On Friday, September 21, 2007, I received a phone call from a DHR caseworker asking if I had room in my home to place a 12-month old, mixed race baby girl.
I told her that I had a twin bed, but not a baby bed, so I could not take this baby girl.
She replied, “I’ll call you back.”
I hung up the phone thinking, “Why would she call me back if I just said no?” But I shrugged it off and continued with my day.
Although I was working diligently to offer guidance and support to the teachers in my school, I couldn’t stop thinking about this baby girl. I was working, but my heart and mind were filled with questions about her. What happened to her? What is she like? What will she need?
As the day dragged on, I was still asking myself why the caseworker would tell me she’d call me back. I left work that day wondering what happened to that little girl.
Then, I received another phone call from the same DHR caseworker, but this time she said, “Ms. Ward, we are bringing you a baby bed, along with some other items, and we’ll be there soon.”
I responded, “Ok.” My heart smiled and so did my lips.
The next two years were filled with days of learning how to be a foster mom while also learning how to help this baby girl, named Makayla, grow developmentally and physically. Makayla had to visit with her birth parents weekly during these two years, and then I found out that her birth mom was pregnant.
On November 27, 2008, Terrence, Makayla’s baby brother, was brought to my home. I was not ready for this placement, but when I saw that sweet face sleeping in his car seat, I immediately smiled and whispered to the Lord, “Thank you.”
There are three key ways to handle sudden motherhood.
- Don’t panic! Prepare ahead of time. When you decide to open your home to care for orphans, create a list of daycares and schools in your area for children of all ages. The Monday after Makayla was placed in my arms, the Lord led me to a daycare on my list that had an open slot in one of their classrooms.
- Don’t be afraid to admit your inadequacy – ask for help! I called for support with developmental issues and parenting issues from the Godly women in my life, including my mom and other foster mothers.
- Don’t neglect yourself. Take time when you need it to relax, rejuvenate, and pray. As a foster parent, respite care is available when YOU need it. After adoption, make sure you have a pool of friends with young children you can call when you need a day or night off.
The beauty of God’s plan over ours.
I realize that my story was not the most normal way of becoming a mother, but I accepted the gifts God placed in my life. They were not DHR placements – they were God placements. God has a wonderful plan for all of us, and this is His plan for me.
Mary Ward is a single mother of two beautiful children, Terrence and Makayla, whom she adopted on January 30, 2012. She became a Christ follower during her undergraduate years and immediately began serving as a discipleship leader in the college and career ministry in partnership with Campus Outreach, a local campus ministry. Mary began worshipping with our faith family when her youngest was in diapers about nine years ago, and she and her children have been members of Brook Hills since 2015.
If you are interested in foster care or adoption, we would love to support you. At Brook Hills, we have a foster care family support ministry called WRAP, a tool that helps the body of Christ emulate the Father’s heart for both foster children and the families who care for them. You may find additional information about getting started or getting support and respite care by visiting brookhills.org/careforchildren, or by contacting Anita at firstname.lastname@example.org.