care license. We are now waiting for a placement of one or two children under the age of three.

Last month I updated you briefly about some changes within our agency. The short of it is that they have recently lost some case managers and are currently not making any new placements. We are not sure when that will change, but for the time being, we wait.

We have a room across the hall that is also waiting. We had to have a ready room in order to do our home study back in May, so it is filled with a crib, changing table, rocking chair, and space for a bed if we end up getting a sibling group. When we learned that our agency was not making any new placements, I began wondering if we shouldn't do something in the meantime. We have room in our hearts and home and there is such a need for foster parents. I asked Mark what he thought of doing short-term foster care while we wait. (I was pretty sure he'd say no.) Of course when I asked him, he said, "That's exactly what I've been thinking we should do." Oh.

We cleared it with our agency-- would that be okay, if we do some short-term foster or respite care in the meantime, while they are experiencing this slowdown?-- and our contact there said that was fine. So we made the necessary phone calls and got our names on the list. The state told us at the time that they are "desperate" for such families and were so thankful we were willing. That was a month ago. They made it sound like our phone would be ringing off the hook, but we haven't had any calls.

This morning that changed.

A placement coordinator from the state (not our agency) called to ask us if we'd be willing to take in a 14-month old baby girl. They knew very little about her, really, except that her mother was a drug addict and had been in and out of treatment. She was asked to leave her current treatment center, apparently because she wasn't abiding by the no-drugs policy. The facility she had been at was one in which she had her baby with her. Now that she'd been kicked out, the state had decided to remove this little girl from her mother. They wanted to know... could we take her on Monday? She mentioned that this was a girl who would not likely be returned to her mother so we would have her awhile. (Think: months.) When I asked about the little girl, she gave me her name and said she was Caucasian, but that was all the information she had.

I wondered immediately why on earth I didn't have a manual to consult for this type of thing. I felt so unprepared for this. What questions should I even be asking right now? I came up with a few, told her I needed to speak with Mark about it, and asked her if I could call her back within the next hour or so.

And then I prayed. And as I prayed, I kept thinking:How could we NOT take this little girl in? We have a stable, secure, loving home to offer her and that's exactly what she needs. We can take good care of this girl and pray over her little self while she's in our home.

I called my mom and asked her to pray.

I made a phone call to a friend of mine in town who has fostered several children and asked her for her thoughts. I told her the situation and she said before I'd barely uttered a sentence, "Take her. If you don't, we will."

Mark came home for lunch and I told him about it. He wanted to call our agency to run it by them to be sure they were okay with us accepting this placement. We did, our agency placement coordinator said to go for it.

We talked with the kids about it over lunch. We told them there was a little baby girl whose mama was very sick and we were asked to watch her while her mama gets well or until another family could adopt her. Ella shouted "YES!" with utter joy, Isaac wanted to know if the baby would be here "all day", Isaias told us he wasn't going to be shy. (?) "Okay...", Mark said, "but are you going to be gentle and loving?" He assured us that he would be.

We called the state back and said we were willing to take her. We were told we would hear from the social worker sometime on Monday and that arrangements would be made for her to come to us sometime that day.

Ella promptly got up from the table to go "clean up the baby's room". It has become a playroom of sorts, so she busied herself cleaning up the extra toys, changing the sheets on the crib, laying out pink blankets everywhere, and making things all cozy for the new baby. (Note: this was all her own doing. I didn't ask her to do a thing. This is just my Ella. She was absolutely beside herself with happiness. And of course, needed to be doing something.) She came in a little while later to ask how to spell the baby's name. I wasn't sure, but guessed, and she carefully copied it down.

After a couple of hours, she had that room looking well-prepared for the new baby. She'd carried in every baby toy we own, and removed anything that wasn't baby. This little sign was carefully taped over the crib:

And how dear is that? "Soon you will go home but I love you so much."

While Ella did her thing, I spent time on the phone with Amy, hearing about their lives since I spoke with her on Tuesday: all of them got the stomach flu (poor sweet tired mama who ended up getting it herself!), and talking about this new turn of events in our lives.

The phone rang again a little before 3:00. It was the woman who'd called us initially about the baby girl. She said, "Guess what? We won't need you to take her after all."

I was sort of stunned. WHAT?

I managed to ask what had happened and she told me that they're doing this new thing now where they have one final "family meeting" and during that final meeting they decided to let the mom keep her baby. Apparently she'll go to a different treatment center and they (I'm not sure who "they" is. The social worker? The court?) decided to let her take the baby with her. So. End of conversation.

I walked, heartsick, to the living room and called Ella over, breathing a prayer for help as she came towards me. And then I told her, gently. "Honey? That was the lady who called about the baby girl. She said baby "L" doesn't need to come and stay at our house anymore." Ella looked stunned and I saw such sorrow in her eyes. I said, "I know that makes you sad, sweetheart." And as soon as I said that she wept. Loud, heart-wrenching sobs, crying, "l want her to still come. I wanted to take care of her. I wanted a baby." Me too, honey.

