In a recent post, “Choosing to be Open to Life: Open and Waiting,” part of her blog, Do Small Things with Love, Nancy Bandzuch writes specifically about her two children, ages 7 and 2, and how she and her husband came to be foster parents. Perhaps the greatest point of all made in her piece is how she relates her experiences with parenting to being open and waiting, as the title suggests, as well as patient and trusting.
Nancy begins her post by saying that her “openness wasn’t so.” As many others of us surely have, Nancy had a pretty set plan when it came to children. She and her husband would wait two years after getting married before having their first child, and then have another one two years later. They wanted to have five kids before being done at 35.
By God’s grace, we conceived our daughter LB after six months of marriage. I did not know then that this was a merciful gift. At the time, I was angry and worried about things not going according to my plan! I liked my job, we didn’t have enough money, we were working full time and finishing degrees – surely this was not the right time for a child!!!
With how fussy and how much LB cried, Nancy quit her job. And then a year later, they decided to try again for another child. Although their efforts were to no avail, Nancy was told that nothing was wrong. As she continued to try for children, she finally got pregnant five years later. Tragically, the pregnancy turned out to be ectopic and Nancy describes a recovery that was quick physically, but “an emotional recovery [which] was a long, grueling process.”
Although Nancy and her husband decided against adoption after meeting with an adoption worker, they did decide on fostering:
But, that meeting was how we found it. The other worker in the room was a licensing representative for the adoption and fostering sides of the agency. Fostering. How can I explain what it is to bare your lives to the government in order to become an agent of the state, all for the hope of loving a child who will then be torn from your arms? Who does this? Many, many families. We did. We do. I feel deeply that this is a calling, and it is not for every family. But, in that space of feeling the failure of my own fertility, God asked us to reach out and help. We were called to look beyond our own hurt and bind the wounds of another.
Nancy describes the process of becoming foster parents, and how after they had taken in a four week old baby, Nancy found out she was pregnant again. Strangely enough, Nancy had already discontinued hormone treatments months prior.
Nancy speaks great lengths about what being open and waiting has meant to her, and specifically ties it to her Catholic faith and God’s plan for her. She also relates to being a foster mother to the abortion issue:
For me, fostering is more than a way to help, it is a pro-life stance. We have heard the cries, “who will take care of these children if they’re born?” Well, I will. My husband will. The parents of foster children have chosen to give life in what is often times a difficult, stress-filled environment. That foster child could have been aborted.
Praise God, they were not. But, that difficulty and stress may cause the parents to be unable to care for their children, either temporarily or permanently. That’s why we stand in the gap. Because I will put my life, my heart, my home, and my money where my mouth is. Choose life. There are people like me out in this world, not only praying for you, but feeding that child, clothing that child, loving that child until they can either get back to you or find a permanent, loving home, which might also be my home.
Nancy does indeed make a good point about those who accuse pro-lifers of not doing enough for supposedly unwanted children who come into the world. They too are blessings! Nancy herself mentions that “it is not for every family.” She and her husband decided against adoption themselves. But that does not mean that somebody will not be the right foster or adoptive parent of a child who may have been aborted due to being regarded as an inconvenience or whose parents, perhaps even through no fault of their own, could not raise their children. As Nancy proudly shares, she and her family are the face of those who will be the one to care for such children.
While Nancy may not have always planned on fostering children, it was issues with her fertility which allowed her to find such a calling. Many women and couples face issues with fertility, in having children too soon or too late, too many or too few, or none at all. God has a plan though, as we can see from Nancy’s story, none of which ever has to be abortion.