Fostering His Children
In recognition of National Foster Care Month, we visited with John Mark Miller, staff assistant to the DBU president, and his wife, Janelle, about how the Lord called them to pursue foster parenting.
As DBU alumni Janelle and John Mark Miller near the end of the state licensing process to be approved as foster and potential adoptive parents in May or June of this year, people usually wonder what led them to make this major life decision.
For Janelle, adopting a foster child has been a lifelong dream. Many of her childhood friends were adopted, and she was deeply impacted by the way adoptive families can serve as powerful, living pictures of the Gospel. One November, Janelle met a former foster child who was now in her twenties, and casually asked where this young lady was going for Thanksgiving.
“With tears in her eyes, she told me that she had aged out of the foster system and had never been adopted, and that she had absolutely no one to spend the holidays with. I realized that if people like me did nothing, many of these foster children would spend the rest of their lives completely alone,” shares Janelle.
It took John Mark a little longer to warm up to the idea of fostering, since there were so many unknowns and it felt like a huge risk. His perspective changed, however, when the Lord led him to spend four years teaching in an inner city middle school where he worked with many children from troubled homes.
“When a student feels safe enough in your classroom to share with you the horrors they are experiencing at home, you immediately feel responsible for protecting that child in some way,” John Mark explains. “It is so difficult to watch those students go home to abusive situations day after day and be able to do nothing but notify the school counselor and pray for their safety.”
This experience is what the Lord used to give John Mark the desire to not simply provide a safe classroom for students one hour a day, but to provide a safe home where they could find constant love and protection.
As they began working on becoming licensed foster parents, the Millers were surprised by the level of support provided by their local adoption agency and also by the overwhelming amount of paperwork required.
“During one training a case manager told us, ‘before this is over we will know practically everything about you!’” Janelle remembers.
Attending trainings after work and learning about all of the rules, regulations, parenting guidelines, required paperwork, continuing classes, reading assignments, and interviews, the Millers have been astonished at how carefully the government watches over the children in the foster system. They are also constantly reminded that the Lord loves these precious children more than anyone else ever could, and it is comforting to know that He is watching over these children – and their foster parents – with His loving gaze.
The Millers know that their children will come from traumatic situations, and that this will come with many challenges.
“I come from a close-knit family,” John Mark shares, “so the hardest part for me was realizing that I may not feel that same closeness with my own children for a very long time. Eventually, I simply had to fall on my knees before God and say, ‘This is not my family, it’s Your family, and I trust that You know what You’re doing.’”
Even before a single child has been placed into their home, the Millers already feel that this experience has strengthened their spiritual walk. They have realized that the sacrifices they are making are very small compared to Christ dying for us while we were sinful and difficult to love ourselves (Romans 5:8). They were excited to learn that one definition of the word foster is “to cherish, to encourage growth,” and their prayer is that the Lord would use them to encourage their future children and others to grow closer to the Lord.
Janelle says, “John Mark and I have prayed over the children that God will bring into our home…I find myself wondering what sort of tragedy they are experiencing, and pray that God would lessen their load and allow us to be a vessel of healing in their life.”
- Jeffrey Totey published the blogpost Movie Producers Donate to Wounded Warriors with Your Help.
- Julio Ribeiro just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Warren Robison just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Gary Weed created a new gallery
- Gary Weed just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Lyn Rossano just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Tina Jagneaux just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Jeremy Riley just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Flashback: How to Stop Victim Mentality and Thinking in Kids and Teens.
- Walter Bright published the blogpost Divine Healing Will Be Fully Realized When Jesus Returns.
- Brandi McElheney just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Blake Atwood published the audio If You Want to be Successful, Stop Being So Accessible | Michael Hyatt.
- John Rutledge published the article New study suggests religion can predict sexual behavior.
- Jeff Reiter just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Candace Andrews just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Blake Atwood uploaded a photo
- Joe Padilla just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Chris Peek published the blogpost Why Simplicity is Necessary to Live in a Story that Matters.
- Blake Atwood published the video 'Theology Questions Everyone Asks' Part II | Gary M. Burge & David Lauber.
- Blake Atwood published the video 'Theology Questions Everyone Asks' | Gary M. Burge & David Lauber.
- Blake Atwood published the video The Counselor: Why Do You Doubt? | Craig Groeschel.
- Ancuta Rusu-Sieng just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Brad Russell shared How to Create and Manage a Blog (Part 1) | Tutorial: NEW BLOGGERS: You can network your blog into the site by clicking Manage My Loft/Blog. Here's a video explaining how to create and manage your blog in FV.
- Dave Jenkins, Jr. created a new gallery
- Brad Russell uploaded a photo
- Dave Jenkins just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Drew DyckMy interview on the Logos blog on how we try to domesticate God. http://blog.vyrso.com/2014/04/23/stop-trying-to-tame-god-rediscovering-dangerous-christianity/
- Blake Atwood published the audio Reimaginining God's Eternal Purpose: Part I | Frank Viola.
- Victor Nunez just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Lori Fogleman published the blogpost Baylor alum appointed to National Commission on Hunger.
- Dorothy Greco published the blogpost Relevant Magazine: Fear Doesn’t Have to Control Us.
- Lauren Sturdy published the article Fostering Adventures: Veteran Parents Rebuild Lives.
- Blake Atwood shared Getting Your Small Group to Like You: "If people genuinely don’t like you, and you’re a representation of Christ for them, then there’s a great chance you’re acting as a barrier for them to enjoying Jesus. It would be wise for us to not be a barrier. How to you get your small group to like you? Well you can start by taking a shower before group. Then, let’s get to the more important things." — Ben Reed
- Britni Wood published the blogpost IT’S HERE! Get the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle NOW!!!!.
- Deb Wolf published the blogpost A Dozen Things You Can Do to Start Really Living Today.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Kidnapped Boy, 10, Sang A Gospel Song For 3 HOURS Until Abductor Set Him Free.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Teens Who Suffer A Concussion More Likely To Attempt Suicide: study.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost New Teen Deadly LSD-Like Drug 25I, or N-bomb Trends.