A Heart for LJ

In Fall 2017, my sister and her husband took in their employee’s girlfriend and her one-month-old baby boy, who I will refer to as LJ. There were serious safety issues and CFS wanted the mom and baby to stay together.

I met LJ a few days later, and the moment I laid eyes on him, something connected. I felt like God was going to do something significant. I had talked to my husband, Stephane several times about the possibility of fostering and every time the conversation would end with him saying, “We have 3 boys already. Why would I want to raise a stranger’s child?”

LJ was in my sister’s care for months, so I would get to see him weekly. I would hold him and love on him for those moments not knowing what the future would hold. I kept praying that God would either soften Stephane’s heart or change mine.

Not a lot of people knew this was all going on, but I did have a small group of ladies praying with me and over me through the waiting.

When LJ was 7 months old, too many concerns had risen and CFS apprehended him for the third time, which meant he needed a home. I instantly contacted Stephane and told him LJ needed a home and to just pray about it. I said if he just prayed about it and GOD told him no, I would let it go and pray that God would find a different home to love on LJ.

The next morning, I woke up and Stephane told me I should contact the social worker. I was shocked and asked what happened. He said he opened his devotions that morning and there was a reading about foster kids and how so many kids needed homes. He said in that moment he knew God was calling us to be a foster family for LJ.

That evening we had a family meeting with our kids and asked if we had room for another child. Of course, the boys instantly got excited about taking LJ into our home - they always wanted another brother! I contacted LJs social worker and two days later we picked him up.

Our youngest was 5 years-old, so getting a baby was almost a shock. I knew this is what God had called us to do, but the first couple of weeks were really hard. In a moment, it felt like all my freedom was taken away. I had prayed for LJ and I wanted him, but when reality sank in it was overwhelming. Stephane had said yes to taking in LJ, but he didn’t really want anything to do with him. Other family members, although supportive of us, found it hard to accept LJ.

I had a scheduled prophetic prayer time at our church and a woman who didn’t know me came over to pray for me. The minute she started praying, I knew God was using her to speak to me. She started off with how incredibly pleased God was of us for obeying him and stepping out. She prayed over me and mentioned everything I had been struggling with. I left filled with God’s peace knowing he would carry me through this.

As time went on, I joined a foster and adoptive moms’ group as I had no clue how to navigate CFS and what having kids in care meant. These ladies were huge supports to me and I am so thankful for the way they encouraged me and guided me.

Over the next several months, I saw God changing Stephane’s heart from not wanting LJ to saying if anyone tries to take him away, he would fight for him till the end.

When LJ was a year-and-a-half, CFS went to court to decide LJ’s future. Court days always made me nervous and anxious, but God always met me those mornings in my devotions with peace.

On December 14, 2018, I got a call from my social worker saying LJ was granted permanency in the system and the judge granted us to raise him till he was 18 plus! She said she had never seen that before and was shocked. I literally started crying and I picked up LJ and held him, dancing and jumping up and down. He giggled but had no idea what had happened.

CFS is such a broken system. I have seen that firsthand, as it has been a constant fight on LJ’s behalf. Our world is constantly being disrupted with new info or new ideas that we just have to roll with it, even if we think they don’t make sense. My first concern is always LJ and making sure he feels unconditional love and belonging. We have had LJ for 3 ½ years now and have had numerous social workers and lots of ups and downs with this broken system and I just keep praying God’s favor on our family as we walk this journey.

When we first got LJ, my mom said that God never calls us to easy, but that he has called us to hard. The hard places are where we lean on him and he truly has shown his grace and power.

This is just a tiny bit of what our journey has been. The day we got LJ our lives were changed forever and for the better! When you have your own biological children, you are instantly given a ton of love for each child. When adding a child into your home that you didn’t give birth too, you have to actually learn and chose to love that child. LJ is such an amazing child - I have seen my own husband and family members grow to love him unconditionally!

Our story is far from over and I still have lots of anxiety dealing with CFS, but I am so thankful to look back and see how far God has carried us and how he has never left us but shown his faithfulness!

If you would like to send Melissa a message, email sisterhoodunitedcontact@gmail.com and put her name in the subject line!

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