At the ripe age of 26 Marianne and Hunter Hawes embarked on a journey many never get to experience. They’ve watched the gospel unfold in their living room. They opened wide the doors to their home and said yes to foster care. They said yes to the vulnerable, the hurting and the broken. They said yes to second chances, yes to redemptive love and yes to amazing grace. “There’s never really a perfect time to foster or adopt, just a lot of opportunities to say “yes” despite the many reasons you may have to say “no”– Jason Johnson
Marianne and Hunter said yes to foster care and embarked on their journey to become foster parents in August of 2018. Upon entering the unknown world of home studies, foster parent classes, social work visits the Hawes felt their hearts fill with ache and heaviness for the families that were struggling in the foster care system. They began to realize the long term impact that foster care would have on the children and the parents that entered the system and again, said yes.
Just a month after completing their foster home approval the Hawes received a phone call for a 10 month old and a 3 year old. Two girls, needing a safe place to land. Two babies needing someone to hold them close when their world was falling apart. Two beautiful girls that needed someone to say yes. The Hawes home soon became flooded with diapers, wipes, meals, beds and baby toys from their surrounding community. Their schedule quickly became full of visits, court dates, doctors appointments and extra trips to the grocery store.
I remember the first month after our phone call. I felt like I couldn’t do it. I felt like I had made a huge mistake. I felt like I was crazy. I remember feeling so alone in those emotions. So unsure of how to put one foot in front of the other while facing the painful nooks and crannies of another mommas story. But each day, somehow, we kept saying yes. When I asked Marianne if she experienced similar emotions a sweet grin stretched across her newly, tired momma face. She said ” I was regretting everything! I didn’t want to be in my house and I was terrified to be around those sweet little ones. I was scared while everyone around me was so calm. I couldn’t see how I could fit into that so I wanted out. I wanted my ‘old’ life back. I cried a lot. But I had mommas and friends holding me saying ‘This is hard, you are going to do it, you are what they need, get back in there.’ It was the toughest, most tender thing I have ever felt.” Hunter followed with, ” Even though it is one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life it has also been one of the most fulfilling. I have learned how to have peace with the tough parts. We could have them for three more weeks or for three more years so I have learned to cherish each moment and each day.”
I was so thankful for their transparency. Their willingness to be vulnerable. To openly admit what a hard thing foster care can be. That carrying the burdens of another and laying down our cross daily is HARD. That making room at your table is hard. But guess what? The Hawes kept saying yes, they keep saying yes. Everyday they wake up, look those babies in the eyes and say yes. What a beautiful picture of the gospel. What an overwhelming glimmer of grace.
When I walked into the Hawes front door I had to hold back tears. I had to hold back the wave of emotions that washed over me. Because the Hawes were willing to say yes, lives were being changed and people were seeing Jesus in the midst of pain. I could tangibly feel the gospel and rejoiced because I know that people are seeing the gospel lived out! They are seeing a Father that is patient and kind. A Father that is full of second chances, full of grace and mercy. A Father that keeps saying yes, a Father that never gives up. And this my friends, this is foster care.