Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A gift of love


Four years ago today, June 1, 2006, we were officially approved as a foster family. We were told it might take a while to place a child in our home since we were requesting a child aged 5 or younger and our agency placed mostly older children. We were willing to wait.

Unbeknownst to us at the time, a single mother was admitted to Harrisburg Hospital and on June 1 gave birth to a 4 lb. 5 oz. baby girl. Born five weeks early with no prenatal care and with drugs in her system, AundreaUna Ciera had entered the world.

In the morning of June 6 I got a phone call. I clearly remember the day as the children gathered around to hear the news from the other end. The social worker asked if we would be willing to take a 5 day old who was to be discharged from the NICU that afternoon. I/we said "yes" and the wait began as our foster care worker had to give our home study to the county to see if they would choose our home. I also had to make the phone call to John to tell him that I had accepted a newborn baby girl.

Within the hour we knew that we were the chosen ones! By 4:00 that afternoon we were at the hospital picking up Aundrea which is the name the social worker had mistakenly given to us. But by the time the mistake had been figured out, the name had stuck.

I didn't know quite what to do with this little 4 pounder as the first five King kids came out about double that weight. Some friends came to rescue us, even bringing a box of the preemie clothes their daughter had worn.

Thus began a beautiful journey from foster care to adoption. It had its ups and downs as she traveled the foster care system. One horrible weekend we were told that she was going to be returned to her birth mother. While we would have loved to see a changed life and reunification, it was clear to us that her birth mother was not ready. We spent the weekend praying for Aundrea, her mother and for us. Amazingly, it was just a few days later when it became apparent that Aundrea's goal was going to be changed to adoption.

As John often says, there is no good story in foster care. In our joy we realized that there was a birth mother who was hurting. Our hearts continue to go out to her as she remembers June 1 with very different emotions than our memories. We pray for her daily, remind HopeAnne Aundrea King that her birth mother loves her very much, and send pictures twice a year (after Hope's birthday and again after Christmas). It is our prayer that she would come to know Christ so that we could all be reunited in Heaven some day. We have a beautiful letter from her that we can give to Hope when she is older. We also have the story of her birth mother's sacrificial love the day she relinquished her rights rather than have the court terminate them. As the judge said that day, it was not a cowardly act as some might say, but a gift of love. Thank you, from the King family to you!

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