A Safe Place for Foster Children in the In-Between

By Send Relief Staff

“You just drop the rock. I’ll take care of the ripples.”

As she envisioned herself standing on a serene shore contemplating adoption, this is what Ronda Paulson heard God say. “Drop the rock. Just drop the rock and you’ll see the ripple effects.”

After that divine encounter, there was no turning back for Ronda.

After tricking her husband into going to some foster care classes for date night, Corey and Ronda committed to becoming foster parents—a baby step for Ronda as she researched adoption opportunities, but a giant leap for her husband Corey as he considered the risks they were about to undertake as a family.

In the coming weeks, Ronda and Corey signed up for a tour of the county’s Department of Child Services facilities to learn more about how the fostering process begins, but what they saw that night cemented their decision in stone. No windows, no color, state-issued furniture and dingy carpets covered the entirety of the building, and the Paulson’s found themselves wondering how anyone thought this was an appropriate first stop for a child who had just been forcibly removed from everything they held dear.

Ronda said, “God and I had a moment right there in that conference room. I remember my chest actually hurting. My heart was aching, and I couldn’t stop crying. I just kept seeing this little girl, and the only thing she had with her was a black trash bag full of some things they grabbed, sleeping on a grimy carpet alone and scared. Then I heard God say, ‘These are my children. What are you going to do?’”

Ronda and Corey answered that call by fostering a baby boy named Isaiah.

Though the couple usually refrained from choosing “life verses,” they made their family verse Isaiah 1:17 in his honor: “Do good, seek justice, take care of the widow and defend the cause of the fatherless.”

The combination of these moving experiences led Ronda to ask bigger questions.

“What if, on a child’s most traumatic day, they don’t go into a conference room, but a home?”

“What if we could lighten the load of a caseworker?”

“What if we could establish a non-profit that felt like a home for children in the in-between?”

Thus, the groundwork for Isaiah 117 House was laid.

To hear the rest of Ronda’s inspiring journey, listen to her story on the Stories of Hope podcast.

Published April 30, 2021

Send Relief Staff