So I held her on my lap and we cried together. And then we prayed together. For her heart, for my heart, and for this baby "L". By then Isaac had joined us with questions and concern for his weepy girls.

So, that was our day. A bit of an emotional roller coaster.

Ella is doing okay, now. And me? I'm okay, too. A jolting introduction to the world of foster care. (Could they not have waited to call us until AFTER that final meeting?)

And we continue to wait...

[For anyone who would like to catch up.] Our process, so far:

February 2007: A New Journey
May 2007: Update, Our Home Study visit, Found
August 2007: August adoption update
September 2007: September Adoption Update: Part 1, September Adoption Update: Part 2
December 2007: December notes
January 2008: January adoption update


  1. Psalm 94: 18 When I said, "My foot is slipping," your love, O LORD, supported me.19 When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.

    Proverbs 21:1 The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases

    Proverbs 16:9 In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

    Lamentations 3: 37 Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it? 38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?

    It is in times like these that we get to teach our children how to take their thoughts captive and nake the obedient to truth. For truth alone brings joy in the midst of pain. And only those who know how to use truth will be able to withstand the firey darts of doubt that the evil one throws at us. He wants us to doubt that our God is in control and that His plan cannot be thwarted.

    truth is...the government is not in control God alone is. He didn't wait because He is filling your heart with faith as you wait for the nursery to be filled. And our faith grows with you as you share with us. How blessed we are by your faith.

    1 Peter 1:7
    These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

    your friend,
    Tami Rutledge

  2. Oh my dear one.....

  3. Oh, Stacy! Poor Ella's heart and yours too. I'll keep praying for you guys. He has a plan for you and the children he has coming to you.
    Hope your Saturday is peaceful and comforting.
    Blessings my friend.

  4. I found you through Still His Girl. I read this post and I feel so badly for you guys. What a let down. I am sure that God has a child in store for you that will be a perfect fit. I am so impressed that you are opening your home to foster children. Just what Jesus would do!

  5. So sorry for your roller coaster ride yesterday and disappointment.

    Unfortunately, what you experienced is not uncommon. It seems that the state (and that's about any state system) rarely thinks through things and everyone suffers.

    God bless,

  6. Dearest Stacy,
    I'm sorry - that must be SO hard!

    What a sweet heart Ella has. You are teaching her such wonderful things.

    saying a prayer for your family and also for baby L.

  7. Oh my. What can I say? All I know is God has a Plan. My heart is breaking for you all. I can't even imagine. Just know I'm praying!

  8. Stacy, I am praying for you all. Have a blessed weekend. Love, Tami

  9. praying for you my dear friend.

  10. Oh... thank you for your heart to love this little girl. I know God is so honored by that. Praying for your family.

  11. I can't even imagine the heart ache and roller coasters :( When we decided to adopt, we went with international adoption so that we wouldn't have as many ups and downs as the state. But my heart still longs to care for one or more children like those I see every day in my low-income school who need someone to love them...

  12. Thank you, sweet friends, for your encouragement.

    I know that God knows *exactly* what He is doing.

    And Tami, you are so right. It has been a wonderful opportunity for Ella to simply *trust God*. She has brought it up only a couple of times, and each time we have been able to say, "Sweetheart, God knows and sees so much more than we do. He makes the wisest decisions." And that really is enough for her.

    And for us, too.

    Love to all of you,

  13. Sweet friend, What a blessing you are. Your faith is a sweet aroma to the Lord, a tribute to His power at work in you! Thank you for sharing. We are blessed!

    Colossians 1: 3We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints— 5the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven.

    With great joy!
    Tami Rutledge

  14. Wow. First, I am so glad you decided to do this! I am learning that it is really tough (but that's okay!)

    We got our call on a Tuesday afternoon and they brought her THAT evening...with nothing but what she had on! They, too, couldn't give us a lot of info.

    They are meeting in court Monday and I will know better how long we might have her...it is looking like it will be the "months" and not the "weeks".

    I will be praying that God will bring exactally the child He wants in your home!

  15. Oh, sweet Stacy. I am so sorry. I'm crying for you and tender little Ella. It just wouldn't hurt quite so much if your little girl wasn't hurting so much, I bet.

    He knows the plans He has for you! I can't wait to find out what they are. :)

    Btw, you are awfully good at taking us on the same roller coaster ride when you write. Ugh.

    Love you so. Thanks for your email, too. I printed it out for to take with me today. Could it have been any more accurate??

  16. Continuing to pray that the Lord will put just the right little one(s) in your family in His time.

  17. Hi Stacy :) A willing heart - what can the Father not do with that? Still looking forward with you with great hope (and joy!).

