I have to start by saying that my brother and his wife are amazing. Tim and Meg are two of our best friends with compassionate and servant hearts. Anyone who knows Tim will tell you he has a laugh that's infectious and dry humor that doesn't allow me to read texts from him in while I'm in a serious meeting. Meg is passionate about everything she does and doesn't know what half-hearted means.
Sadly, we live in different states, but when we get together we stay up for hours talking and laughing. Somehow my parents have two kids and a daughter and son-in-law who are all in social services so we always have stories to swap and "get" each other like few of our friends do. We have trouble scheduling Skype dates since we know they will inevitably last a few hours.
However I didn't always hold these views. I mean, having a brother who was eight years younger soon lost it's glamour. Growing up he was annoying and always running around and constantly in my much cooler business. It wasn't until I was in college that I realized he was pretty cool too.
But the most important thing you need to know about Tim and Meg is that they are fervent Christ-followers. So it didn't surprise me that they talked about adoption early on in their relationship. When they talked to Jamy and I over a year ago on a family vacation, they were talking about adopting an infant before they had biological children. It wasn't a jump for them. It seemed to be the natural overflow of their faith; building a family and grafting in a child who needed parents. And the "when" that most people struggle with was never an issue. Our first child doesn't need to be biological, there are babies who need homes.
But then there was a shift in their hearts. It began in Meg's. I remember her telling me over the phone that after sitting in church one morning she felt called to adopt from foster care. Her voice breaking, she shared that she wanted to care for the kids that others labeled unwanted and unlovable. She thought Tim would think she was crazy. Surprisingly, he was on board from the gate to adopt from foster care.
Then God called them to take it a scary step further. To be foster parents and leave the outcome of adoption and permanence to Him. To hold loosely to God's children and think of nothing but meeting a child where they're at and love them like crazy for as long as they can.
This step was admittedly a lot harder, especially for Tim. We walked with them and watched them struggle with the realities of God's calling to hard things. It became their prayer that God would break their hearts like His is broken. For Meg, it took seeing the faces of children waiting for forever families on a website. For Tim, a training at work on children in transition and recognizing that he could be a father figure to them, if even for a limited time. And they were in. All in.
For a season, the big sister in me kicked in. Do they really know what they are getting into? What if they get one of the tough cases? Will they have good case workers who are sensitive to ensuring they get the support they need? Do they have the right support all the way over there?
This adoption advocate hesitated when it came to her little brother. And then I had to stop myself and remember that God is bigger.
God is bigger than my fears for my brother and sister's hearts.
God is bigger than plans for how a family is created.
God is bigger than bank accounts or resources.
God is bigger than the hurts and wounds in little hearts.
God is big enough to care for the orphan and use my brother and sister as His hands and feet.
They made this announcement to friends and family last night:
There are many ways to create or build a family. We have chosen to start building our family through foster care.Foster care is complicated; each child’s situation and story is unique. Why the child’s biological family was unable to care for him/her is private. For a foster child, this is their story to tell when they are adults, with the closest people in their lives. But what we can tell you is that we are blessed to have been given the opportunity to parent these children, however long they are with us.We may or may not have the opportunity to adopt our foster child, but just like a biological child our love for him/her is born and grows from our hearts. This makes him/her our real, chosen, beloved son/daughter.
So today I'm celebrating. I'm celebrating that I will be an auntie. I'm celebrating that there will be one (or two or three or fifteen) more to add to the family. And I'm celebrating that my brother and sister's heart so closely matches my Heavenly Father's heart for the orphan.
Tim and Meg, I'm so proud of you. This is just one of the reasons that you two are my heroes. You're starting the revolution in our family and I'm with you...
Photos used with permission by Kate Grysen