My God ABSOLUTELY Increases
I started this art project last winter. My condo had sold, I was buying a house, I was waiting on the closing of both and trying to stay patient as I waited to do foster care or adopt. I was doing the work to prepare for both options and trusting God to sort out which option was best.
I had been pursuing the adoption of one particular child, and in a step of faith I decided to make a room decoration that would incorporate her name. I decided a teenage girl would not want her name on the wall, so I decided to look up her name’s meaning. Josie, it means God Increases and so I decided that would be the design of my project.
It was orphan Sunday at church when I first heard about Josie and her need to be adopted out of the foster care system. There was a small blurb about her and my heart felt a connection as it spoke of her heart for helping others, her love of crocheting, and her dream of being an architect. She was 14 years old and the information indicated she would do better in a home without any other children. As someone single and childless, my home seemed uniquely suited. From there I did some praying and contacted her caseworker.
There were months of back and forth because I was just moving into the state and did not have a permanent residence. The formal structures of the overloaded system had little room to adapt to unique situation, and they would not move forward until I had moved into a new home that they could approve. The problem was that I knew my felony conviction could be an issue, but had been assured multiple times that it was not an issue and had submitted background check paperwork and fingerprinting.
I made the decision to move forward with the purchase of the house with the understanding that I would soon be licensed to start fostering or bring Josie home. I had been living my first six months in Kansas in a house full of other Christian women on various journeys of recovery. It was a home built around God, community and mutual empowerment, and I was quite happy there until I could actually bring children home.
Through misunderstandings that easily occur between people who are still getting to know each other, I was asked to move into my new home more quickly than I had been anticipating. I know many people dream of having their own house to themselves, but I have always hated living alone. As a homebody and extrovert I love living with other people and thrive when I am nestled in community. The idea of living alone was not in the plan, especially since my move to Kansas meant that my office is also in my home.
While my reasons for leaving Seattle were numerous, some of the main ones were to allow me to not live and work alone in the same place while the world was shut down with Covid. Suddenly I was living and working alone in my house, but it was ok because foster care or adoption were just around the corner.
Then the moment came when I was reminded of the bias and assumptions people often unconsciously make. When I had disclosed the details of my felony they had assumed I had the information wrong about my conviction because it could not actually be what I said. No one believes I could really be classified as a a violent felon because I had made a suicide attempt a decade ago. No one who meets me now imagines the almost homeless prostitute I was in the end of my active addiction. I am too middle class, too educated, too overall conservative to have the permanent brand of my felony across my forehead.
People get uncomfortable when they have to look at the realities of the legal and mental health systems that resulted in my status as felon. I seem too normal and it is easier to believe that I simply had my details wrong. It makes people uncomfortable to believe that what I said was true because it makes them uncomfortable that it could almost as easily be them.
When my conviction came back saying exactly what I had told them, there was an embarrassed apology, but the facts of my conviction remained unmoved.
It was a devastating blow to my spirit. I had no idea what to do with a house! I’m a minimalist with no interest in extra rooms to clean, and had no desire to be to living alone. There were moments of confusion with God. I wept in my therapists office and to close family and friends. I have held the dream of foster care since junior high when I knew I never wanted to bring a life into the world that did not have the option of existing. Since my own pain from childhood, mission trip to India and relatives who did foster care, it had always been my dream to become an adoptive or foster parent.
I decided to re-read a prayer challenge I had started several times before, and to spend 40 days being intentional about asking God about the change in plans. I had several specific questions and I began my challenge with the prayer guide, my Bible and a journal.
I prayed for Josie, even though I could not adopt her, but my continued desire for her bright future. I prayed about how God could use my house, and I drew a circle around the same continued prayers. It was totally unexpected when I learned of someone who might need a home. Details changed rapidly for she and her kids and I was not sure what would happen. Then she called me one day and asked if the offer to move in was still available. After conversation I told her it was and she and her two children moved in.
Then another situation came up that meant someone else I love needed a room. Since Josie’s room was still empty it was available for yet another person to move in.
I continue to pray for Josie and hope that life may still bring her into my path. But regardless of whether I meet her or not, I can pray for her and be thankful to her for the lessons this season has taught me. Whether or not it was in the way I originally understood, or thought I desired, I have no doubt through it all that my God ABSOLUTELY Increases!
P.S. If anyone know how to help me made a wooden frame, I would still like to hang this on my wall.