inching forward – our home study

Today was our home study and it wasn’t anything I expected! What I envisioned in my head was some lady wearing a business skirt and heels with a clip board walking around my house, opening drawers, taking notes over the contents of my fridge and asking my kids if we beat them. Not even kidding, lol.

What really happened was our case worker (CW) came in our home, with Josie dancing around her singing a song about how she was the lady who was going to bring us a new brother and sister. She was warm and smiley with sparkly blue eyes and made me feel relaxed instantly. She just wanted to see the kids’ rooms, potential foster kids’ room(s), our room, play room, etc. We chatted about if our finished basement room with a recessed window would meet safety standards since we plan to have that room available if the kids don’t want to share with our kids off the bat. We want them to decide to room/be siblings, not just force them to start sharing rooms with strangers.

Then we hung out at our kitchen table and our CW just wanted to hear about our lives, what made us want to foster, why we were interested in older kids, do we have a support system, that sort of thing…and we ended up chatting for over an hour!

I shared how I had Brynn at an early age, and how much her biological family means to her, and therefore to us. How she’s biracial, which gives us that much more understanding of potentially raising diversified kids, whether white kids from a different walk of life than ours, or children of a different race. Nick talked about his parents taking in a 14 year old when he was in grade school and being exposed to a hurting teenager at a young age and seeing their patience and sacrifices to give him a better life.

Looking at our lives leading up to that moment, it’s hard not to see God’s hand at work in our lives…shaping our minds even as children, getting us ready to parent an older child someday. Then our CW confided that when she pulled up to our nice home, saw our “picture perfect” family she wasn’t sure how we were going to handle fostering/adopting an older hurting child from a completely different world than the one we seem to live in, but after hearing our stories, she was already thinking of how much our future child(ren) could thrive in our accepting family! I mean, wow, right?

I never dreamed that when I going through struggles as a young single mom, that it would help me be empathetic some day to my future son’s biological mother. There are a host of other hard issues we went through visitation wise with Brynn when she was babyAll things work together, don’t they?

After chatting a bit, and losing track of the time, we got a list of what we need to complete our certification:

– fire extinguisher

-birth certificates/marriage certificate copies

– first aid/CPR class certification (taking it Monday)

….and that’s. it.

She said that we should be done in 3-4 weeks. WEEKS people! This dream we’ve talked about since I was pregnant with Nicholas is actually happening. She’s told us that the need is great, and there are kids needing their forever homes *now*. All we can do now is get our ends tied up and pray pray pray.

We are asking any friends and family to PLEASE refrain from any negativity. Any concerns over our current children, concerns over if we have time for this, concerns as to if we can handle this, etc. These are little lives that deserve just as much love and a shot as life as our kids. We won’t put our kids’ safety at risk, but we are well aware that this isn’t going to be easy for anyone. Not easy for us, our children or our future children.

But if we don’t do it…who will?

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.  James 1:27
  1. rana says:

    Rachel- I think it is so amazing that you and your family have decided to welcome adopt foster children into your home. I used to volunteer and work with foster children who were constantly being moved around in the system. If might take some time for them to trust you and have a solid relationship- but it will happen eventually! Sending prayers that you are matched soon with great kids who need the home, and for the adjustment period (for all). God Bless! Rana

  2. myranda says:

    Thank you for sharing!! My husband and I are finishing up our “to do list” to become foster to adopt parents. It is amazing when you enter this process how you see Gods hand along your own journey and what He gives us along the way to prepare us. We are going to be first time parents so our experience will be a little different, but exciting all the same! Praying for you and your family a

  3. Nicole says:

    Good Luck! I have always been taught “were much is given much is required” The lord doesn’t give us so much to keep to ourselves and you are a great example of that! (the giving) Thank you for the reminder that it’s not just about learning and working hard to succeed in your own life but to help others (children) succeed in theirs as well! XO

  4. eleni says:

    WoW! love what you do!! Inspiring!

  5. mendi says:

    Dear Vanoven Family, I’m so excited for this journey He has placed upon you. This child(ren) is so blessed to be a part of your family. Sending many prayers your way. I’m so glad there’s enough love in your hearts to share with others who so desperately need a place to call home & a family of their very own.

  6. Jessica V says:

    Oh Rachel I have no doubt things will be wonderful and you will be able to change some young life. There are so many kids out there hurting that just need someone to show them love and compassion. Someone to nurture and guide them. I’m sure there will be bumps in the road but you and nick are strong enough to figure it all out. I’ll be praying everything gets finished and they send you a child that needs your family.

  7. christine says:

    Where were you when I was in Foster care??? Take it from an adult who aged out of FC, WHAT YOU ARE DOING IS AWESOME:))))))

  8. Melissa says:

    Your last comment resonates with me…if we don’t who will?? There’s a new song out by Matthew West called “Do Something.” I love it because we are called to be God’s hands and feet. We can’t do that by staying in our comfort zones and always being “safe.” Praying for you and your family!!

  9. kali says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey into foster/adoption. My good friend just sent me the link to your blog saying, “Look another photographer is starting the foster/adoption process just like you. You should read”. I’m so glad I did. We just started our home study 2 days ago, so I’m really looking forward to following your blog and finding out what happens next with your sweet family. I’ll be praying for you all!

  10. Sara Peterson says:

    I’ve “known” you since the xanga days and I agree with your CW! You guys have a lot of love and compassion to share and God planned for this to be the way orphan sere cared for. Your mission is good and I have no doubt God will bless you guys!

  11. Lauren room says:

    I love everything about this story, they way you write, your passion and your excitement! Good Luck Vanoven’s, y’all are destined for this! You will be great just as you are in all the other aspects of you life that you share with us, your adoring fans!!!

  12. Amy says:

    There is no doubt your family will enjoy this journey as much as the new addition(s). Love and postive attitudes are very contagious. Clearly you have enough to share. (:

  13. Rachelle says:

    Congrats!! We are a foster family too. You are gonna love it!! God has used fostering in huge ways in our family. Hang on for a grand adventure!!!!

  14. Jennifer says:

    You are fulfilling James 1:27 in so many ways. Not only are you reaching out to take care of the little ones who need a mother and solid family; but you have also taken care of me in so many ways as a recent widow. I am so glad to have you in my life and I’m sure these future children of yours will be as well. Thank you. God bless, Jen

  15. Danielle ryals says:

    Sending y’all tons of prayers! This is amazing thing you are doing. You will bless these children so much and they will also bless y’all! I had my oldest at 17 and don’t marry till I was 27 and then had my youngest! I am so blessed to have a awesome stepdad for my daughter! I look forward to reading about your journey!

  16. pam says:

    We began our adoption process as a foster family also. Ended up doing private adoption of infants, but it was a great/hard experience that began the learning curve God would put us on. Be blessed! It will be hard but it will be worth it!

  17. Brittany Brock says:

    How Awesome! “If not us then who, if not me & you, right now!” Everytime I hear that song from now on I’ll be praying for your family!

  18. christin says:

    Rachel, I just told Erin last week, “I don’t even know her and yet, I love her!” and it’s so true. YOU EFFING ROCK! and have 50, 000 people standing behind you as support 🙂 -c

  19. jalnena says:

    Rachel Vanoven i so see your family doing this it is awesome!!!!!!!!!

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