Our Non-Traditional Family

I have had many people ask about our "non-traditional family", so I have written out our story. I am still editing, adding, and revising, but I hope you find it interesting. If you want to know more about providing a foster home for children, please feel free to contact me.

The Beginning

Have you ever wondered why you are going through a particularly hard time? I believe that trials are one of God’s methods of molding us into His image. I don’t enjoy trials, but I do enjoy the results. Because of some of the trials my husband and I have been through, we now have greater faith in God, and more joy in our daily lives.

I have had several people ask me about our family (I guess I just don’t look like a grandma!) so I decided to share some of our story. It is a story of God’s planning, and although parts of it were hard to wait through, the result (so far) is amazing!

The Waiting

Ken and I were married in Fairbanks, Alaska in July of 1988. We expected have children right away, but we weren’t too concerned when we didn’t get pregnant in the first year. I was starting to wonder when it would ever happen when I found out I was pregnant in May of 1990. I was ecstatic! I went straight to my mom’s office to tell her about it. Mom was happy for us, but because I was only 4 or 5 weeks along, instead of jumping for joy, my mother said, “I wouldn’t tell anyone until you’re about 3 months along.” I was a little discouraged that she wasn’t rejoicing with me, but I knew that she’d had a series of miscarriages, so I could understand her caution. But that was her story, not mine! So of course, we did tell people. We got to enjoy that excitement for 4 weeks before my pregnancy ended as so many of my mother’s had. I was totally devastated to lose that baby, but I knew that I was only 21, and would have plenty of time for babies. Over the next 2 years, I had 4 more miscarriages – just like my mother. Boy, did I learn a lesson from what seemed like harsh words from my mother!

In late 1991 our church suffered a terrible split, and ended up closing. We felt that God was calling us to move to Montana to be a part of a new church, so in June of '92 we sold our home, packed our clothes, dog, and cat in our Honda Accord, and moved to the Bitterroot Valley in Western Montana.

More childless years passed. During that time we didn’t even get pregnant, but my desire for children didn’t diminish, either. In 1994 we took the foster and adoptive parent training course through the state of Montana. We enjoyed the training, but we never received any calls about children needing placement, so we went on with our life as parents to our two dogs and two cats.

Fostering Hope

By the time we’d been married for 10 years and still had no children, I had gone through many bouts of grief, including the denial, bargaining, acceptance, and back around to the beginning (almost monthly!) again. I eventually settled on acceptance, and decided to let God have His way. That was very hard, but since I became a Christian I have truly wanted God to have His way with me, and that had to include giving my dream of children to Him.

In 1998 we decided to look into foster parenting again. We began the training again, and realized that this was really what God wanted us to do. We were excited, but after having been just a twosome for 10 years, we were also nervous. We certainly didn’t want teenager! Everybody knows that teenage foster children are a nightmare! We’ve seen the news and heard the stories!

Before we even finished the training, we were called and asked to take a difficult 4-month old baby who had Cytomegalovirus. He couldn’t be cared for by any woman who was pregnant or who might become pregnant because CMV is one of the leading causes of retardation in unborn babies. Since I hadn’t been pregnant in 6 years, and had no expectation of getting pregnant, this was fine. We brought Baby G. home, and ended up only having him for 2 days. It was a fun introduction to foster parenting, and in that 2 days, we were able to work out some strategies of care to help his birth mother deal with him. We took him back to our social worker, and thanked God for the time we had with Baby G.

A couple weeks after Baby G. went home, we got another call. We still weren’t done with our training, but we already knew that was okay. One problem – they wanted us to take a 16-year-old girl who couldn’t live with her foster parents. Great! I hmmed and hedged and tried to be nice about saying, “not on your life!” But the social worker (whom we love dearly) sweetly begged, “Please meet her – she’s really a good girl!” We agreed to meet her, but just for “an interview.” She and the social worker came to our house the next afternoon. This beautiful, petite blond was dressed in black slacks, an attractive sweater, and a humble spirit. Not at all what we expected. We decided to spend a weekend with her. During the course of that weekend, we got to know the loving girl inside the pretty body. It turned out that the nightmare teenager we had envisioned was really the most sweet and gentle teenager I have met to this day. The problem she had in her previous foster home was truly the situation, and not the child. So Jenny came to live with us, and stayed with us until she left for college. (After a year there she moved back in – I think that means we’re really parents!)

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