Our journey of foster care and adoption did more than grow our family. It also grew our faith in God, who asked us to release our children to his care. We discovered that in letting go, we gained more than we ever imagined.
We sat white-knuckled in family court that Good Friday, listening to the judge making plans for our foster son’s future. “Max” had been with us for over two years. He was knitted as closely into our hearts as if he’d been born to us. The decision that day? Caseworkers were ordered to explore placement with unknown relatives several states away. We died on the inside as we faced the possibility of never seeing Max again.
Later that day my daughters and I stepped into our church’s prayer garden. Crying and devastated, we begged God to keep Max safe and bring peace to our fears. The girls left toy cars at the foot of the wooden cross as a symbol of their prayers. When my husband saw those little cars during his own visit to the prayer garden, he broke down.
God’s answer was not what I expected. He didn’t make Max’s journey simple or smooth—the road held many months of twists and turns before it was over. But what He did say was, Give him to Me. On the day we remembered the Father giving up His only Son, we were asked to lay our precious child down.
Releasing Max to the Lord began a transformation in my walk of faith.
It taught me to pray like never before.
In this situation where I was so helpless, I could fall on God’s strength in prayer. I sang songs of blessing over Max as I tucked him into his crib. I’d plead for the Lord to grant him safety, salvation, and security. As I held him in my arms I would beg for strength to give him up. I needed the Spirit to give me a willing heart to obey whatever the Lord required. Constant prayer–and praying the Word–were the only way to align my heart and mind with His.
It exposed my attitude that our other four children were “mine.”
Holding on so tightly to my kids created anxiety, thinking their well-being and futures rested on my shoulders. The stress kept me frustrated and controlling much of the time. Putting them back in God’s hands set me free to enjoy them more fully. It allowed me to accept them as the unique individuals they are. Grace flowed in so I could better meet them in their strength and weakness, success and struggles. Pressure gave way to peace as I learned to trust God with each of them.
Releasing our child to God revealed my pride.
I was so sure I was the best mother Max could have. Of course I knew what was best for him—he’d been in our home his entire life. I thought I could do a better job of loving him than God could. Placing Max in God’s hands forced me to trust Him completely and take Him at His Word:
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
The judge could never separate Max from God’s perfect love, even if he was separated from ours.
It opened my eyes to see God’s power.
Our journey became even more difficult as time moved on. Obstacles to adoption piled one upon another, building a wall only the Lord could break through. Moving through the prayers and efforts of friends, dedicated caseworkers, loved ones, and our church family, God gave Max a permanent place in our home. Looking back, we can simply say, “Only God.”
The adoption process was only one chapter in the story of Max’s life with our family. (And our foster care experience meant saying goodbye to other precious little ones who will hold our hearts forever.) We still have to release him–and all of our children–to God’s loving care every day. Whether it’s health issues or academic challenges, emotional needs and hurts, or his gifts and dreams for the future, God is the One with perfect love and power to move him forward.
Rob and I are grateful for the school of prayer we have experienced as Max’s parents. We pray that you, too, will discover the freedom and joy found in placing your children in God’s hands. Connect with us and share how we can lift you up in whatever season of “letting go” you find yourself in today.
This story was originally posted by Kristi Woods, who offers encouragement and resources to meet God in every part of your life.