Announcer: Welcome to the Adopting and Fostering Home Podcast. Whether your family has been on this journey for years or you’re just getting started, we’re here to support and encourage you along the way. And now, your hosts, Lynette Ezell and Tera Melber.
Lynette: Psalm 103 is one of my favorite psalms in the Old Testament and over and over the Lord just reiterates to us and King David wrote, “Praise the Lord, oh my soul. All my inmost being, praise his holy name.” And he talks about, David talks, over and over how the Lord works righteousness and He makes known to us His ways and He’s always about doing a new work in our life and, Tera, that reminds me of just a sweet friend that we have, that we’ve come to know and meet and just admire, so you’re joining us today with the Adopting and Fostering Home Podcast. This is a ministry of the North American Mission Board. Tera and I have been doing adoption together a long time and we’re seeing the Lord open new and exciting doors with fostering and adoption care and this ministry never grows stale, does it?
Tera: It does not.
Lynette: It doesn’t. So, today, we’re so excited to introduce to you someone who has truly given the Lord everything she has, her whole heart, all of her time, all of her resources. She really is the embodiment of coming to the Lord with open hands.
Tera: So, it’s a blessing to introduce Faith Morgan to you. She’s a writer on the marketing team at the North American Mission Board and I heard about her, oh it’s been quite some time back because our son and daughter-in-law know you and they said, “Have you met Faith? She’s awesome!” She’s a foster mom to an elementary aged son and we are really excited to be here with you today. Faith, you’re a single mom, so that’s kind of where were gonna launch the beginning today.
Faith: That’s right. I am a single foster mom. I’ve been doing this a little over a year now. I received my first placement in October in 2015 and I still have that same kid, my son, today.
Lynette: That’s so great. So let’s just get started today. Here’s what I want to know. How did this begin?
Faith: For years and years, I’ve always wanted to foster and adopt, but for years, I assumed that was something that you did when you were married.
Faith: And there were a lot of people who backed up that assumption for me.
Faith: So, for years, I prayed toward that end and I never really questioned that until I was doing a membership interview for a church that I was attending in Birmingham and was explaining to the pastor this is my desire. I feel like this is what God’s called me to do and he said, “Okay, well what are you doing about that right now?”
Faith: And I didn’t have an answer.
Lynette: That kind of stop you in your tracks? Like, what am I doing, Lord? What am I doing about this calling you’ve placed upon my life? Am I moving forward, right?
Faith: That’s right, because nobody had ever asked me that question before. I had never asked myself that question before and that’s at what point, I really started asking myself, what am I doing about this right now because God never promised me marriage. I may get married someday, I may not, but that doesn’t change the call that God’s placed on my life. It’s still there. It’s still important.
Lynette: That’s a great point, Faith. It doesn’t change God’s calling on your life. He knows where you are. He sees you where you are.
Faith: That’s right.
Lynette: So what were your first steps to actually get started? To fill out that first piece of paper, what did you do?
Faith: I was living in Birmingham, Alabama at the time and I started my training with the Alabama Baptist Children’s Home. It’s a great organization. I went through my ten week training. I actually went through the training –
Lynette: Ten weeks. Wow. And you’re working a full-time job at the time?
Faith: Yes, so I went through my ten-week training and actually my pastor and his wife went through the training at the same time.
Faith: So, it was good to have their support in there. There was another single woman in the training at the same time. So I went through the training, was really excited about it, but really came to the realization that the job that I had at the time was my life and not my job and there was no way for me to be able to do the ministry God had called me to do and continue in this career path. So, there was a lot of soul searching and prayer. I ended up resigning my position at that company that I was at and trying to find a job somewhere else that would be more flexible, that would allow me to do the things that God’s gifted me to do, but also allow me to do what he’s called me to do. And that’s how I ended up here at North American Mission Board.
Tera: That’s really amazing and it is awesome for me to hear you say I didn’t go into this lightly. You had been thinking about it a long time. You had support from your church family to be able to be a community of care for you as you entered this arena of fostering and that you didn’t let your life circumstances get in the way of following God’s path for your life and being obedient and obedience is key in our life and the Lord will bless those things. It doesn’t mean it isn’t going to be difficult at times, but it does mean that that’s what we’re supposed to do. So you left your job in Alabama and then moved to Georgia?
Faith: I did.
Tera: So, did you have to do something different in Georgia once you moved here?
Faith: I did. I had to start the process over completely.
Tera: Wow. So did your training transfer from Alabama to Georgia?
Faith: It did not.
Tera: That is interesting.
Faith: Every state has different rules.
Faith: Every state has a different system, which is important. We need to follow all of those guidelines. So I started my training over, but as somebody who’s never parented before, I don’t think it hurts to hear the information twice.
Tera: No. That’s a great point.
Faith: So, I restarted with another faith-based organization here in Georgia and re-trained through them and started the process probably around May and got my first placement in October.
