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Fostering Hope

Jennie is an adoptive mother of four – soon to be five – adolescent girls. Seeing firsthand during college how hard it was for a 9 year old girl in Foster Care, Jennie was well aware there are children with no advocate who do not fit in anywhere. God showed Jennie this need early in life and through teaching in public schools for years. When she attended foster training, she chose the girl hardest to place.

Hannah had entered Foster Care in 2002, and after several placements with relatives and one foster family, she was adopted by Jennie in 2006.

“I was so used to being pushed aside, knowing I had messed up and being rejected. I was not used to getting attention and love. Seeing someone truly live the Christian life was a new experience. On a really bad day, I was reminded ‘I love you because God gave you to me.’ At our house, every day is a new day, and we can begin again with no mistakes. At times, I was unloving, harsh or critical, but Jennie’s constant love and humility and willingness to apologize herself was something I had not experienced. God gave me grace each day. She was humble and incredible to watch. She opened my eyes to see that not everyone was bad – that there are good people. My mind and heart were opened because mercy was shown to me and that God loved me.”

Jennie’s church loved on her girls and were a community of grandparents. One lady welcomed Hannah with open arms knowing her struggles and behavior and mentored her. “Now I know that everything happens to glorify God. I know He’s not a distant person, but a person I can have an intimate relationship with every day. Every moment, I can talk to Him in all things – even when I struggle.” A Sunday School Pastor also showed her kindness even though she would break the rules.

“Behaviorally, my heart was not changed immediately. In the past when I did a bad thing, most people would say, ‘I’m done.’ Out of fear, I had no reason to act good, no advocate and a loss of hope. I was testing Jennie as true to see if she would stick with me. In my little mind, when I did bad things it meant just another person would give up. It was hard and took a long time – about 2 years – to fully believe I was loved and that Jennie wasn’t going anywhere.”

Jennie shares, “There are a string of crying children who need to know who they are, what God has done, how valued they are and are in need of their heart to be changed. It’s not easy, but it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. This is a fostering/adoption ministry – a Kingdom building ministry. It’s not fast or convenient, but the person who is changed the most is you. It’s a privilege to be changed by these kids. It’s hard living life before them, but you must learn to love like God loves. It’s an overwhelming honor.

When you see these children through His eyes with compassion, it’s always harder for the child. You choose the lion share of the work because they can’t. You must help them learn and grow, but it’s worth it! God gives the grace regarding what He calls us to do. You trust God and get through it. It’s a small season in light of eternity for these little people who forget that God created them for a purpose.”

Hannah now works with foster kids and interacts with parents. “Not every Foster Care story is a success. It’s hard work, and kids have troubles. Foster Care/Adoption is a calling. It’s not something you just decide to do. If it’s not a calling, you’ll never make it through. If you start, don’t quit. If there’s a possibility of quitting, then don’t start. Every time someone gives up, you erase the work and progress kids have made.” Hannah shares honest stories, so parents can make theirs a success story.

All children have possibility, but who will step up and advocate for them? All have value. All have a plan and purpose. The goal is for them to see who they are in Christ – to see what God has planned for them.

……………………..

Hannah has overcome the odds against her in life and is heading to Bible school this fall. She knows God has helped her through every obstacle in Foster Care for the purpose of advocating for other children. She shares her story regularly and serves as a spokesperson at parent training sessions for those considering Foster Care.

Jennie and her five girls – Hannah: 20, Ashley: 19, Amy: 15, Rachel: 12, and Sydney:7 – live life fully together. As a single mother and the sole bread winner of the family, she teaches eighth grade history online, so she can work from home and be available to them.

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