After Kathleen and Chris Smith lost four babies due to miscarriage, they felt that God had called them to pursue fostering children. However, when they were finishing up their foster licensing process through St. Vincent Catholic Charities, Kathleen got pregnant again. She shared more about her pregnancy with the Catholic Diocese of Lansing, Michigan.
She said, “This time was different from the last four. I wasn’t anxious about losing this baby. I just loved her so much from the moment I knew. I felt joyful and free of worrying about whether this pregnancy would come to term.” Tragically, the following year Kathleen miscarried their daughter.
“When January rolled around, though, the familiar symptoms crept in again. I miscarried, just as I had with the earlier four. But there was something different this time. Instead of falling into the same despair, I somehow felt at peace. I think I was able to go through the normal grieving process for her because I knew I had loved this baby every minute she was with us,” said Kathleen.
After the miscarriage, Kathleen and Chris allowed life to return to normal before considering foster care again, even passing up opportunities to take children in. Then, in August of that year, a social worker called about a set of twin boys, Jesse and Joseph, who were born prematurely and needed a home.
Kathleen said, “On Aug. 13, our chance came when St. Vincent called again. They had 6-week-old twin boys who needed a home. We had agreed to take older children, not infants, but something inside me knew these babies were for us. Praying about it, I consulted the sacred readings that day and opened the Bible to Ezekiel 16:8, where God says to Israel: ‘I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord, and you are mine.’ That was all it took. Chris and I agreed that we would foster them.”
At first, Chris and Kathleen were concerned because they didn’t have any baby clothes or items but their neighborhood pitched in and helped them get cribs, clothing, bottles and other baby supplies. As part of the foster care process, they were required to bring the twins to St. Vincent Home for parenting visits with their birth mother.
It was during that time they found out she canceled two abortion appointments scheduled for the twins before they were born. Initially, she considered abortion because she didn’t have a job and had been homeless at different points in her life. Later Chris and Kathleen found out that the twins’ birth mother visited the abortion facility where they did sidewalk counseling.
As the twins got older, the birth mother stopped attending parental visits with her children and failed numerous drug tests. Eventually her parental rights were terminated and the twins were released for adoption. Kathleen said, ““I could not love them more. I have no question that, from the beginning, they were conceived to be with us. Suffering the disappointment of losing life through all those miscarriages, I can’t imagine that Jesse and Joseph could have been destroyed. They complete our family and bring joy to everybody. I tell them all the time, ‘I’m so glad I got to keep you!’ After three years of their being with us, the joy has never gone away, even though I haven’t slept through the night since they arrived!”
She concluded, “There are tons and tons of people thinking about foster care. I would urge them to learn more about it. We shouldn’t be afraid to step out of our comfort zones to show love for someone else. Being willing to open our home for a short time to a child in need was like stepping out on a scary limb for the love of God. But when we stepped out, we received so much joy!”