When we moved to Massachusetts, Will was 10 months old, and there had been no sign of any more children. Adoption came to my mind, as it was something that Carl and I discussed in the past, and having more children was a real desire that weighed on both of our hearts. We also desired to not have a large break in years between Will and the next child (please understand that these are just our desires I am sharing). So one evening we were out to supper on a "date", just the two of us (Will was likely around 1 or 1.5 years by now) and I shared my desire to begin the adoption process with Carl. Carl said that he did not want to pursue adoption without doing foster care first. I did NOT WANT to do foster care, for a few different reasons, but through tears and the desire to obey my husband and the Lord, I consented as my husband said those words I could not refuse, "I really think you should pray about it.". So I did, and sure enough, the Lord changed my heart, so much so that no only was I willing to do foster care, I even WANTED to.
From there we embarked on our journey as foster parents, which in MA, begins with a 10-week course that meets for 3-hours a night once a week, in a town located 45 minutes from our home. This in itself was a test of faith. :) Once we completed our course, it was still a bit of a process for us, but we knew that we were following the Lord's will in this situation, and He showed that to be true, after a few months we were certified to be foster parents in Massachusetts and that same day received the first child to come into our care, a 9-month baby girl. It was wonderful for Will to have another child in the house, but of course there were challenges. Personal growth began in my walk with the Lord, as a parent, and in general, just as a compassionate human being. We had this precious girl for 8 months, and after a break of about a month, we received another young baby girl who was our guest for about 4 months. Once she left our home, we had a break for about 4 days and we received another baby girl, this one was only 5 weeks old.
Along with this precious 5 week old baby girl came a brother who was 14 months old. When I received the call for these children, they asked if we would take the baby girl, they told me she had a brother and his age, but were just wanting to ask if we would take the girl only. Carl and I had agreed that we would take siblings at any given time if we were able, as we thought it important to try to keep them together. Because of that, I quickly said that not only would we take the girl, we would take her brother as well. That settled it! Due to some vacation time our family had, we ended up getting this baby girl first and then her brother about a month later. When they both came into our 2 bedroom, 1200 sq.ft. home, we quickly became a very busy household with a 2.5 year old, 1 year old, and 2 month old. These precious souls were a blessing and needed much care and attention that again stretched me as a mother, as well as a follower of Christ. Caring for and loving these precious children became a great tool for the Lord to reveal Himself to me and in me.
Long story short, we had these children for around a year and it was coming time for us to move. As we always do, we had prayed about where the Lord would have us go next in our military journey, and we felt the Lord leading us to Maine, and sure enough, when the orders came out, we found out that Maine was indeed our next destination. As our time in MA grew short, the fate of the two children in our care was up in the air. We very much desired to adopt them, but were willing to move them on, if that was the Lord's will. Time was winding up, as we were about 2-3 months out from moving and we began to prepare ourselves and the children to move to another foster home. We hadn't heard anything different from DCF, so we were preparing ourselves for the separation, as that seemed to be the plan. About 2 months out I inadvertently learned that DCF had changed the "goal" for the children from "reunification" to "adoption". We had not yet been told this formally, so it still didn't mean that the goal would be adoption into our family, especially since we were moving. I need to insert a small detail here---we were moving to Maine, but were going to be in California for a month, traveling for 2 months total after we left MA, before our move to ME. Finally I heard from our social worker that they had changed the goal to adoption and that they decided that they wanted us to be the pre-adoptive family for our two precious charges. We were ecstatic, but there were still details to be worked out, as I mentioned above. We prayed, and prayed. In order for us to take the children with us for our intermittent months between MA and ME, we would still have to have the permission of the biological mother the allow us to take them out of the state for 2 months. She immediately said no. We were heartbroken, as we knew this would move the children into another pre-adoptive home. We continued to pray and I felt the Lord pressing on my heart to just plead with the mother, talking with her mother-to-mother. I prayed, talked to Carl about it, and we set up a meeting with the social worker for me to talk with the mother. I went armed with prayer, photos, and love for the children, and pleaded with her to allow us to take these children, her children, with us across the country for 2 months. During the meeting she showed no real emotions and said very little. I had no idea what she was thinking, but had faith that the Lord was still in control. As I was driving home, I received a call from the social worker and she said "I don't know what you said to her, but she changed her mind and said yes!". I said the only thing I could say "Praise the LORD!". The children would be allowed to go with us and because we were next going to be stationed in Maine, we would be able to complete the adoption process through Massachusetts, as we would still be in driving distance (the bio mother still had visits with the children for months before the adoption was completed). Praise the Lord! Had we been stationed anywhere else, we would not have been eligible to adopt these precious blessings!
And a couple of bonus blessings...I had said to the Lord alone in my heart when we started foster care, that I would love to be able to adopt a sibling pair from MA. Secondly, I have always desired to have 2 boys and then a girl for my first three children (if we were to have more), and check out my babies...
Will, Jadon, and Hannah Bodin
Another added bonus, we got a redhead! ;)
It took over 3 years, but on June 29, 2015, we were finally and officially made a family of five! ONLY by God's hand and blessing! God clearly showed Himself in this journey and still shows me Himself in it now. Thank you Lord!
As a quick comparison, here are a few shots of Jadon and Hannah from the within the first few months they were with us, and then them today.
Jadon so VERY RARELY smiled, Carl was doing some very crazy acrobatics to get him to smile here. He was also not at all ticklish. Didn't laugh really at all for months.
Now Jadon is my most photogenic child, and smiles and laughs constantly. He's also quite ticklish. ;) People often comment on how sweet and happy he is.
This is after Hannah (or Hanny as we call her) was with us for a couple months. She was a teeny, tiny, skinny little thing, and she was a newborn. She plumped up quickly. ;)
Here's my beautiful girl today. She's still tiny, but she's got spunk! She's all girl...she loves babies, purses and bags, shoes, and pestering her brothers.
You'll be seeing many more pictures of them all in the future! :)