Feb 09, 2020 • Written by Katie Long
A Different Kind Of Love Story
We drive down a tree-lined gravel lane that seems to appear out of the blue in rural Wisconsin. The closer we get, the more we can hear the sounds of children. As we pull into the yard, we are met with the sight of happy chaos - nearly a dozen children jumping on trampolines, riding bikes around the yard, and running in and out of the house. Beautiful children with all shades of skin tone, from the fairest of fair to deep ebony.
At first glance, one might think they’ve pulled into a daycare, hidden deep in the woods. But they would be wrong.
These children are one big, beautiful, love story.
We met our friends Jason and Becky almost 20 years ago when we were all newlyweds and in the same small group at AAC. We had a tradition of taking turns choosing a Bible verse or two to memorize each week as a group. One week, our friends chose the following verse.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility
value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests
but each of you to the interests of others.”
I don’t know if any of us realized at the time how literally Jason and Becky would live out this verse.
Years passed, they moved away, and they grew to be a family of four. Looking at them, one would think they had the perfect scenario - a sweet daughter followed by a wonderful boy and topped off with one crazy dog. But they weren’t content with being that idea of the perfect family.
God had called them to more.
He was calling them to "look to the interests of others" through the means of foster care. They saw a need in their community for children to have a safe place to be loved and nurtured while their parents got life figured out, and they felt called to fill that need. It was as simple as that.
It didn’t make sense from an outsider's point of view. They were living in a house well suited for four people in the middle of nowhere. It would have been easy and even logical for them to ignore God's calling and go on living as a comfortable family of four.
But they said yes. Again and again and again.
Over the next six years, they fostered at least 30 local children in their home until they sensed that God was calling them to fill their home on a permanent basis. Not knowing what exactly that meant for them, they opened their doors to whatever God had planned next, and they waited with anticipation to see how He chose to grow their family.
They soon added another biological daughter followed by a pair of pre-adoptive siblings from the Milwaukee area. When their daughter was six months old, they added a four-month old little boy to the mix as well.
Doubling the number of children in their family in such a short time could have easily been overwhelming, but Jason and Becky found it rewarding. A short time later, they learned that their pre-adoptive duo had two other siblings who were in need of a home, and without hesitation they opened their arms and home to these additional siblings. Most recently, they’ve become legal guardians to three more boys, bringing their household total to a baker’s dozen - 11 children and two adults!
Let that sink in for a moment - 11 children, from teen to toddler, all under one roof.
One might consider these friends crazy, but it is clear to me that they are called. Becky shared the following with me:
“We feel truly blessed beyond what we deserve. God has designed our family perfectly. To see His hand through the entire process is pretty amazing! Are we done adding kids? I would definitely add more...Who knows what God has in store for us?! All we know is that we are ready, willing and able. I know most people who see us think we’re a phenomenon, but we are just a normal family doing life together. We are so honored that God trusts us enough to use us. Our prayer is that we never let Him down.”
As we approach Valentine’s Day this week, let’s take a moment to consider how God has equipped us to look to the interest of others. That passion in your heart? It wasn't placed there by accident. That gift or talent that you think is nothing? It’s a big deal in God’s eyes. He gave you that gift with a specific intent - to glorify Him and to bless others. We aren’t all called to grow our family to a dozen children (thank goodness!). However, we are called to love others well using the gifts and passions God has placed in each of us.
Jason and Becky are living a different type of love story...one that will have a ripple effect for generations to come by creating a legacy of hope, God's love, and loving others well with a spirit of obedience and humility.
May each of us do the same.
Each of you should use whatever gift
You have received to serve others,
As faithful stewards of God's grace
In its various forms.
~1 Peter 4:10