We are the Stephen & Malyssa Ewing and we have three beautiful boys; Jeter who is 8, Deion who is 4, and Raymond who is 2. We have been a foster family since 2019. We enjoy movie nights, themed dinners and spending time outdoors together.
It was never a question of whether I would pursue foster care. The question was always, "when would I pursue it?" Before marriage? After? When I had children?
I went into foster care at four months old. My family adopted me when I was two. They went into foster care to be obedient to Christ. They had no intention of adopting but only to fill a need that they were called to. After over 20 children had come through their home, I was the only one who stayed. Growing up, I knew how important foster families were to our community and even more, I knew how important it was to my life. Without my family’s obedience, where would I be?
Stephen and I met in college while attending UTPB. I told him from the very beginning that one day I would foster children. He had no experience with foster care and honestly I am not sure he ever wanted to. We had our biological son Jeter and we were married a couple years when the conversation about fostering arose again. We were driving through town and our son asked us why we didn’t stop and help homeless people. We explained that we gave money to organizations that helped those in need but we didn’t feel led to give to everyone we saw. He then pressed in with an even larger question that stunned us both. He asked, “Why do you not help children who are in need if they have no control over being homeless or in need?”. God was telling me it was time to pursue that call he had laid on my life as a young girl. The only problem was, he had not yet told my husband he would be joining me. I prayed without ceasing for six long months. I knew that we both had to be committed to this cause for it to be fruitful. In June of 2018, my husband and I were serving at youth camp for our church. An anthem song at camp that year was “So Will I” by Hillsong. A few lines in that song spoke to both of us:
I can see Your heart Eight billion different ways Every precious one A child You died to save If You gave Your life to love them so will I
We knew that Christ died for these children just as he did for us. Suddenly it became so clear that we were to give our lives to love these children in our community.
In August of 2018, we began reaching out to agencies to begin the process to become a licensed foster home. By June of 2019, we were open for two children. Less than 24 hours later, we were approached about taking a two week old boy and his two year old brother. We knew this was the right placement for us. When we walked into the NICU, it was family visiting hour. I asked the nurse where he was, and she pointed to an incubator with a tiny baby boy. I looked around the room and immediately felt compassion for him as the other babies had their moms and dads there admiring them, and this baby boy, he had no one. I was terrified as I picked up a 4lb baby, but I loved him from the very moment I saw him. He needed someone to love him and we were willing and able to provide just that. When we left the NICU, we met his brother. A timid and scared two year old boy. He came easily to us but I could feel as hesitation as if he was unsure. That was a hurdle we were prepared for but it hurt knowing he was longing someone else.
We fostered both boys two long years. 790 days to be exact. I saw these boys through many doctors appointments and therapy visits. I watched as they met milestones that I didn’t think were possible. I cried with their mother as I told her we were for her success and would care for her children as long as we needed to. I cried as we watched parental rights be terminated. I will not say this road has been an easy one. But parenting is never easy. Parenting foster children is even harder. But not a day has gone by that has not been worth the trials or the pain. I have grown immensely in faith and surrender. I tell many people that if you ever think you are in control, try fostering. You will be humbled quickly and reminded who runs the show. But God has been sovereign through it all.
Something people approach me about often is them feeling like they want to foster but they don’t feel their spouse would agree. The fact of the matter is, that feeling is there for a reason. Don’t ignore that stir in your heart. Had I stopped when Stephen said no, we would be missing out on the two precious children God had planned for our family. I encourage all who are interested, reach out to a foster family you know and let them walk alongside you as you find what you are called to do. Foster care takes a village. Start building yours now.
If you have questions about fostering and/or how to get started; visit our website.