Our dream for Christmas day as of 8 months ago, was to have a very full house, surrounded by little ones who had lost everything. We dreamed of giving them the most incredible Christmas they had ever had that was full of gifts, laughter, love and unending NOISE from the many little faces and pitter pattering feet. But today looks very different then we had hoped for. I am currently sitting in my quiet house, all alone on Christmas day, just waiting for my son to wake up from nap so we can join the rest of our family. Typically when you think of someone being all alone on Christmas it sounds like sad thing. HOWEVER, I am very much enjoying this much needed silence. We had big hopes of having our foster kiddos by now, but fully trusting the Lord and His timing. Due to another very unexpected blessing in the Phillips household, we are having to halt our foster care dream for a couple more months. We are still incredibly excited to start this road of being able bless lots of littles, but the Lord has made it clear that the time is not quite yet. Thank you again & again for all of you who have been praying and continually asked about our progress. We truly feel blessed. Merriest Christmas to you all. I pray Gods favor over you and yours.
‘Do you have foster kids yet? Are you any closer to getting them? Did you get everything you needed?’ Along with all the love & support we have gotten in the past few months, also have come these three questions. Well I am excited to say that we are closer then ever! This summer has been a tad crazy in the Phillips household and we were forced to slow down the process a bit. But we are going head strong and almost done. I have been saying for the past 6 months that ‘We are 1 to 2 months away from getting kids’… little did we know that it would take us this long. However, we really ARE 1 to 2 months away now. YAY. We are just so excited for this journey to begin and to meet the little faces of the kids whose lives we could forever change. I pray for those little ones everyday. Whether it be 1 or 100 lives we are able to touch over the years, we are ready!
What an incredible outpouring of love we received when we first told our story. Within 9 days time we had every single item checked off our list. Everything from towels to video monitors were taken care of. Within those 9 days we received so many phone calls and emails, from family, friends and complete strangers. Numerous times we got $50 gift cards showing up at my door from people we had never met before. A brand new dresser straight from the store by a girl who we barely knew. I would burst into tears (seriously) every time an item was checked off our list. We believed that the Lord would provide, but WHOA, we never saw that coming! We added up the costs of everything we were needing, if we were to have bought every piece of furniture used, off craigslist and all the rest at stores like Goodwill and Ross, we would have spent around $2200. Much more of course if everything were brand new. How much did we end up spending??? A whopping $8.00. Yes you read that right, EIGHT DOLLARS. What seemed impossible to our bank account, was made possible with the help of many big hearts! We will forever be grateful, and tearful, when looking back on all the help and encouragement we got. So the biggest thank you goes out again and again.
When we agreed that Foster care was the path we wanted to take, we were warned that Satan would work hard to try and destroy our dream. Shining the light of Jesus into anyones life stirs up the enemy, so shining it into many lives, well, we knew we were in for it. We were prepared that we would face more trying times then we ever had before… And we most certainly have! In the past month as we are seeing the finish line in sight (no coincidence I might add), we have had so much heartbreak unravel making us want to throw in the towel. All within a 3 week span, a woman tried to commit suicide by jumping in front of my car (with my kids inside), my best friends baby died, our dog jumped through our front window and almost died in surgery, my grandpa passed away & the same day my husband was diagnosed with a heart disease. I can not even begin to explain the amount of tears that has poured out of this home in the past month. It felt as though the bad news would never end. But what did we do? We wiped away our many many tears, took a deep breath and got straight back on the horse. The enemy WILL NOT win. He WILL NOT steal our joy. I once read, “You can stand this stormy season if you know it won’t rain forever. You most certainly have hurt, but because of Jesus you also have hope. So don’t be discouraged.” There is so much power in that. It is because of Jesus that we can walk in and through the rain, because JOY comes in the morning. If you live as though you may have a stormy season soon, you will never fully live. And if you stop living because of the storm, then you will never grow. In this house we are choosing to grow. We are choosing to live. We are choosing to have hope. Fear is not welcome…But foster kids are! ;)
As a young girl I would often cry myself to sleep, out of fear that Christ would return before I was able to become a mother. Even as a 3 year old I wanted to experience motherhood more then anything. My mom would calm me by saying “perhaps Jesus will allow you to be in charge of the Orphanage in Heaven when that day comes”. Immediately my heart would settle and that brought me much joy. This ‘orphanage’ conversation lodged deep in my heart, never to be forgotten.
For as long as I can remember, I have few memories where I wasn’t directly presented with the idea of Adoption. Whether it be from missionaries, commercials, friends or even eavesdropping neighboring tables at restaurants. The Lord continually put people in my life who helped to further my passion to care for the orphans. At the age of 17, I set off to Panama on a missions trip and was instantly broken by the needs of the children. How could you not be moved when standing in such poverty and yet captivated by the pure beauty in the faces of these little ones? It was there that I met my husband, Tyler. Our entire journey together began while being surrounded by babies and children who were in need of homes… Homes that would ultimately shine JESUS.
