Two Worlds, One Family

On my birthday, we found ourselves lost in a beautiful tree house in the mountains of Northern Thailand. As we sat on our porch surrounded by the trees, and listening to the sound of the birds, I looked at my husband and said, “This is right out of the Disney movie Tarzan!” The same tree house (with a bonus of a jacuzzi) and the extensive boughs that Tarzan would glide on. Later that evening, our 3-year-old nephew called to say happy birthday and asked why we were in the jungle like Tarzan. How could he possibly know? I was certain this meant more. Over the coming months, this became a recurring theme.

If you haven’t watched the movie, Tarzan is a movie with an adoption/foster care theme. Two worlds, one family. Tarzan lost his parents when he was an infant and was raised by Kala, an ape. As he grew older, he learned valuable lessons from the troop of gorillas while trying to understand his own identity. Despite the obvious differences, his mother Kala raised him with love and acceptance. And even the loud disagreement from the leader of the pack, her own husband, couldn’t stop her. 

A month before my birthday, Jabez and I put in our paperwork to become foster parents. Ever since, I’ve dreamed of singing to our future babies. The primary purpose of foster care is to provide a safe, stable and nurturing environment for children living outside a family. Given the circumstances and the law, we will be a family to children waiting to be adopted. As foster parents, our job is to love them, take care of them, walk them through the process and transition of adoption and prepare them to be with their forever families as much as possible. And then, we must step back and say goodbye. 

Often, the first question we get asked is what’s the point if we don’t get to keep the child? We believe that every child deserves a family. The reality is that there are millions of orphaned children in our world today who deserve nothing less than our greatest efforts and, despite that, less than 1% of those kids are ever adopted. The least we can do is consistently love a child while he or she waits to be adopted into their forever family. Long story short, our words and actions should be consistent with our beliefs. 

Another question we’re asked is whether we realize that once we get attached to our foster kids handing them over to their adoptive families will break our hearts. Yes, we’re confident that we’re going to have our hearts broken. Letting go is heartbreaking, but many times it’s necessary. But we believe that our children are worth having our hearts broken for. Thankfully, we are surrounded by the most incredible community to celebrate and grieve with us through this journey. 

The Bible instructs us to, seek justice and take up the cause of the fatherless. It doesn’t leave much room to decide if it is convenient or not, or whether we are “called to” help or not. The Bible also says that God sets the lonely in families. Adoption and foster care are some wonderful ways to do this. Still, foster care is not our profession, religion, ministry, or charity. This is our first choice of parenting. This is the family we have dreamed of and waited for- for seven years. And finally, here’s our announcement.

Jabez and I are parents! Baby Bear* joined our family this month. Under ‘preferred age of child’, our foster care forms read 0-2years. Over the months we began nesting; we got a beautiful crib, a highchair, bathtub, milk bottles, tiny clothes, diapers, and baby shoes. Turns out, our son doesn’t fit in the crib or the clothes. He is 5 years and 7 months old! While it may seem like a surprise, the journey has us convinced that it was predestined. We aim to make a difference that we may not be around to see and we’re going to try and be ok with that. In the meanwhile, we are thrilled to be his parents wholeheartedly, till he meets his forever family! 

Bear enjoys riding his bicycle, telling stories, doing puzzles and loves shadowing his (foster) dad. He also wonders why his (foster) mama sings so much. This evening, he cuddled up on my lap as I sang to him for the first time. From the movie Tarzan; the same song I’ve always known I would sing to him.

“Why can’t they understand the way we feel?
They just don’t trust what they can’t explain.
I know we’re different but deep inside us, we’re not that different at all.
Don’t listen to them because what do they know? We need each other to have, to hold. They’ll see in time, I know.
When destiny calls you, you must be strong.
I may not be with you, but you’ve got to hold on.
They’ll see in time, I know. We’ll show them together.
‘Cause you’ll be in my heart. Believe me, you’ll be in my heart.
From this day on, now and forever more.
You’ll be in my heart no matter what they say.
You’ll be here in my heart, always.”

*name changed to protect Baby Bear’s identity

4 thoughts on “Two Worlds, One Family

  1. Oh my this teared me up! It’s is a beautiful cause and I’m so happy for you guys for taking this up! This is just brilliant and I am super proud of you two! Lots and lots of love to the whole family 😍😍😍 hope baby Bear finds an everlasting beautiful journey ❤️❤️❤️

  2. Beautifully written & told from the heart. You have framed your vision perfectly and encouraged many on the same journey I’m sure! I’ve known you both forever, and this is YOU! This is what you have consistently worked towards. You are both a deep well of LOVE created for these children to drink from.
    Enjoy loving & realising 💞

  3. Jabez and Maria,
    You can only imagine how happy and how proud we are. You’ve shown one of the biggest acts of love, and kindness through this decision. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me.” – Matthew 18:5

    Remember we’re together on this journey because we’re now grand parents! ❤️ We know you’re going to be fantastic parents to Bear.

    May God bless you abundantly always for giving the gift of hope and love to your son through this fostering. A family is a family, in all shapes and forms.

    Congratulations to us all! ❤️❤️🤗

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