The story of Melissa Kreider written by Mary Alysse Dodds
“Don’t keep the kids,” God told us.
“But, God, you told us to foster. We’d be sending John and his siblings to an unhealthy foster home.”
God’s no shocked us. We finally were doing foster to adopt like God said.
We’d been trying to have kids for eight years, resisting what felt like buying a baby or adopting just to have kids. We needed to be called, not just feeling good about rescuing an infant.
“When I’m at a family reunion watching the kids play,” my pastor said, “I couldn’t tell you which ones were adopted because they’re all my nieces and nephews.”
He’s right. I don’t feel like an adopted child of God. God loves me like I’m his, because I am his.
“I’m ready to pursue adoption,” I told Loren, surprised God had changed his nope to yes.
We cried saying goodbye to John and his siblings, but pursuing adoption was God’s gentle leading into foster care. Whole families were so much bigger than goodbyes.
Four weeks later toddler brothers bonded easily with us. It felt so normal to be their parents. Then I had toys and no kids, tears and no motivation. I’d stopped working to care for lives. Now I had laundry and dinner.
How will we say goodbye when we have kids for longer than a month?
John came back three weeks later. The siblings’ behavioral problems were too much for one family. He screamed and cried at night for hours.
“Tell him you’ll be here when he wakes up,” God said.
After a year with John I didn’t know he needed to hear that, but it put him right to sleep.
Then a 10-month-old girl and 6-year-old boy were ours for twenty months before reunification. We cried and worried. As a mom, I knew when they ate, slept, and pooped, and then I knew nothing. They went back to parents who grew up in foster care and broken families.
“They need their children so I can break the generational curse of poor parenting,” God said.
God’s perfect plan is for kids to be raised by their parents, however faulty they may be. More than rescuing one child, he wants to restore families.
So we kept in touch, having kids over for weekends. We’ve surrounded ourselves with people who are willing to inconvenience themselves to see other families thrive.
The agency sent John and his siblings for weekends with potential adoptive families. John wouldn’t look at me or talk to me when he came back. His behavior was terrible.
“Why are you being so mean to me, John?”
“I wanna go back to that other lady’s house,” he’d scream. I knew he didn’t, but part of me wanted to be the kid. Fine. I don’t want to deal with you anyway.
Finally the agency decided the siblings’ behavioral issues together were too much for one family. We adopted John November 19, 2016, during six months with two sisters.
In March three-month-old twin girls were totally reliant in our arms. We were in love, and grief. Our babies had gone a month with unknown broken bones until blood in the brain caused seizures. How could a father do that to babies who couldn’t talk back?
Kids are such a gift. A gift God gives to some people and not others to steward for we never know how long. College, marriage, death, or reunification, goodbye is a natural part of parenting.
On May 11, 2016, John’s birthday, a 1 and 2-year-old brother and sister became our children.
What’s surprised us the most is how normal it is. People probably think it’s strange we always have a different number of kids. But they’re our kids, and we love them. We love seeing scared and angry turn to safe and singing.
Like any parent, we cry saying goodbye. They’re only ours for a season, but they’re always God’s.
Melissa Kreider is a wife, mother, and the one who makes the house feel like home when keeping new foster kids alive seems like a feat. She’s passionate about helping broken families thrive in their parenting and as children of God. She’ll tell you everything especially the truth, she’ll fight with you to see you through, and she’ll laugh with you.