    What a precious chapter to add to the story of the life of your family - love and joy and preparing and ready, open hearts.

    I am praying with you and for you. And sending hugs with love, Q

  18. Hi Stacy,
    This happened to us about six or seven times before we got our little boys. I had actually just called our agency to tell them we didn't want to do this anymore, because I was so tired of the roller coaster. A week later we got a call. Would we please take these boys? We promise they will come to you if you take them. So we did and here we are 2 years later with two little boys (and now their five siblings) who were only supposed to be with us for a few months. All this after about a year of up and downs. This doesn't make it easier except that I hope it helps to see at least one story of where we have begun to see the bigger picture of what God had in store. Blessings and comfort to you.


  19. Stacy, I'm so sorry you had to go through this. I'm praying for your family and for healing for sweet Ella's heart.

    I am thankful that now we all know how to pray for dear little Baby "L", and her mother as well. May God bring redemption to this situation as He answers the prayers of His faithful ones on behalf of this little girl.

  20. Stacy,
    I'm so sorry for this letdown. There are so many things wrong with "the system", and I so wish I knew how to make an impact on ANY of it. Your children have the most precious hearts - you are doing such a wonderful job raising them.

    Foster care! What an adventure! Bless you for doing that. It's not easy but it's so important.

    We did respite care for a pair of brothers for one long weekend before Sam came home (our first parenting experience!)

    I can't wait to see what God has in store for your family. GREAT THINGS, no doubt!

  21. (((((((((((((((HUG)))))))))))))))))


    Oh Stacy;

    My heart aches with you and Ella-stand your ground and know that God indeed does have a plan. He is able and faithful to complete the good work to which He has called you.

    Wish I could hold you and tell you that I love you.

    Know that I am praying for you and your family.

    So sorry-keep your heart soft and know that many are holding you up.


    mama to 6
    one homemade and 5 adopted

  22. Unbelievable. I can't imagine what you guys felt because as I was reading it, I felt like I was on an emotional r'coaster! And that's just ME!!

    God knows though. And I pray he uses this to prime your heartpump in preparation for what HE has just around the corner. HUGS!

  23. Oh Stacy your post made me cry. What a sweet sister Ella is and what a tender heart! I pray that God will send you another baby very soon!!


  24. Stacy,
    I am just reading this Sunday evening, thinking the whole time that you have to be so excited for tommorrow morning to come...and then...that awful call! I am so, so sorry, my heart aches for all of you. I will keep you in my prayers.

  25. I'm so sorry. That about had me crying- for joy and then sadness. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  26. How are you today?? Lots of love and lots of prayers!!

  27. Stacy,
    What I'm thinking right now is how God used this experience, though so hard for your family, to quickly open your hearts in love to two perfect strangers - a little girl and her drug-addicted mommy - both of whom need intense prayer intercession right now. So even though this little baby girl isn't physically in your home, God has placed her in your hearts... and for a reason. Though you can't bless her through tangible care, you can still bless her in the spiritual realm (and her mother too) through prayers she may otherwise not have received. The Lord chose you and your family to make room not in your home, but in your hearts for her. Her life will still be positively impacted by you guys, just not in the way you expected. Your family's prayers on her behalf are POWERFUL and EFFECTIVE. (James 5:16) So sorry for your heartache, but so thankful for the evident work of our faithful God. He is using you!
    Love and hugs as always to you and your precious ones,

  28. Oh ((Stacy))

    My heart aches for you..and I'm praying for you..


  29. Oh, my. Just reading this post was an emotional roller-coaster... Ella's sweet note to Baby L had me in tears, and then when I got to the end and read that you weren't getting the baby, my heart sank down to my feet. I can't imagine what living through that day must have been like! Sweet Ella... give her a hug for me. We'll keep praying that God will send you those little ones whom He has set apart for you.


  30. Oh wow... I found your blog thru?? I don't know, I was surfing.
    Anyway, what a beautiful story, so precious. How sweet your Ella is. I will be back..

  31. Oh Stacy - sweet friend - I didn't read this until now. What a day the Lord has brought your family through. What a precious glimpse into the heart of your Ella. Her note was about the most sweet thing I've read in a while.

    Stacy, sometimes it is hard to understand why - but I know that you are resting in your Lord. My heart is going out to you, dear friend. I will be on my knees for you and family, in fact - Lena and I will pray right now.


  32. I just "stumbled" across your page in my blog surfing and cried crocodile tears when I read your post. Isn't it funny how you can feel a kindred spirit with someone you've never met sometimes? My dh and I no longer take in foster kids (with baby #5 on the way we've decided our hands are rather full, and fostering life was an emotional roller coaster) but I feel a kindred spirit to you in so many ways. Blessings and joy from the Father of lights.


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