November 2020 is one we will not soon forget due to a tumultuous election.
But, for five siblings in Ohio, this month will be one remembered for different reasons. It will be their first month together in their new forever home.
Robert Carter, who is single, began fostering three brothers in December of 2019. Then, when he heard them talking about two sisters, he set up visits for them through their foster family. The emotions he witnessed during those visits led him to adopt all five so they would no longer be separated.
“We met up for visits, and all the kids were crying,” Carter said. “They didn’t want to leave each other, and at that moment, I knew, ok, I have to adopt all five.” On October 30, 2020, which was Adoption Day in Hamilton County, Ohio, where he lived, it became a reality.
The transition to the new forever home was not without issues.
It took a while for one of the daughters to warm up to the new dad. “At first, she didn’t like me. But eventually, she came around. She walked in my room last night and said, ‘I just want to say thanks for taking us in and taking care of us when our real mom couldn’t.’ It just really touched me,” Carter said.
Carter knows firsthand the pain of being separated from family. At the age of twelve, he was placed in foster care and went through separation from eight siblings. His own personal experiences are helping him understand the insecurities and emotions his children are going through.
His goal is “making memories to replace a lot of the bad ones.” He adds, “Every night I talk to them and let them know, ‘I’m your dad forever. I know what it’s like and I’m always here for you.'”
As a child of God, you too have a “forever Father”
National Adoption Month is near and dear to my heart.
In 1987, my husband and I adopted a beautiful baby girl. We knew it would not always be easy, but we were willing to go through the bumpy times. No matter how rough it got, we’ve never regretted our decision.
While our daughter never knew life in foster care, she went through the emotions most adopted children go through: rejection, loss, anger, resentment. She is now the mother to a beautiful five-year-old daughter, who is the only “flesh-and-blood” she has ever known.
Becoming a mother has helped her understand the love we feel for her. It doesn’t matter that I did not give birth to her; she is the child God gave me.
(For another great adoption story, listen to Sam Collier’s great episode, “When God rescripts our lives for ‘The Greater Story’” on the Pardon the Mess podcast.)
When we become a part of God’s family, he becomes our “forever Father” who is always there for us.
While writing this article, I read Ephesians 1 and heard it in a new light:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved (vv. 3–6).
I saw God as the “Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 3) who adopted us into his family.
As the mother of a biological son when we adopted our daughter, I knew what it meant to love a child as my own. And after we adopted, I knew what it meant to love two children as my own.
God loves us as his own. He understands our emotions and will never let us go. We are secure in his hands, and nothing or no one can remove us from his care (John 10:28–29).
November is also the month we celebrate Thanksgiving.
I am grateful for the earthly family God gave me, but I am most grateful for the forever Father who loves me unconditionally.