New Perspective

By: Courtney

I truly believe that God's timing is perfect. How many of us can look back at events in our lives and see God's hand ALL over it? At the time it might have seemed so dark and lonely but looking back it was all part of His master plan.

That exact reason is why I am trusting 100% in God's timing with our adoption. I have faith that His timing is perfect. While the wait can be grueling, I know he is using it to teach me. I can already see the work He is doing in me in this short (or not so short) period of time.

He has given me a new perspective in so many areas. One area the Lord has truly opened my eyes and my heart to recently is foster care.

In the past I had such a misconception about foster care. (I believe many of us do!) What is the first thing you hear when you say "foster care"? "Oh, I could never do that. It would be too hard to give them back."

This comment now ignites a fire in me. I, too, have previously thought and said this statement. But man oh man, the Lord has changed my perspective.

First, it started with the facts. I heard a sermon about foster care in Oklahoma. The facts were staggering. The pastor's call to the church was heart wrenching. The Holy Spirit tugging at my heart was undeniable.
(City Church Tulsa  111Project:Defending the Fatherless)

Here are some facts -

Research shows that young people in foster care are far more likely to endure homelessness, poverty, compromised health, unemployment and incarceration after they leave the foster care system.
  • 54 % earn a high school diploma
  • 2% earn a Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • 84% become parents too soon, exposing their children to a repeated cycle of neglect and abuse
  • 51% are unemployed
  • 30% have no health insurance
  • 25% experience homelessness
  • 30% receive public assistance
the above facts are national and not specific to Oklahoma

Forty-five percent of Americans believe that kids are in foster care because they committed a crime. The reality is that children enter foster care as victims of neglect, abandonment, or abuse. It’s not their fault they don’t have a home. The average age of a foster child is nine, but they range from infants to teens.

the above facts are national and not specific to Oklahoma

According to Oklahoma DHS statistics, in January of 2011 there were over 8000 children in foster care in the state of Oklahoma; of those 8000 over 40% were under the age of four. 

A little education goes a long way. I was blown away by the statistics!

I started thinking. Ok, maybe we could foster a little baby.

Second, it continued with experience. I met foster children, foster parents, and former foster children. Once you you have a real life encounter and put a face to a specific injustice, you will never be the same. It is one thing to say "foster children" in a generic term that means some children far away somewhere. But it is different when you say "Sarah" or "Billy" and you know this person on a personal level.

I saw real families, real people I know, loving foster children and pouring into their lives for a few short months or some even for years. I saw the love of Christ displayed through these families.

I saw sweet, innocent little children living in a youth shelter because there were no foster homes.

I started thinking. Ok, maybe we could foster a young child.

Every time you allow the Lord into one small part of your heart he shows you more and more and continues to make you grow more and more. Every single time I start opening myself up to the possibility that the Lord could use me in some tiny way, the Lord blows the doors wide open and shows me so much more.

Because then I met a sweet teenage girl without a family to take care of her.

The Lord was showing me - THESE ARE MY CHILDREN.
ALL of these children are mine and I love EACH and EVERY one of them!

Then I started thinking. We could and WOULD be open to fostering or adopting any age child. Why don't I stop putting limitations on what I will do for the Lord and just say YES, LORD! Whatever it is! Whatever you are calling us to do - the answer is YES!

"Let the little children come to me, do not hinder them. For the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14

"Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me." Matthew 18:5

"The harvest is plenty, the workers are few." Matthew 9:37 

He says it time and time again:
Seek justice.
Love mercy.
Defend the fatherless.
Welcome a little child.
We are all fearfully and wonderfully made.
He knows the number of hairs on each child's head.
Love your neighbor as yourself.

When will I start listening?

Yes, we are still adopting. Yes, we are still adopting internationally. Yes, we are going to wait as long as it takes to bring our little Richmond home. 
But - YES I think the Lord has called us to love and protect children. I believe he has specifically called our family to be an advocate for children. 
There is such NEED. There is such need EVERYWHERE!

I strongly encourage you to consider foster care, adoption, or even just volunteering your time. Be a tutor, a mentor, a friend. Step out there for the "least of these".


Update - The Folsoms

By Courtney:

Something I have discovered through this process is I'm an avoider. I avoid confrontation. I avoid the difficult stuff. I definitely avoid sharing my feelings if at all possible.

