Kalei Thompson – In March of 2018, I was living the dream. I was months away from my college graduation where I would receive my Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. Exactly one week from graduation day I would marry the man of my dreams. We had everything planned. It was perfect. Too perfect. So perfect that the Holy Spirit was unrelenting in His conviction that there was more to life than this comfy, traditional lifestyle.

One of these idyllic evenings, I finally shared this ache in my heart with someone near and dear to me, my older sister.

“I have been convicted lately and am considering asking Miller if we could apply to be foster parents. So much has been brought to my attention about the need for foster parents in SC. I’ve been reading a blog called the Jason Johnson blog and my heart is broken for the kids in the foster care system. It’s all I can think about. I have seen the love our family has to offer. We love with a vibrant love…wholeheartedly, completely and totally, forever. The kind of love that changes people for the better. If that’s the kind of love I know we have inside of us…why shouldn’t we take it and share it with these kids who know NO LOVE? Have NO ONE?”

My face was flush, cheeks hot, eyes heavy. The tears came that I had held in for many days. I still think of the words we exchanged on the hard, pressing days this foster care journey brings.

The Holy Spirit continued to nudge my fiance and I separately until finally we shared these individual experiences with one another. We decided to pray about it. James 1:27 kept me up at night. After being married for one month, in June 2018, we submitted our application to become foster parents.

Our life has been anything but comfy since. The last five years have been abundant, beautiful, blessed and also chaotic, torrential, and challenging.

We have learned about trusting the Lord’s will, exercising patience, and where true peace is found. Above all, we are sustained by the Father each step of the way and know He goes before us always. We are now one month away from the adoption date for all three of our kids!

We transitioned from two foster kids to three in July 2021 after accepting placement of a one week old baby girl, Anna Grace, from the NICU.

Several months later, I received a letter from her biological mother. Heartbroken, I pored over the letter and wept over the experiences that led her to this place. Until this point in our foster care journey, my husband and I had kept biological family at arm’s length. It was uncharted waters for us to know and love her in addition to the precious child she birthed. We were afraid.
But the Holy Spirit made it clear that we were to do exactly that: know and love her.

As Miller and I got to know her more personally, we discussed the best possible outcome for Anna Grace’s future and resolved to enter an open adoption. It was by God’s grace I was able to take the stand and testify that I loved this birth mom more than I ever set out to, admittedly, and this same grace was on the judge’s face as she commended biological mom for her selflessness.

 

Each week as a foster family brings its own set of unique challenges. With appointments, bio visits, court dates, etc., it can be hard to provide the consistent routine our children long for. It’s why we hold firmly to familiar routines in our home.

When our oldest broke her arm on a Monday night in 2021, the usually strict routine hit a tailspin. Big emotions were felt from all members of our family. Our foster son began to seek any attention he could find, positive or negative. Our foster daughter worked through frustrations of losing independence while wearing her cast. And the icing on the cake: I started running a fever in the middle of a pandemic. As a nurse. Working in the COVID units. We were hitting our breaking point quickly.

AND THEN. One of the members of our care community arrived with our weekly meal, creating space for us to show extra attention and re-establish our routine. Words of encouragement, wisdom, and prayer were poured over us and granted us peace amidst turbulent circumstances. With full bellies, we all seemed to think more rationally and focus on what our family needed. As time passed, our team remained as constant support. The teenagers in our group even volunteered to give us nights out while they babysat.

When we began fostering five years ago, we prayed specifically for people to walk the journey with us. We have learned through our experience with our care community that the Lord loves to answer prayers with people.

Our care community encompasses what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We are overwhelmed with thanksgiving at how they have held us up and answered God’s call for their lives.

They make it possible for us to answer the call on ours as well. I hope we have been the answer to others’ prayers like they have been to us.

My challenge to others is this: whose prayer may you be the answer to? What role could you play in answering another’s prayers for support, friendship, or love?

Possum Trot movie poster.