So excited for you all to hear from Jen Maurer and her precious family...
Shawn is from northeast Ohio and I [Jen] am from southeast Indiana, and the two of us met in college in Kentucky. We were married in 2005 and spent five years ministering in Winston-Salem, NC before moving to Texas in 2010 where Shawn currently serves as the Lead Student Pastor of Compass Christian Church. Adoption and fostering has been on both of our hearts since we were dating, and we both knew that it would one day be something we'd pursue. God spoke to each of us separately and distinctly about a year ago, and we realized that the time to begin this part of our journey was now. Shawn's degree and experiences in student ministry combined with my degree and experiences in Counseling/Psychology have culminated in us hearts that break for the most vulnerable in our society - children in the foster care system. We feel called to walk through the pain, hurt, neglect, abuse, and prayerfully - healing with the children God has prepared for us.
Our family will be officially licensed on December 4th, which was an arduous process unto itself! However, I think the most challenging aspect of our preparation so far has been working with our boys to understand what is about to happen. Our six year old [Jude] understands why children would be put in foster care and understands that our family can help, love, and serve those children, but also seems to think that all a child would need is a week or so of kind words and they'll be "good as new." Helping him see that the healing process is long, slow, and often even unseen has been challenging. Our four year old son [Cohen] is excited about the prospect of having a foster brother or sister, although we're still working to help him understand that his new sibling will require significant patience, gentleness, kindness, and selflessness. That's a hard lesson for many adults to get...much less a 4 year old!
One of our greatest concerns in entering this process was our need for a support system. Our families live across the country, and we knew we'd need help, support, and understanding to parent our foster children [as well as Jude and Cohen] well. As we took our first steps in paperwork and training, Shawn and I began praying earnestly for a support system. I can remember crying on my knees, pleading with God and telling Him we couldn't do it alone. Within the hour, my phone began blowing up with friends offering their help and support - friends who were willing to be certified to babysit our foster children, friends who were happy to watch Jude and Cohen so we could make all of our training sessions, and friends who were offering encouragement and prayers. I've seen God provide over and over in many ways at each junction of our journey. Just when I get overwhelmed and think I'm not going to be able to make it through the next step, He reminds me of His faithfulness and everlasting love.
We're not exactly sure when we'll get the call for a placement, but it's looking like we'll have a placement by Christmas. I can't help but think about Joseph in the days after Mary's labor. He was looking at a sweet boy. A sweet boy who wasn't biologically connected to him. During Mary's pregnancy, I wonder if he questioned if he'd be able to love that baby. I wonder if he thought he'd have a hard time raising a child he didn't help make, or worried about feeling resentful. But I think as he looked at Jesus' tiny fingers, any worries he'd had surely vanished. God called Joseph to adopt and raise His son, and Joseph submitted to that call. And the world will never be the same.
My favorite quote, my battle cry, my anthem is from Derek Loux. "My friends, adoption is redemption. It's costly, exhausting, expensive, and outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed Him."
Our family blog:
All profit from the December Give Scarf will go directly to the Maurer family to help fund their foster care and adoption process. Thank you so much for your generosity. Stock up on Christmas gifts, tell your friends and help us share with the Maurers! Here is this month's Give Scarf: