If you were to ask me 10 years ago what it was like to wake up knowing that I was loved, knowing I had a home, knowing that there was more to life than just the 50ft I could see in front of me, I would have looked at you like you were crazy. You see, 10 years ago, I was an 8 year old child being bounced around from foster home to foster home.
I had to grow up pretty fast. My birth-mother never knew what it was like to truly be a parent. Sure she had four kids, but she was never really a mom. After years of neglect and abuse, my siblings and I were snatched away from the only “home” that we knew, and we were officially property of the State of Wisconsin. Going into the foster care system was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my entire life. I remember packing a trash bag filled with whatever I could grab in 15 minutes and then being hauled off to an orphanage. With only a pair of jeans, white tennis shoes, and a lifetime of pain ahead of me, I said goodbye to my childhood.
One of the most common questions I’m asked is if what the movies show about about the foster care system is real, and let me just tell you, every last bit. From the age of 5½ to 8 years old, I bounced around 7 different foster homes. It was right up until the very last home, that I thought it was normal to be unwanted and unloved. I told my 6 year old self that I would never know what a family looked like because it didn’t exist. I was so angry with God. I would constantly yell at him and ask how He could be as good as people say He is, but still put a 6 year old child through what I had been through. But even in the midst of my anger, God heard me cry out every single night for a family. He heard me cry out every night for even a touch of love. Although I didn’t know it then, every single tear I shed and ache in my heart for the hope of being enough for someone, Jesus heard me.
The day that I met my parents was easily the best day of my life. They were like these goofy angels being sent to me. They fostered me for about 8 months, and I remember one day, I’d ran away and after expecting them to send me back to the system, they surprised me with the news of adoption. I take it back, that was the best day of my life. Sitting in court having two people stand up and declare me in front of God and the state of Wisconsin that I was their child, wow. Talk about an answered prayer.
It wasn’t until 9 years after I was adopted that God would restore my faith in who He was. 2018 to be exact. I was still so angry with God. I held in a lot of resentment towards Him and anyone who believed in Him. I didn’t know it then, but Jesus would ultimately show me how going through what I went through at such a young age, would help to prevent kids in the foster care system going through the same thing.
The Lord has always been so steadfast in His promise of delivering me from brokenness to whole, I just couldn’t believe in it before. It’s like the story in Matthew 9:28-31 where Jesus asked the blind man if he believed that Jesus could heal him and the man said yes. Just because of his insane belief and hope that Jesus could heal his blindness, he was healed. I didn’t know it when I was 6 years old, but Jesus has been asking me every single day if I believed that He could do it. If I believed that He would give me the family that I had been so desperately seeking. It was never a matter of if God loved me enough to deliver me from despair, but if I had enough hope in Him. Enough hope to bring me home.