Throughout this year, our Foster Care Support ministry continued to surround foster and adoptive parents with encouragement and help. The ministry serves to come alongside and support singles and families in our church as they pursue foster care and welcome children into their homes.
Brad and Stephanie Dymit, who attend Walnut Creek South, have adopted two children through the foster care system. They’ve been active in our Foster Care Support ministry and were able to adopt their daughter this summer.
1. What led you to pursue foster care?
James 1:27 tells us that religion that is pure and undefiled before God is to look after the widows and orphans. That is just one out of many places in Scripture where God shows his care for those who are hurting most in this world. Over and over in Scripture God looks to those who are the outcast and rejected in society and calls His people to love them.
We were both interested in foster care and adoption before we got married. Then, around the time we got married, a friend of ours became a foster parent. She shared with us the great need for godly men and women to stand in the gap and love these children who have been abused or neglected. In Iowa there are more foster children than foster families available. As we considered growing our family and saw how God’s Word addresses the vulnerable in our society, we felt we could not ignore the need and decided to become foster parents.
“Over and over in Scripture God looks to those who are the outcast and rejected in society and calls His people to love them.”
2. What did your first foster care experience look like?
When we got the call for Ari, he was only 5 days old. We were not even sure if we would be able to accept his placement. We both worked full-time, and we knew it would be very hard to find child care for a newborn because they can’t go to a daycare until they are over 6 weeks old. We called around to several in-home daycares without any luck and had pretty much given up. We assumed that we would have to say no to his placement.
At the end of the day we were talking to Mike and Liz Crane, who also attend Walnut Creek South, and mentioned to them we would not be able to accept the placement because we didn’t have childcare. Liz generously offered to watch Ari until he was old enough to go to daycare. Because of her offer, we were able to bring our sweet boy home. When we picked him up we didn’t have any supplies other than a crib and a few bottles. We had stopped at Target beforehand to buy a stroller and car seat. That night Brad’s older sister, who has three kids of her own, drove all the way from Cedar Falls to help us with the first night of waking and feeding. That weekend so many families from church brought us clothes, bottles, toys, food, and nearly everything we needed. The foster care ministry has a Care Closet, which was so helpful as well. The process of accepting a new foster care placement for the first time was so chaotic, and stressful, with many unknowns, and almost no ability to prepare. The support of our family and church community was just the most incredible blessing during that time.
3. What did it look like to accept the foster care placement for your daughter?
When Ari was about 11 months old, we were in the process of adopting him and also found out his mom was pregnant again and due in 2 months. We prayed about the situation and decided if she also needed to be in foster care, we would be willing to bring her home. There were many insecurities we had about welcoming another baby since Ari was still so little, but we felt that this is what God was leading our family to do. Two months later in February, we were in our lawyer’s office discussing the process of adopting Ari. Our lawyer mentioned that if Ari’s birth mom had another child, DHS would probably contact us first. As those words were coming out of his mouth, I got a call from our caseworker asking us to pick up Rinnah from the hospital as our new foster child. Because that call happened in the lawyer’s office, he moved our adoption hearing for Ari up to later that week so that Brad could get paternity leave and help watch Rinnah. We felt a lot of fear and insecurity. We can clearly see the Lord’s blessing during that time and be thankful when we look back.
4. What did it look like to pursue adopting your daughter in the midst of 2020?
Typically going to the courthouse for the adoption hearing is very special. You invite all your family and friends, almost like a wedding, to come celebrate the occasion. We were disappointed to think that we would miss out on that because adoption hearings are being held virtually due to COVID-19. Even though it was a different experience than Ari’s hearing was, it ended up still being so special. We invited our family over and had our friends call into the virtual meeting. There were several people who were able to watch the adoption who would not have been able to had it been in person like family from out of state or friends who couldn’t take time off work. We even had one of Brad’s coworkers join and get to hear some of the reasons we do foster care.
5. How has your family been helped by the Foster Care Ministry?
There have been two big ways the Foster Care Ministry has been a blessing to us. The ministry offers times for foster care parents to meet with other first-time foster parents to share stories, prayer requests, and encouragements. Just getting to know other believers who have the same passion as we do is something that helps us get through harder times. Having relationships with other foster parents also gives us a support system of parents we know we can trust to watch our foster kids if we ever need a break. The Care Closet was also so helpful when we first brought Ari home. There was very little we had ready for him. When we got him from the hospital, the only clothing we had was the onesie they sent him home in. It was such a blessing to be able to go to the church and get so many of the things we needed for him.