So here we are, almost exactly 10 years later, Ty and I have been happily married for nearly 5 of those and have two beautiful children of our own. Just as life started to get comfy, the Lord called us to change it entirely (and nothing short of dramatic, if I might add). We knew it was THAT time, time to adopt! Starting down the path to adoption was scary, with many unknowns and fears. Pregnancy I understood. Pregnancy I had been through. Pregnancy I had survived (though I still don’t know how). But adoption? We were instantly full of a million and one questions. At times, okay a lot of times, I feel like it would be easier and less stressful to just make baby #3 the good old fashion way. However, Ty and I both know that is not what we are called to in this season of life. The uneasy, messy, frightening, and yet obedient season, that is the one we are following hard after!
Once we had fully accepted this calling, the 50+ page applications, interviews and hours & hours of training began rolling. Saying we were excited was an understatement! However, little did we know, that the Lord would throw a huge wrench in the mix and completely redirect our hearts and our passion. While sitting in one of the classes one day, it took everything within me to keep from weeping loudly. I knew my heart was changing, but was my husbands? What if my desires were being called one direction and yet my husbands be pulled another? But we all know that we serve a God who is so much bigger then that. We broke for lunch and my husband and I drove in complete silence. He didn’t know what was going through my mind, but he could tell that if I spoke a single word then I would have tears bursting out of every part of face. There were was no sadness in those tears, just amazement at how loudly the Lord was speaking and redirecting the Phillips family. Finally, we sat at the table, and the first thing out of Ty’s mouth were the exact words I was hoping to hear, “Court, I want to be a foster parent more then anything”. As you can guess, my tears came flooding out. I do believe that I had the entire restaurants attention.
Foster parents? What? That came at us from left field. That is even more scary then the original idea of adoption. You hear horror stories of foster parenting… So why in the world would we want to take on that beast of a job?! A job with unending stress, frustrating court dates, irresponsible birth parents and zero reward? Why you ask??? TO SHINE JESUS. Not only in the little lives of these terribly broken children, but also in all the case workers, parents and judges, all of whom we would see almost weekly. Not a day has passed since then that i have not completely broke down in tears. In the car, my house, the grocery store, wherever… I begin to literally weep for these people and for the huge opportunity we will have to share of Christ and to be a light. This will have great challenges, more then I am probably even prepared for… but who says it doesn’t have reward?! Shining Jesus IS reward! To be able to unconditionally love these children with nothing in return, IS reward!
So once again, we are neck deep with paperwork, licensing, classes and turning our house upside down to prepare for the arrival of these children. When we originally set out to adopt, we were thinking one child, which a slim chance of taking two. However, we are officially OFF OUR ROCKERS and feel that our house is to be a home were siblings don’t have to be split. Meaning that we are prepping our house with FOUR new beds. Feel free to call us crazy! When Christ calls you to something you have two choices, you can run or you can accept the calling knowing that in HIM we find strength. Ty and I are choosing to not end up like Jonah, and instead are facing this giant head on! As you can imagine, the enemy has already been HARD at work to keep us from this and to scare us away… but guess what, its not working! Blood, sweat and tears (lots of them), here we come!
Taking in up to four new children has its expenses as you can probably imagine. Beds, mattress, sheets etc. But the Lord IS providing. Whenever one more item gets checked off our list, I burst into tears. It has been so incredible watching Him work in order to get our house ready, so that we can be His hands. We have approximately two months to get physically and emotionally ready for this life changing experience. So pretty much we need as much prayer and support as humanly possible. Following the voice of the Lord is so exciting and yet we are terrified! There are so many unknown circumstances. Our prayer request would be broken down into several things. One, that the Lord will prepare the four of us for the good and the bad of what is to come. Two, that the Lord will equip us with all the right tools to walk these very broken and confused kids through this hard road. Three, that we would have endless oppotunity to share Jesus. And four, for the Lords provision, that our finances would be overflowing in order to make our house a home for these children.
We have a feeling that we have not even seen the worst of what being overwhelmed even means. Entering into this world of fostering is going to bring more challenges then we know what to do with. But we are believing, that since the Lord so clearly called us, that He will also give us the ability to walk forward everyday and that somehow, every morning that we wake up, will have MORE strength and MORE patience then we know what to do with.
At times I look at what we are trying to accomplish and I feel that it is nearly impossible. However, we all know that when you are serving Jesus, impossible is not in the dictionary. The crazy thing is that we have nothing but complete peace. We have no doubts in my mind that He will provide, down to the very last detail, all the things that we are needing.
So here we go, the very beginning of this crazy, life changing journey. Where will it lead? No idea. But so grateful that Christ does and that there is no reason to fear. In Him we find our strength.
-The Phillips Four-