Tera: So you had a strong family of believers close to you – a strong community of care in Birmingham. So, when you moved to a new state and then you restart that training, did you find a church home that was able to support you in this ministry?
Faith: My community of care is based some from my church. It’s based some from other area churches that I’ve been connected with. There is a very strong fostering community in this area that there are a lot of different people in different churches and I ended up getting connected with several different people from different churches that way, just through the community. It was a step of faith to move away from everybody that I knew to move out of state, away from family and the people who were supporting me in Birmingham, but God was very faithful. I have no doubt this is where I’m supposed to be and –
Lynette: We don’t either.
Tera: Right. But you knew you couldn’t do it alone.
Tera: So you had to be the one to step out there and say I’m gonna find help and I’m going to build friendships because I know I’m gonna need help along the way.
Faith: Absolutely. There are some really special and important people to my son and I. Obviously, my family is very, very supportive as they can be from afar and a lot of that is prayer support. My parents are extremely, extremely supportive, just physically, but also my mom prays more than anybody else I know.
Faith: And I couldn’t do this without her.
Tera: That’s true.
Lynette: Prayer is the foundation.
Tera: It really is.
Lynette: We say that over and over, Faith – Tera and I do – that prayer is the foundation. How do you know which way to turn?
Lynette: We want to be like the prophets of old, like the Lord whispered in my ear, turn this way, turn that way, cause we don’t know.
Tera: That’s right.
Lynette: How do we as moms know which way to go until the lord begins to fill our home, until we’re seeking Him and He gives us direction. So what about – I know you probably get a lot of comments from people. You’re a beautiful, young, single girl. You’ve brought in this little boy into your home through foster care. What about the absence of a dad in your home, if you don’t mind us asking?
Faith: Absolutely. It is something that I had to pray about a lot before I jumped into this as a single woman and I think it comes down to, when God promises to be a father to the fatherless, do I believe Him?
Lynette: Yes, that’s good.
Faith: Do I trust Him to fill that role? In this journey that God’s called me to, my son has a very close relationship with my dad. He also has a close relationship with some of the men in our church and then there’s also a couple that has really just adopted us into their family here in Georgia. The dad is very involved with my son and he has coached his soccer team.
Lynette: Oh wow.
Faith: He watches football games with him.
Lynette: So you’re doing all the things moms do. You’re running him to soccer practice … wow.
Faith: It’s not that there isn’t a precedent for this. I mean, you look in the Bible and you see Timothy, who had a very strong spiritual influence from his mother and his grandmother. There’s no mention of his dad’s spiritual influence, but God gave him Paul to be a mentor and to be a father figure in his life.
Lynette: What a beautiful picture. Well, I hear you saying that the Lord’s brought some godly men into your life – in your church, maybe form work – who are helping you raise your son to see what it is to be a man of God.
Faith: That’s right.
Lynette: And what a blessing it is the Lord cares about all those details. So what about … Tera and I talk a lot about that as moms of large families – or just a mom – and you’re working a full-time job and you go home at night, you don’t get a break. You really don’t get time alone. So what do you do? How does that look for you when you need respite?
Faith: Like I mentioned, there’s that couple who’s adopted us into their family. They take my son two hours every Sunday.
Faith: And for me as a pretty extreme introvert raising a very extroverted little boy, that is a lifesaver, especially at the end of the weekend. I’m tired. There’s so many words. So that is a lifesaver for me having those two hours. I can go grocery shopping by myself or I can just sit down and watch something that’s not animated.
Tera: Those are glorious moments right there.
Faith: Yes, they are! So that has been huge for me, to be able to have that and also, he’s young. He does go to bed pretty early. In general, he’s a good sleeper, which is a huge blessing from the Lord.
Faith: So, he goes down at 7:30 p.m., and then I have a couple hours to myself after that.
Lynette: Faith, what about dating or marrying one day? Does that ever come across your mind or do you ever think about that?
Faith: It is something that I think about sometimes. Of course, I would love for my son to have a father in the home, if that’s ever possible some day. I am actually in the process of adopting this child so I would love for him to have a father some day, but it is different. When you’re dating before you have children, the stakes are high, but I don’t think you realize how high they are when you consider, just in theory, raising a child with this person. The stakes are higher when you have this child sitting in front of you.
Faith: And you try to imagine. Can I imagine trusting anybody else to parent this child with me?
Faith: It’s not easy to imagine that and if God wants that for our family, I have no doubts he will bring that into our life, but it won’t be easy. It will be another transition for my son, which is difficult and it’s something where if I date then that person will not be a part of my son’s life immediately.
Lynette: Right. That’s a great point.
Faith: That’s something that needs to be separated.
Lynette: Yes. So you’re going to put up boundaries.
Lynette: Very good. And it’s going to be an adjustment time for your son as well because it’s been the two of you. It’s been bliss. I have mom all to myself.
Lynette: It’s a lot to take into consideration. Yeah.
Tera: So, Faith, how do you balance your full-time job and going to court dates and those type of things? That’s a lot.
Lynette: Now, we’re not talking dates to dinner.
Tera: Like court dates with your son.
Faith: Yes, I have a lot more court dates than regular dates. That comes down to a lot of why I am in the job that I’m in right now. That’s something that I was very honest with my boss going into this job. This is something that God’s called me to do. This is why I am changing careers and if you think that this wouldn’t be a good fit for this job then I need to know now.
Tera: Very important.
Faith: Absolutely. So the people that I work with are extremely flexible and, since I do work for a ministry, these are people that understand not only what I’m doing, but why I’m doing it and that is extremely important, but I use vacation days for court dates and sometimes you work through lunch so you can get off early to go to play therapy or occupational therapy or something like that, but it’s not a whole lot different than other single moms.
Faith: For sure.
Tera: Exactly. That is true. Well I’m sure you get some interesting comments just when you go to the mall or run into the grocery store. Do you worry about that? Have you had to protect him from other’s comments or do you worry what others think about – I guess you look more alike than if you’re a family that looks really differently – but do you worry about comments that maybe people may say to you or have you’ve had to deal with some of that?
Faith: I have had to some. You’d be amazed what people will say in front of your children.
Tera: It’s true.
Lynette: I get it.
Tera: We do get it.
Faith: So sometimes that is me jumping into the conversation and figuring out how to graciously say, “Please stop talking.” People will ask questions in front of him. What did his family do and just figuring out how to graciously say, “That’s none of your business.”
Faith: And it’s not. I am extremely careful and extremely protective of his story. That is something that A) I’m not allowed to share as a foster parent, but even as an adoptive parent, that’s something I will choose not to share with anybody because he owns that. That is his story. He should have the right to tell or not tell whoever he wants to.
Lynette: Yes, we’re very – Tera and I are very adamant about that. This is their story and they can share it when they want to. Sometimes one of mine has shared and alarmed me, oh I can’t believe you shared that, but that child – the one I was referring to – is about to enter young adulthood and so he has to share it when he wants to.
Faith: I mean we do. We get some interesting comments when people know that he is actually my foster son. In general, I don’t tell anybody. I just call him my son – no adjectives needed – and I only explain when it’s absolutely necessary. That being said, that means that people make assumptions about me based on that, but I can handle it. It’s not my job to impress them. It’s not my job to protect my reputation. This is what God’s called me to do and I’m going to do it, but yes people will make assumptions about you and they’ll make some pretty interesting comments, for sure, about that, but this is what God has called me to and I believe He’s equipped me to do that and to not worry about what other people are thinking.
Lynette: That’s great.
Tera: You have to be really comfortable with yourself and with your relationship with the Lord and we often talk about putting the stake in the ground and knowing that this is what the Lord’s called you to because on those hard days, when you think, “Why would you even say that out loud?” Or in your head you’re thinking, “Are people so judgemental that they’re gonna make assumptions about me and they don’t even know who I am?” So instead of lashing out or … I mean, we would all want to lash out to be able to know this is what the Lord’s called me to do and, yes, that was hurtful. I’m gonna need to process through that, but this is where we’re supposed to be. I’m being obedient and sometimes that comes at a cost that’s painful.
Faith: That’s right.
Lynette: I love what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:17. He said, “Each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them.” Isn’t that freeing?
Lynette: I just remember being freed up by that. That this is what the Lord has assigned to me. He’s lighted up on my heart and I’ve got to walk in obedience to Him. That’s where the joy of living is. It’s walking in obedience to the Lord and Paul said, “Just as God has called them.” And, Faith, God has obviously called you to this, to raise this son, to pray over him, to model Christ in his life because that is a game changer for him for all of eternity.
Faith: And he’s such a huge blessing to our family. People always talk about how blessed he is to be with me, but I am so blessed to have him.
Lynette: One of the myths of adoption that we have covered is that “Oh isn’t that child so lucky?” and you feel like you’re the one that’s hit the jackpot, right?
Faith: That’s right.
Tera: Even if we have struggles through the walk, even if it’s not what we thought or it’s not as easy, the joy that we receive from being moms of children and having the privilege of raising these kids up and being their prayer warrior for life far exceeds and far outweighs any of the difficulties.
Faith: That’s right.
Lynette: Well, you’ve been listening to the Adopting and Fostering Home. This is a ministry of the North American Mission Board and if you would like to connect with Faith, she has a wonderful blog that she writes, or if you would like to connect with Tera and I, we’ll have that information for you on our show notes. Thanks for joining us today and we look forward to being with you again.
Announcer: You have been listing to the Adopting and Fostering Home, a resource of the North American Mission Board. For more information about today’s podcast and other relevant resources, visit NAMB.net/sendrelief