I knew about the teenage foster girl before I even met her. My neighboring foster parent, who also happens to be the base player at our church, approached me one day after the church service to request prayer support.
As he considered fostering the young lady, he said, "I am not sure if we can handle a teenager." I simply replied, "Trust God! And, if you need help, call me." It didn't take long before I received that first call. "Can she come over and spend some time at your house?" I instantly responded, "Of course, send her right up."
Immediately, the thirteen-year-old girl with a beautiful face walked up the street to our home. She brought with her all the excitement and squeal of any typical teenage girl. And within a few visits she felt right at home. She took a liking to our Wii gaming system when she discovered that she could watch a particular show using our subscription to the Netflix movie rental system. Soon, I began to stock the refrigerator with chocolate chip cookies and frozen food.
After awhile, the young girl had even developed a routine. First, she asked permission to go into our refrigerator to grab a few of her favorite cookies. Then, she asked permission to turn on her favorite television teenage comedy. She would watch the show and eat her cookies. And as the young teenager filled with laughter and joy, so did our home.
At one point, I realized the young girl didn't own a bible. Therefore, I purchased one for her. I had the bible personalized by inscribing her name on the front. Later, she began attending our church. She bonded with a few of the other teenage girls who attended our church's youth group. We had bonded to her as well and she became part of our family. So, when we suddenly heard one day that she would be moving to a new foster home, 40 miles from where we lived, my son and I took the news hard. I was given no contact information. So I simply kept the young girl in my prayers.
Then out of the blue, this past week, my son said, "I miss ______." Hearing her name, made me wonder how she had been doing in her new foster home. Yet, that thought only resonated a moment before the ring of our telephone stole my attention.
I answered the telephone to hear my husband's voice. Exhausted, he shared his concern over the additional work hours he was putting in. He said, "I leave when it is dark and I return when it is dark. I have no time for Grace anymore." Grace, our small rescued Chihuahua is only one-year-old. For over one week, my husband's had been sharing his guilt for leaving her alone for long hours during the day. As a result, I began to think, "Maybe Grace could use a companion."
I took the issue to the Lord in prayer. "Lord, if it is your will that we should have another dog, please show me the way." That same night, my young son and I sat down to watch a Christmas special before bed. I flipped through the channels to find something airing on our local television. As God would have it, the "PEANUTS" Christmas special, "I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown!" was on. I began to giggle.
The next day, I decided to search on line to see if one of our local shelter dogs would capture my heart. Yet, after several hours of combing through dogs and cats up for adoption, the only thing that caught my attention was the $300.00+ adoption price tag.
So, I prayed again. "Lord, if you want us to adopt another dog, please reveal Your will through this next attempt." Finally, I searched the Internets local Craigslist adds for small dogs. In my price range, there were two options. One small dog up for sale, lived only 15 miles away from our apartment. Because of the close distance and lower price, I called the owner and made an appointment to view the puppy for sale. Yet, after I made the call, I had an unsettling feeling about the appointment. As a result, I called the number again and cancelled the appointment. Next, I called the other listed option.
When the second woman answered my call, I immediately felt at ease. She said, "We provide foster care to dogs. My husband and I work with a program called 'Heaven Help Us.' " Instantly, I remembered my prayer. She added, "You can come see the dogs we have up for adoption if you want. Our home is easily identifiable by the Nativity Scene on the front lawn. We're believers." I briefly shared my testimony with her and made an appointment to choose a puppy.
On the day of the appointment, the woman and I shared a few laughs and some tears. I told her my full testimony, and chose our new puppy. Still, I felt as though my visit was unfinished. I started to wonder, "What am I missing?"
It wasn't until we stood by our car saying our "Goodbyes" that the woman revealed how her husband and her were also foster parents to children. She said,"We currently have one teenage foster child, but she will be leaving soon. She is returning home to live with her grandmother next week." In that moment I felt God's loving hand on my shoulder. I blurted out, "Is her name ____________?" Amazed, the woman asked, "How could you know that?" I told her, "God brought her to us awhile ago and we have been missing her. God orchestrates moments like this for me all the time now."
As I slowly drove away from the home, promising to return a few days later to reconnect with the foster child and pick up the puppy we chose, I thanked God for His willingness to orchestrate such an event. What I had thought was a simply a Christmas gift for my husband, also turned out to be the sweetest Christmas gift from God, picked out especially for my young son and me!