We are Josh and Kenzi! We have been married for ten years and have four children, one of them has been adopted through foster care. Josh is a home inspector in the Permian Basin and Kenzi homeschools. We love going on adventures with our family, being in nature and having conversations around the table with good food. For the past year we have provided respite care for foster families and are currently working towards becoming licensed with Addy’s
Hope in Midland for an adoption placement.
Since before we were married, Josh and I talked about adoption and the desire to pursue it. Honestly, we hardly knew anything when it came to foster care or the foster care system. As we watched our friends go through the process of becoming licensed to foster and using a local agency, our eyes were opened to the great need for foster families in the Permian Basin. We hoped to make a difference and to provide a safe and loving place for a child. It was quite terrifying, stepping into a world of unknowns, as well as bringing our biological children into it, not knowing what impact it would have on them. Yet, we knew the Lord had pursued our hearts to walk in it. There’s a Bible verse that became essential for me to quote and preach to myself in 2016. It’s Psalm 57:3 “...God will send out His steadfast love and faithfulness.”
It proved to be one of our craziest years as a family. We had two biological children and were already fostering a little boy for about five months when we got a call for a five month old little girl. Less than a week after accepting placement we found out, to our great surprise, that I was pregnant. It was wild. When you first accept a placement, it can feel like a “deer in the headlights” moment or days, weeks even, as you realize the family dynamic is changing and you are learning how to do life. Everyone is adapting, kids included! However, as time goes on you began to get into a rhythm and your family learns how to live with this new “stranger” that starts becoming more than that. A little girl that we knew almost nothing about becomes a dear sister, a daughter, someone you didn’t know you could care for deeply. Baby Girl had her first Easter (I bought her and our oldest matching dresses), Fourth of July and summer with us. She hit lots of fun milestones you expect to have with a growing baby. Our oldest at the time, Eden, was four years old. She loved having a “little sister” and bonded with her. Our boys were two and two and half so while they had fun with her as well, they were much more mischievous as brothers tend to be! We knew when we accepted placement of Baby Girl the plan was to reunify her with her biological family. She had an aunt that was actively doing all she needed in order to be able to have Baby Girl in her home, per the guidelines and services CPS requires. Still, your heart, mind and body treat the child as if they have a permanent place in your family. How can you love any other way?
As the months passed we knew our time with Baby Girl was growing shorter. I dreaded the phone call that would inform me of the date she would be leaving our family. I vividly remember when the call came came. I was shopping with Baby Girl and Eden and as soon as the phone call ended the tears began. The feelings I had felt so strange because they seemed to be contradictory; grateful that this child would be getting to go back with extended family that valued her, wanted her and would protect her but deep sadness that the journey that we had experienced with this precious child was ending. We went on one last Chick Fil A date as a family, packed her things and Baby Girl was picked up the following day. Eden, my oldest, young as she was, understood what was happening and we both sobbed in the bathroom after we said our goodbyes. Eden loved this little one as well in her own 4 year old way and her pain was just as real as mine. Seeing her emotions and grief was something that I was not prepared for or expecting.
Although we didn’t know if we would ever get the chance to see Baby Girl again, we knew that we could trust the same Creator that formed us and her to take care of her and to mend our hearts too. We were blessed with opportunities to get to know her aunt and even see Baby Girl after that first year. We also had opportunity to babysit her for a week while her family was out of town. Those times were so sweet and I cherish them. We still see pictures from time to time on social media and my heart is overjoyed to see the beauty that can result from reunification. This once little baby is now an adored, thriving and growing child because of people on both sides of the foster care equation that said ‘yes’. One thing I’ve learned, and that Jason Johnson says so well, is this, ”It’s the mercy of God that He doesn’t show us everything that will unfold in the foster care and adoption journey the moment we first say “yes” to it. All the hard would be too unbearable and all the good would be too unbelievable.” Living in the balance of that is where we find ourselves in a number of ways throughout the adventure that this path brings.