We have become parents!!! Well, foster parents that is. Crazy right! I know, I know....God is wonderfully crazy awesome. Well, let me backup and fill you all in on just how this amazing blessing happened.
The last you heard from us, we had just left Rockford, heading to Cincinnati. While we were in Rockford, we perceived the Lord was leading our hearts to come off the road. For a sec, we even thought that maybe Rockford was the place and we did indeed pray about staying there. However, we didn't sense that was quite the place, but that the time was coming soon and God was preparing our hearts.
We got to Ohio and stayed with an amazing family. While in Ohio, our hearts grew ever stronger in feeling the time to come off the road was quickly approaching. With that, we knew that God wanted us to plant deep roots and have a strong community with an open home. We began praying about where and we prayed for our future community. We took a look at our natural desires which revealed a list; we wanted to be in warm climate, we did not want to go back to the west coast (mainly I couldn't think of being that far from my nephews again), we fancied the beach, a place close to a 10th Planet where Niko trains jui jitsu. So, there you have it. If you wanna be on the beach on the east coast, there aren't a ton of options, I mean if you want warm weather. We were left with Florida, Alabama, or South Carolina. There were only 10th Planets in Jacksonville, Fl, and Gulf Shores, AL. After really looking at each of these states, we really wanted to live in Florida. Jacksonville didn't really seem like a great fit for us. Pensacola was only 45 mins away from Gulf Shores, and that was drivable. In one GIANT STEP OF FAITH...we headed to Pensacola! Not knowing a soul, having never been here, just knowing God would be with us.
We arrived, and two days later we were connected through friends of a friend of a friend to this rad couple that lived 45 mins away! They were so awesome, they immediately set up a lunch date with us for the next day. At lunch, be became instant friends with this couple and they sweetly offered for us to park in their driveway! We'd already been staying at the local Walmart for several nights, so we jumped to the offer. Bush and Rachel opened their home to us for almost a month, it was just unheard of kindness in today's day and age, but such a beautiful example of God's grace and mercy. We will forever be grateful for them!
Niko and I had been applying for jobs daily! Three weeks after arriving, and we were getting zero job bites. A lady at the church that Bush and Rachel attended sent us an ad she had seen that was looking for foster parents for a local non-profit. Upon reading the ad, the seriousness of a gig like this really hit us. I have always had a heart to foster and a special love for children who are often stuck in disheartening situations that they have no power to change. Myself coming from a similar background of a broken home with abuse and domestic violence. Niko was adopted in a timely manner keeping him out of the foster system. So, needless to say a job like this felt more like a calling. We took a few days to pray over it. Somewhere inside me, I was just so scared to be told no. This was my dream and I honestly was scared to hear someone tell me no, knowing I'd be so crushed, and that fear almost kept us from applying for the position.
Well, I overcame that fear, and we did apply, and praise Jesus we got it!!! A week and a few days after applying we moved into a 15 room house! 6 bedrooms, 4 baths. We received two work cars (Ford Flexes) and everything we could ever need! We sold everything back in Cali when we left, and God has blessed us with even more! It is so awe inspiring to feel so loved and seen by Him! It somewhat feels like Job when he lost everything, and God returned to him even more! Though completely different situation of course. The organization we are working for is amazing! They focus on keeping siblings in the foster system together. They have set us up for total success to love and care for the children put into our care. All our needs are provided for, even gas money for the cars! Food, household items... all handled. Yes, there is wildly a salary too. There is literally nothing we need. The home is completely furnished and beautiful located around such a sweet community, and we are 10 mins from the most magnificent beaches we have ever seen.
We have been here now for almost two months and we have gotten our first two kiddos! An 8 year old girl and a 7 year old boy! They are amazing! We have never felt so fulfilled! We know this is exactly where we are suppose to be and what we are suppose to be doing. Our home can house up to 12 kids, but we likely will only get up to 8. We had no idea what lied ahead when we took a giant step of faith leaving California! We just knew we felt something was missing. I am so glad we left and took off to find what God had for us! We are having so much fun and this work, showing these kids that they matter! That they are so loved! Ahhh, there is not one thing in this entire world we would rather be doing.
Thank you for all of you that followed our journey this summer! Stay tuned for this next chapter... we can't wait to share it with you.
**We cannot share the organization's name because we want to be able to share with you our life here with our kids.
**If you feel called to something like this....let me know! I'd love to let you know if other house parent positions open up.
Niko and Michelle