Sometimes God does things that are just so God-ish, they have to be told.
Last night I went to a celebration of the sweetest kind. Meet Sadie and Caleb Hall….
Yesterday was their Gotcha Day. Judge Easlick declared them legally and permanently children of Jason and Machelle Hall. We partied at church afterward because the Lord sets the lonely in families!
I’ve been sitting on this story for almost A YEAR and OH MY GOODNESS I’M GLAD TO FINALLY TELL IT…
Eleven months ago I got a phone call that shocked my socks off. Our social worker was on the other end asking if Nathan and I would be interested in adopting a sibling group; a boy and a girl ages 3 and 1. At the time they were in separate foster care homes, but would become adoptable within the month.
I’ll never forget how that call took my breath away. By our timeline, it was about a month early since we didn’t expect to hear about a possible placement until our home was approved and the training classes were complete. But still, we were ecstatic and nervous and every other emotion that comes with considering bringing two more children into the nest.
We did what most any other God fearing couple would do when faced with that kind of decision; we prayed, we talked endlessly about the implications, we mentally rearranged the kids’ bedrooms to accommodate two more beds, and our life to accommodate two more souls. We analyzed the decision from every angle, worried about our bio kids, and obsessed about the two who needed a family. We didn’t want to make a rash decision, but the pull to offer our lives to those children was strong.
One day Nate came home for lunch with a minivan, and I knew we were all in.
But in the quiet mornings when it was just me and the Lord, I fretted. Those two children had been through hell and back, and I knew the amount of attention they were going to require. Did I have it to give? Could I maintain equilibrium for my 5 and 3 year old, while helping two wounded souls heal and adjust? Sometimes I wondered if we were in some way trading in Titus and Anna for these other two. Would I end up abandoning them to rescue others?
Despite the fear I felt, we called the social worker and told her we were ready to take next steps. Time to meet the children face to face! She suggested I attend an Easter Egg Hunt given by the local Baptist association for the foster children in our area. If you’ve been following me for long, this might ring a bell.
When I pulled up that event, it was for the sole purpose of meeting Sadie and Caleb! I thought I was going to be laying eyes on my future children for the first time.
But God had a different story to write. And it’s a doozy.
I got out of my car that day and made a beeline for the familiar faces of Jason and Machelle Hall. Dear friends and church members, they had been going through the training classes as well. This sweet couple wasn’t there to meet future kids, they simply wanted to be a part of an event that would bless foster children. But knowing the reason I was there, they happily engaged me in conversation about the excitement of meeting Caleb and Sadie for the first time.
We chatted, I looked around nervously. The event started and little darlings toddled around with easter baskets looking for eggs. I waited and watched for the social worker to walk up and point out two more little darlings who needed my nest.
But they never did. I had a tee ball game to get to and couldn’t stay until it was over, so I found my caseworker and told her we would have to plan the meeting for another day. I asked Machelle to keep watch form me. Tell me all about them if they came later!
On the way to the car, the social worker stopped me and said she had a question. A baby boy had been born the day before, and they needed a home to place him. Would Nathan and I consider it?
When I wrote And Then It Got Real I had to leave out the part where I responded,
“What about Caleb and Sadie?”
They assured me Caleb and Sadie were in safe homes and that this baby boy placement would be temporary. There was a family member interested in taking him after the necessary background checks and investigation. “We’ll just put pursuing adoption of the other two on hold for a few weeks.”
I had no way of knowing that I had just experienced a major game changer for numerous lives.
On the drive to the ball field my mind could barely grasp all that had unfolded. As I parked the car and began walking up the path to the game, I heard my phone ding alerting me to a text. I dug it out of my pocket and saw that it was a message and picture from Machelle:
I got to meet her and she’s beautiful!
That was on Saturday. On Monday we welcomed The New Chick. The weeks rolled on we settled into being foster parents, always with Caleb and Sadie not far from our minds.
But when one month bled into the next, we got news that The New Chick wouldn’t be going to a relative. He would be with us until when and if he was reunified with his parents.
This presented a huge conundrum. By that time we had thoroughly bonded with him and he with us. We were in love and wouldn’t dream of moving him to another foster home. What to do about Sadie and Caleb? Could we possibly add TWO MORE children to our now crew of 3??
But how could we possibly consider rejecting two vulnerable souls who needed us so much.
Friends, God was moving and He had an answer to every question.
Little did I know that Machelle thought of Caleb and Sadie often. She had felt an immediate draw to them, but under the assumption they were going to be ours, she figured she would love them through us. “They belong to Beth.” she told herself.
Still, she saved and treasured those first pictures she took at the Easter Egg Hunt on her phone.
As April turned into May, we continued to struggle with the problem before us. Nothing seemed clear. I worried about bringing two more children into the house, but had no peace about rejecting them either. I begged God to show us in an undoubtable way what He wanted us to do.
About that time we got another call from the social worker; Sadie’s foster mom needed to go out of town. This was our chance to keep her for a few days and test the waters. We said yes and I prayed hard God would show us through that time what to do.
And He did.
Those four days I didn’t sleep, barely ate, and I don’t remember any bathing. I rarely sat down and was in a constant state of frenzy. By the time her visit with us came to an end, I was both madly in love with her, and grieving the loss of her.
God made it clear to me that I couldn’t parent all five children. At best I would be doing crowd control. At worst children who needed focus and intervention in order to succeed wouldn’t get it. There was no way I could give Sadie and Caleb the consistency and attention they needed to thrive. Not while parenting a newborn and two other children who needed me too.
It was so hard telling the social workers we couldn’t do it. I felt like a terrible person who couldn’t make room in her life for two children who needed her. But I knew we couldn’t raise those children. SURELY God had someone else. I prayed with fervency that God would provide a Christ-following family that didn’t have young children in the home. A stable couple who could devote themselves whole-heartedly to Caleb and Sadie.
Two weeks later while Machelle and I were at a church function, she asked how the time with Sadie in our home had gone. I told her the story, and was sad to say that we wouldn’t be adopting them. They needed a home where they could be the primary focus.
Something about the look on her face got my attention. A flicker of emotion that I couldn’t name. I wondered at it but didn’t think too much of it at the time…after all they were only interested in fostering older children.
Days later at a foster care meeting, she pulled me aside and said,
“Beth, I can’t get my mind off those children! Jason and I are going to talk to the social worker tonight and set up a meeting to discuss them.”
Ya’ll, the rest is history. Jason and Machelle met with the social workers that week. Shortly after, they started spending regular time with Caleb and Sadie. Afternoon visits turned into weekend visits and before long I was seeing them together at church. Machelle and Jason, who have two grown and gone biological children, fell in love with two tiny little darlings who very much needed a Mommy and a Daddy.
It just goes to show that we never know what God has up his sleeve. He set these precious chicks in just the right nest.
And ya’ll, THEY ARE THRIVING.
Here’s the really sweet part for me; my husband is their pastor. God graciously let us continue to be a special part of their lives. Instead of Machelle loving Caleb and Sadie through me, I get to love them through her.
And all is as it should be.