Called To Love: Saying yes to adoption and foster care

Written by Somer Colbert
Published on September 22, 2023

On a sunny February morning, my husband and I stood in a judge’s chamber holding a beautiful, tiny bundle with a head full of wavy black hair. Having spent the last two weekends in the hospital, once for a terrifying head injury for my son, and the other to watch as another woman gave birth to a child I now call my daughter, I was elated and exhausted in every way. Surrounded by family, we took vows before a judge (much like our wedding day) to love, protect, and provide for this baby girl, giving her the same birth rights as our biological sons. I didn’t even attempt to hold back the tears as my dreams of having  a daughter had finally  become reality. Finally, I was holding the one I had been called to love. But I didn’t understand this was just the beginning of a lifelong journey that would teach, stretch, and grow me beyond what I could imagine. 

The call to love

What comes to your mind when you hear the word adoption? Do you picture airport arrival scenes complete with “Welcome Home” signs, balloons, and smiling faces? Maybe you picture the ‘old days’ where a mom and dad visit an orphanage, instantly connect with their perfect child, and whisk them away to a happily ever after. 

The reality of adoption is so much more than a Hallmark ideal. Its very existence is the result of a broken family and a need for restoration. When one family is created through adoption, another family is separated. Each year, there are over 100,000 children adopted domestically, internationally, and through foster care. Recent statistics show there are an estimated 5 million adoptees nationwide with nearly 2 million families currently pursuing or waiting for a successful adoption. This means the brokenness of adoption is part of the story for 1 in 25 Americans. And where there is brokenness, the body of Christ is called to act and to love. 

Each of us is called to love God, love others, and share Jesus. For those who are called to adoption and foster care, that calling takes on a whole new meaning as we navigate a very unique and beautiful path. There are days when the path is smooth and the scenery is lovely. There are others where it feels like the strength for another step cannot possibly be mustered. 

Whether you feel stuck in the endless cycle of waiting for your child to join your family, or whether the realities of trauma or special needs overwhelm you, it’s helpful to look back and remember when you were called to love. To remember when God gently whispered to your heart and nudged you toward that step of opening your heart and life to adoption.

Landmarks of remembrance

In the Old Testament, Scripture talks about ebenezers. These were landmarks placed in the location where God last audibly spoke or gave direction to his people. The landmarks served to remind them of his love, his presence, and his provision for their lives. Like God’s people, these landmarks of remembrance in your heart and mind as an adoptive or foster parent can give you the strength you need to persevere when the days are hard and the path seems too difficult. 

You’ve probably heard it many times, but it bears repeating—God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called. Let me share something I wish I understood much earlier in my journey: because God has called you to this, your journey of being qualified will carry on for the rest of your life. But the good news is, he is there to guide you as you parent your children. He is the author of your faith and the Creator of your family. He has called you, Christian parent, for such a time as this to steward and shepherd precious lives for the purpose of pointing your children to him. 

For our family, our calling has meant multiple processes, closed doors, thousands lost, and offering our hearts to children we will never know this side of heaven. But it also continues to teach us what a call to love truly means:

Learning to trust God in a new way 

Learning to love in an entirely different way

Learning a new language of trauma and culture not known to us

Learning how to respond instead of react when the world around us doesn’t always understand 

Learning a new way to parent as God continues to parent us along the way

More than twenty years ago, God planted a seed in my heart that would eventually lead me to say “yes” when the call came to be matched with our daughter. We were meant to be a family and go on this journey together. I can look back and remember when God clearly told me to take my first step down the path of adoption. I can see all the ways he provided, and I can praise him for his faithfulness even on the hardest days. If you are an adoptive or foster parent, I pray you will take a moment to reflect on the calling God placed in your heart, praise him for his work in your family, and cling to him each step of the way. He is writing a beautiful story through your family and it doesn’t stop at the courtroom or airport arrival scene. Testimonies are forged through your obedience and the way you love. Keep showing up and keep saying yes to your call to love.

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Somer Colbert

Somer Colbert is a writer, speaker and host of the Love Where You Are podcast. She is the Director of Adoption and Foster Care Ministry at Crosschurch and Connected Champion with the Arkansas Baptist Children and Family Ministries where she creates support, awareness and advocacy for families seeking to serve in the areas of adoption and foster care. She creates weekly podcast episodes and resources to equip and empower Christian families to identify their influence for the gospel in every season, live life on mission and share Jesus right where they are.  Somer is passionate about equipping spiritually healthy families and seeing a movement of God’s people step into confidence in their ability to change the world around them through the way they love! 

She resides in Arkansas with her husband, three kids and three dogs. She’s obsessed with British docudramas and cooking shows and can always be found with a cup of hot tea in hand. Her life has been forever changed by the love of Jesus, marriage to her favorite person, parenting her crazy crew and walking multiple adoption journeys. 

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