"But I want children of our own"
That's what I said when my wife asked me what I thought about becoming a foster parent. The first time this subject came up was about two years into our marriage. My wife was an elementary music teacher in a Dallas suburb, we were still "DINKs" (Dual Income No Kids), and we were not planning on having children just yet. Plus, having a wife as an elementary school teacher will either make you desperately want children of your own or drive you away from children because you're afraid they will be like some of the little kids in your school that drive you crazy.
But my wife had been working with a child who was in foster care, who was on the outside aggressive and difficult to manage, but on the inside was just a kid desperately seeking someone to love, nurture, protect, and validate him as a human being. You see, he was in a foster placement but it was not a "good" placement. His foster parents were not truly taking care of him in the way he needed and it was painfully obvious to my wife
So one day she asked if we could take him in ourselves and adopt him (not that he was available for adoption, mind you). And I said the phase you've read above. And that, I my wife later recounted to me, was when she started praying the God would change my mind about adoption.
Well, let me backtrack here just a bit. My wife was adopted at birth through Buckner Children and Family Services by two very loving parents who believed they could not physically have their own children. She was informed as early as she could understand that she had been chosen and was their child just as much as she would be if she were biologically related to them. And my wife soaked that love up and determined even as a young child that someday, she too would adopt a child.
Now back to the question asked of me by my wife. I was not adopted but was the last of five biological children who looked at foster and adopted children as kids that someone else worked with and brought into their homes. Surely, that was not what God intended for my life, right? Well, it would take much prayer, questioning, begging, sharing of wonderful foster and adoption stories, and some very crucial experiences with other foster and adoptive parents before I became even the slightest bit interested in becoming a foster parent. But this was not a short process. Rather, it was about 17 years from that first request from my wife to the moment when I agreed, reluctantly, to attend a foster and adopt information meeting offered by our local Department of Family and Protective Services agency. At that point, we had become a family of five with three biological children ages 13, 10, and 6. For most families that we knew, three children was the end of the line. Planning would be in place for when that third child would graduate from high school and the happy couple would be in that "empty nest" place. That is not our story.
In 2009, after I had become convinced following that information meeting that we should become foster parents after all, we completed our PRIDE training and received our first placement of a toddler boy. He had reflux, colic, would not sleep (and this was following our third biological child who slept very well as an infant, thank you!), and kept us up all hours of the night. But we loved him regardless and were determined to be a special place for him until his parents got their act together and he could return to them or the Department determined his parents were not suitable and he would be placed in an adoptive home.