The Eatons and Foster Care: Relationships that are worth the wait!
by: Julie Adams
Sometimes, God’s timing is incredibly different from what we think it will be. In 2004, Alan and Wendy Eaton began seeking the Lord’s guidance regarding foster care, even praying that God might call them to serve as foster parents. Acting in obedience, the Eatons acquired a foster care license from the state of California where they lived at the time, yet after a year of waiting, no children were placed in their care. Soon afterward, Wendy began a more demanding job, one that consumed much of her time, not leaving her much freedom and time to serve as a foster parent as she had hoped. So, Alan and Wendy assumed that God had closed the door.
However, in 2019, God revived an old desire in their hearts: service as foster parents. Alan and Wendy began seeking the Lord’s leadership regarding foster care because they sensed that he was renewing a call for them to serve in this capacity. After some months in prayer, Wendy was randomly approached about caring for two girls in early 2020. Not expecting the foster care process to move so quickly, the Eatons had not yet acquired a foster parent license from the State of Oklahoma where they now live. But through a series of God-ordained events, they were able to welcome the girls into their home while working with child services to get the necessary training and certifications for fostering. Apparently, God had said, “Yes,” to their prayers and was completing the work he began all those years ago in California.
While the Eaton’s have absolutely embraced their new role as foster parents and
unconditionally love the two girls now in their care, a drastic change like theirs does not come without challenges. Alan and Wendy had settled into the comfortable routine as empty-nesters and the freedoms that come with having raised both biological children. Now, they are parenting two very young girls and providing for not only their physical needs, but just as importantly, their emotional needs. One scripture that has sustained this family in the tough times is 2 Corinthians 12:9, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Yet, as the Eatons would tell you, these challenges pale in comparison to the rewards that they have experienced through fostering. Alan and Wendy get to be eyewitnesses to the girls’ excitement when they hear stories from the Bible and Jesus’ life for the first time. “They are genuinely surprised and excited when we read about Jesus raising someone from the dead” Wendy describes. The Eatons have also experienced the indescribable joys of watching the girls sing praise songs to God, learn scriptures, and choose to give their lives to Christ. The girls have even started to ask their biological mom if she will say prayers with them every night and take them to church on Sundays when they get to return home to her.
While some of the most exciting times for the Eatons have been watching the girls grow
spiritually, the girls have also gained tremendous knowledge academically, emotionally, and behaviorally which will undoubtedly make a lifelong difference for the girls.
Through all of this, the Lord has taught the Eaton family to be aware of the needs of others that are all around them and to be willing to act because it is easy to get comfortable and continue in
our familiar routines. If you are interested in foster care, the Eatons suggest praying to God, asking him to show you his will, and seeking his will for ways to help those that God places in our paths. When Wendy first asked Alan about taking the girls into their home as foster parents, this is the verse that Alan sent back to Wendy with his response: “Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep
oneself unstained from the world” from James 1:27. And that is exactly what they are doing, caring for those around them.
Be willing and obedient if God calls you into foster care ministry. Know that God’s power is made perfect in your weaknesses. Fostering is not easy because many times foster parents give up their freedoms and creature comforts to serve those most vulnerable, but it is extremely rewarding and the need is great.