Sometimes I get paralyzed when it comes to updating the blog.
It's like I have SO much I want to write, so much I want to remember,
that it overwhelms me to actually do it.
So, here I go with another update post:
When I left off, I was rapidly losing my mind.
We knew for a few weeks that they were going to be leaving our home.
We met their extended family several times and are supportive of the boys being with them.
Bonus: They love Jesus, too!
A few days after my desperation post, I got the call.
"The boys are officially leaving on Valentine's Day."
I was filled with sadness and relief at the same time.
It was a strange feeling.
I told Alice and she cried.
And I cried.
Those little boys will be forever in our hearts.
In addition to saying goodbye to the boys,
we finalized our decision to terminate our foster care license as of 2/29.
We did one last weekend of respite for a very cute little 2 year old
and then closed the door to foster care.
I'm not sure if we'll do it again in the future...perhaps when our girls are older.
But, looking back, this I know:
1. God spoke loud and clear to Ben and I about becoming foster parents.
We were obedient and quickly started the process.
We got to see Jeremiah 7:23 in action.
"Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people.
Do everything I say, and all will be well!"
2. We started the process in March 2012.
In 4 years, we've cared for 16 children in our home.
Some for days, some for much longer.
In our home, those 16 children were loved, cared for, and prayed over.
We still have their pictures displayed.
They changed us.
3. While adoption was never our goal,
I think we always thought God would use foster care to grow our family.
We had 2 little girls who we believed would be Boltons.
We said goodbye to them and the other 14 knowing that God loves them more than we do.
We trust him fully with ALL of our children.
That said, it's still kind of crazy to me that we never had the opportunity to adopt.
Especially when it seems so many other foster families do.
4. We are stronger than I ever thought we were.
We feel so honored that God felt OUR family was worthy of this calling.
This heartbreaking, sacrificial, exhausting calling.
Our marriage is stronger now than it was pre-foster care.
I know it has changed our girls' hearts, too.
We've had newborns/babies/toddlers for 6 years straight.
Oh, the sleep deprivation that has come from that!
However, we survived!
(Thank you, Jesus and Coffee.)
5. There are nearly 400 THOUSAND children in our country without permanent homes.
That takes my breath away.
If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, you are SO needed.
If not, there are so many other ways you can support foster children and foster families.
Or, just do the things people do for people when they have babies.
My sweet friends threw me a fostering shower.
We had friends bring us meals...which spoke directly to my heart!
A couple people even brought us diapers!!! (God bless you.)
I'm now navigating what our live looks like now...with "only" 2 kids.
How can we continue to serve orphans and widows in this next season of our life?
Although we are no longer "on the front lines", foster care is near and dear to our hearts.
I'm excited to see what our next chapter looks like!
Our Foster Care Timeline is now complete!
For that, we are thankful!
(I should delete that, but I won't.
That's literally what popped into my brain for a proper closing.
I've never been cool.)