Dear Students in Youth Ministry (Part Three)

In November, I announced that I would be resigning in March of 2017. With a sweet baby boy on the way, I am both excited and very sad – excited to meet the love of our life and very sad to leave my first kids.

I’ve posted two pieces over the last three years about “what I want my youth kiddos to know” (here and here), but this one is special. This one has taken me months to write, with many tears shed in the process.

So here we go.

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a letter to my empty nursery

There is a spare room in our house that has been many things.

a storage space for unopened dishes, Christmas decorations, an old TV

a guest bedroom

and now a nursery

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The room is beautiful. My husband and I bought and assembled furniture, hung shelves and picture frames, and decorated until it felt right. And it does. It feels right.

The room is beautiful, but it is empty. We have at least two and a half more months of classes, paperwork, and inspections before we become licensed foster parents, and after that, who knows? After that, we wait for the phone to ring.

Our empty nursery is, for now, a symbol of hope.

But for many, an empty nursery is a symbol of grief.

The loss of a child in the early stages of development.

The struggle to conceive or to carry a child to term.

The child who has outgrown his crib, his high chair, his infancy.

The death of a young child.

The reunification of a foster child with her birth family.

The “waiting game”, whether it be conception or adoption.

When I stand in the doorway, I say a prayer for all the empty nurseries. I pray for all the mamas – already mamas, soon-to-be mamas, trying-to-be mamas, foster mamas, adoptive mamas.

May God be with you as you mourn.

For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep. …and so we will always be with the Lord.

(1 Thessalonians 4:14,17b)

May He be with you as you struggle.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.

(James 1:2-4, 12)

May He be with you as you wait.

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,

    to the soul who seeks Him.

(Lamentations 3:25)

May He be with all of you sweet, strong mamas, and may our nurseries be filled with peace.

First comes love, then comes marriage…

I sat in a coffee shop in La Grange, carefully filling out page after page of paperwork. I used my best handwriting. I occasionally asked questions or double-checked details with Jon. Social security number, level of education, number of pets – all things I was prepared to answer. After almost two hours, I finally flipped to the last page and read this question:

“Why do you wish to be a foster or adoptive parent?”

It isn’t that I haven’t thought about it. As a matter of fact, it’s all I’ve thought about for months, ever since Jon and I said, “Let’s do this.” We have talked about fostering and adopting for years, since before we were married, since before we were even seriously dating. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, being asked why.

There’s just something about seeing it typed on a form, surrounded by factual questions and check boxes.

So here goes.

I have never really felt the urge to have a child biologically. Or, if so, it was short-lived. Maybe a month after Jon and I were married, my friend Ali and I talked about pregnancy and all the beautiful expectant mothers on our social media feeds. Ali looked me up and down, squinted a little, and shook her head.

“I can’t see you pregnant.”

Me neither. At least, not at this point in my life.

But I can see us with a child.

There is nothing so wonderful about my DNA that I feel the need to share with a child. The one thing that I do want to share can be found in Ephesians 1:

In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved.  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight… In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory.

(Ephesians 1:4-8, 11-12)

We wish to become foster or adoptive parents because we feel called to respond to the Gospel in this way. We don’t know a lot yet, but we know that it will be a long process. We know that we will grieve and share in the grief of these children. We know that the devil will work to derail us at our weakest, most vulnerable moments.

But we also know that God is faithful.

He is faithful as we wait.

He will be faithful when we grieve.

And He was faithful long ago, when He gave His only Son to defeat sin, death, and the devil, so that we could not only be rescued but also become sons and daughters of a faithful Father.

Great is Thy faithfulness.

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Announcing…

Dear family and friends,

Jon and I have recently decided to begin the adoption process.

We are specifically interested in adopting from foster care. This means that we may become temporary parents to children who will eventually be reunited with their birth families. We do hope to adopt, and we trust that God will provide. Our prayer is that God is also providing us as parents to these children who desperately need safety, stability, and unconditional love.

There are several emotions that immediately come to mind when we talk about this process:

  • Total freaking-out-is-this-real-life
  • Anxiety about keeping a child alive and healthy and happy
  • But mostly excitement!

This is just the beginning. We are starting months of paperwork, inspections, home studies, counseling, etc. And we are asking you, our family and friends, to be involved in the best way – through prayer. Please be in prayer for us and for all children in the foster care system, especially those who come through our home.

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

(Galatians 4:5-7)

I will continue to post updates and details here on the blog. Feel free to contact us with questions – we are more than happy to share!

Joy in Jesus,

Jon & Emily

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The “adoption triad”: three sides (one for the child, one for the birth family, and one for the adoptive family) intertwined with love.

 

Smile for the camera

Hello, friends!

Recently, a friend/former classmate asked if I would be interested in writing for a small online publication called The Gospel Economist. When my first article posted earlier this week, several people asked if I had decided to switch over to Medium as my blogging outlet. Nope! While I will be contributing to The Gospel Economist on Medium, I will also continue to post here on WordPress. I absolutely love writing this little blog, and I appreciate each and every one of you readers.

P.S. Need more blog suggestions? Check out these blogs written by Kyle Jones and Emilie Finke, and be sure to look for their articles on The Gospel Economist in the upcoming weeks.

P.P.S. Head on over to Medium to read my first article, called Candid Grace. Spoiler alert: I talk about how awesome my husband is. Double spoiler alert: I also talk about how awesome Jesus is.

Okay, folks. It’s that time of year again – time for the 2nd annual Fraker family portraits! Thank you to Alison Beck for her stunning photos, as usual, and for driving across the Walburg countryside for a solid hour. So, without further ado…

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Love to all from Jon, Emily, and Penny! ❤