Perhaps that is why I have found blogging so difficult.   Something we all (the Forgety family and Matt and I) decided from the very beginning was to be as open and honest as possible with our blog. So I put it off and I put it off.....

"Soooooo..... have you heard anything?"
Matt and I probably get this question more than once every single day.

For the longest time we honestly just had nothing to update. We had no news to share because we had received no news.

But then there was news to give, I just didn't want to give it.

"Soooooo..... have you heard anything?"
Who wants me to bombard them with the pain? The tears? The truth?

So instead I just lie and say, "No news".  I lie because I feel like the majority of people are only asking to make small talk. They honestly don't really want to hear all the hairy details. And honestly it is just too emotionally exhausting to share every single detail with everyone.

So here is the update:

At one point we believed our adoption was over. It was probably one of the darkest weeks of my life. I had a day where I struggled to even get out of bed. I actually became physically ill. I felt awful. I could barely function for an entire week. I doubted God. I was mad at God. I was sad. I was beyond sad. I was grieving. I was mourning. This child is already considered part of our family and when we were told the adoption might never happen, it felt as though I had just experienced a death. I was mourning the potential loss of our child.

Yes, recently we received news from our agency that the adoption might never happen.  At a later date we were updated and we did receive clarification that the adoption will more than likely still happen, they just have no idea when. The Ghanaian government interviewed Richmond's grandmother (his only known living relative) as part of the adoption finalization. During the intervew it was mentioned that there is also a living uncle. (which was not known before) Well, he is now important to this process since he is the oldest living male in the family. They need to interview him in order to move forward with the adoption.  Sounds simple, right? There is one little problem... Uncle is working in ANOTHER COUNTRY! He will return and can be interviewed at that time. No one knows when that might be, though.

At this point it is just a waiting game. All we can do is wait and pray. Pray and pray and pray. (feel free to join us here!) I cannot do anything about our situation but God can. My God - the God of Ada, Oklahoma is also the God of Ghana. He is mighty and powerful and sovereign.

When we do update people and explain the situation people often wonder how we are so calm (as you read it hasn't always been that way!) All we can say is the Lord has given us a peace that surpasses all understanding. God is in control. His hand is over Richmond. He is guiding us. We have faith.  We don't understand everything but we don't have to.  All we have to do is trust HIM!

John 16:33
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

Romans 8:24-25 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.


Unexpected blessing

By Khylee:

This past weekend we had a garage sale to raise money for our adoption.  For an individual who likes her home tidy, clean with everything in its place, my home has literally been a thrift store dumping ground for over a month.  All of this was INSIDE my house:
7 long tables, 5 round tables. All with stuff on top of them and underneath them. FULL OF STUFF that had previously been sitting, useless and disregarded in people's homes.

Here was the "clothing corner."  We had boxes and boxes of clothing and shoes.  So much so that we couldn't display it all.

 And lest we forget, the front yard had a slew of stuff in it as well:

We had people at the house starting at 6:30 Friday morning and had constant flow the entire day.  Matt, Courtney, Matt's Mom, Adam, and a slew of other volunteers were busy moving the product ALL.DAY.LONG.

We posted signs that said "Proceeds to benefit adopting family"  and through that little statement we had the opportunity to hear the stories of people who had adopted, were adopted, had been in the foster care system, or had grandkids that were adopting. We had one set of neighbors that we barely know donate a pool table, another set of neighbor boys helped people carry things to people's car, another neighbor helped us all day Friday and Saturday with whatever we needed.

What started out as an event to raise money for the adoption, turned into an event that helped Adam and I connect with our neighbors.  IT WAS AWESOME!

Can a garage sale seriously become a spiritual experience, ordained by God? 

It was.

We have been praying that God would give us opportunities to get to know those that live around us, and this garage sale was the answer to that prayer.

So thank you to each one of you that contributed your time, your stuff that was sitting useless in the corner, or came and shopped.  Not only did you help us to raise money to bring our kiddos home, but you also became a part of something bigger, something eternal, to potentially change the course of lives of people living on 16th street.

So, now for the part that you all have been waiting for. The GRAND TOTAL that we raised this weekend was:


So THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!  Only God could have taken our pile of leftovers and turned it into that! 


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