Foster care and child advocacy. I wrote the words on my card and turned it in. We were discussing goals and dreams while reading Jennie Allen’s Restless. These words were a part of my soul I hadn’t shared with much of anyone. Words I’d heard so clearly spoken to me that summer. As I sat in life group that night, listening to everyone share their dreams, I felt my stomach clench slightly as mine was read. And I knew this was something I truly wanted to do at an appointed time.

Two significant things happened prior to that night, the first of which I’ve already mentioned. I met and fell in love with a girl who served as a library aide. In her 15 years, she’d seen more than she should have. Her mother passed away when my student was only 8, and she never knew her father. I spent a lot of time that year with this girl, listening to her talk about living with her 21 year old sister, having to stay up late to to be a mother to her niece and nephew, wondering when their food stamps would come in so they could buy some meat. Her world was so broken, yet she had this spirit about her that made me think she would do big things someday. Despite her brokenness, she made straight As, served on Student Council, was voted to speak at the CIS banquet, and participated in school activities. A model student, whom her teachers all adored. Those moments spent with her in my office broke my heart into a thousand pieces every time. After meeting her brother, I fell in love with him, too. And I asked my husband if we could take them home, knowing full well they were under guardianship of their sister and not up for adoption.

One Thursday, Carl came to eat lunch with me and found me in my office talking to a tear-stained girl. He knew immediately who she was because I’d talked about her so many times. His heart broke for her, too, as we listened to her talk about the pressure to attend a charter school so she could get a job and help her family. He asked me that night what it would take to adopt them. I told him they weren’t up for adoption, but others just like them were in need of homes and families, people to tell them they mattered. “We should think about going into foster care someday,” I finished.

Since then we’ve had many conversations about what the future holds for our family. I still hear foster care spoken to me time and again. It’s a step we know lies ahead, but we’re waiting on the when. See, we’ve been hearing a few things, and we’re still trying to figure out the starting point. We rest assured knowing God has exciting things in store for our family, and we can’t wait to see how big he shows up!