An “Ordinary” Woman Impacting Little Lives in Safe Families

This Friday I am highlighting another friend I met on the journey of adoption. Natalie and I were able to meet in real life at the Influence Conference and I even got to stay in her house! Most of you more than likely have not heard of Safe Families, so keep reading to learn more about this nation-wide program working towards keeping families together during times of crisis!

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We never planned to have little people use the things we carefully and expectedly purchased for our adopted twin sons. But as our adoption process continues on with what seems most days like no end in sight, that’s what has happened. And I’m so grateful.

My husband and I are adopting twin boys from Central Africa. All signs pointed to them being home months ago. Because of this, our home slowly became filled with used children’s books, toddler clothes, and little boy toys. The cribs we wanted went on sale, so we bought two. We thought the time was near, so sweet friends and family hosted baby showers. We moved recently and underwent the rather painful process of setting up our sons’ room with no sons to sleep in it.

But I believe God was working ahead of us on that one.

Several months ago, we heard about Safe Families. Safe Families is a faith-based program available to families in times of crisis. Parents and caretakers voluntarily place their children with approved Safe Families. A case coach works with the parent to establish and meet goals while the host family meets the day-to-day needs of the children. It’s meant to prevent children from coming into foster care. And I’ve now seen firsthand how it truly does.

As a foster care social worker, I was honestly pretty critical of the program upon first learning of it. But I read more about the program, and I loved what I read.

My schedule was about to open up in new ways that would allow far more flexibility and much more time at home. I looked around at the books and clothes and toys we had, and I decided I didn’t want to see them sit around. We didn’t feel equipped to be foster parents at this time, but we did feel that Safe Families was something we could do, despite being young, having little-to-no parenting experience, and a very modest income.

I contacted our local branch, and we started the process of becoming a Safe Family.

In the past six months, we have hosted four sweet, funny, unique kids — three toddlers and a baby. They’ve all been with us between one to three weeks at a time. Our first placement, a two-year-old boy, rocked my world. He wore the clothes I thought only my sons would wear. He broke their toys. He tested my patience. He said “tank you” in the sweetest little voice.

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He called me “mommy” despite us explaining to him that my name was “Natalie.” I surprised myself when I cried after learning his momma was ready to have him back after one week. Then, I realized he was the first kid to ever call me “mom.” And I never dreamed the first would be a kid that wasn’t even mine.

My husband and I have loved ever single opportunity we’ve had to host these sweet kids from hard circumstances. It’s a joy to see their personalities come out after the layers of uncertainty and mistrust come off. We still talk about the cute ways they said certain phrases and look at the special pictures we have of them. We talk the ears off anyone who shows even the slightest interest in becoming a host family.

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It has been a joy and a challenge to lovingly support and pray for each of their mommas. I’ve been surprised and encouraged by how transparent they have been about their struggles. They loved to be prayed for, and we’ve been happy to do it. I admire them deeply for the ways they have sought help when faced with circumstances leaving them unable to give 100% to their kids.

I didn’t expect to fall more in love with my husband by participating in Safe Families, but I have. And God has just left me even more excited to parent alongside my husband for years to come.

Every day has not been Pinterest-worthy crafts at the kitchen table and dreamy fall walks at the park. I have gotten easily exhausted and frustrated. I have felt ill-equipped to parent kids I’ve only just met. I have ached deeper for my own sons than I ever had before. I have questioned the impact God is having of these families. And I have worried about what the future may hold for these sweet little faces.

So, we pray. We pray that more families would answer the call to host kids from hard circumstances. We pray that parents would seek resources they need and follow through with the services they receive. We pray these kids would feel well-loved during the short time they’re in our home. We pray families would see God through us. And we pray He would protect and make Himself increasingly known to these sweet ones.

Learn more about Safe Families and determine whether or not there is a branch near you!
Natalie blogs at little things + big stuff about adoption, foster care, faith, and married life. She’s a social worker in Midwest, married to her favorite person, a medical resident. They’re adopting twin toddlers from Central Africa.

Comments

  1. Thank you for highlighting Safe Families!! It is a wonderful program. We have hosted about 12 kids through it, and I blog about it here: http://www.wegotourhandsfull.com I would encourage everyone to check it out!

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  1. […] friend Sarah asked me to share our experience with Safe Families on her blog today, and I happily agreed. I want there to be more host families. Safe Families […]

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