For five years, one or more foster children lived with my family at any given time.
Christmas was the time to celebrate Jesus, and having children to share the spiritual experience made it so special.
One Christmas was different. I had no children. My lonely heart hurt with quiet feelings of sadness. I experienced a silent break from the noise and laughter that I experienced when I took in these needy souls. I felt depressed and wondered why God forgot me. I could not understand why He did not hear my desperate prayers.
I earnestly wanted to have children and dreamed of having a big family. After working through the process of infertility testing, however, I realized I would never bear my own child.
I knocked on the door of adoption and eagerly applied to an agency only to find out there are very few children available for adoption.
I also knocked on the door to become a foster parent and the door opened wide.
I loved parenting these children and meeting so many of their needs. I took the spiritual challenge to train them up God’s way to the best of my ability.
I also knew that one major challenge of foster parenting was that these children would eventually leave my home. The children that lived with me for 2 years went back to their birth families a few months before December. My broken heart seemed irreparable. It was Christmas and this holiday was not the same without children!
I tried to take time to minister to others that year. I bought some gifts for two brothers that previously lived with us. My husband and I traveled 2 hours to their home to share a few moments of Christmas joy and presents with them. When we arrived at their home, we found their apartment empty. This disappointment added to my sorrow and pain.
Christmas time should be exciting and fulfilling, but this year definitely did not turn out that way.
Christmas morning we went to the local bagel shop for breakfast. Yes, they have the best bagels around. That morning, my breakfast did not heal my heart; it just filled a hole in my stomach.
At noon we traveled to a relative’s home for Christmas dinner. When we arrived, the questions and comments were too much to bear: “You have no children this year!” “What happened to the children you brought with you last Christmas?”
I bit my tongue and tried to explain that foster care is temporary and any efforts to adopt had not worked out.
My heavy heart remained the on that 26th day of December as well. I reached out to a friend’s foster child and took her with me to shop for sales on that day after Christmas. I just wanted to get out of my house. Mid-afternoon I finally ventured home.
Many phone messages cluttered my answering machine during my shopping excursion. I carefully listened to each one and proceeded to call my foster care social worker back. I could not believe the words from her mouth!
A baby, born December 26th, early in the morning, was all ours. After eleven years of marriage with five years of waiting, and almost giving up hope, God answered my prayers. I called my husband and we started working on the arrangements.
Two days later, five pound Danielle arrived at my front door in a Christmas stocking. Did God forget me? No! His timing is always perfect and He does all things well.
My worst Christmas became my best Christmas ever!
“I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.” 1 Samuel 1:27