I always dreamed of having children. I taught school, organized children’s ministry in my church, and spent much of my time doing projects with kids of all ages. My husband and I anticipated raising a family God’s way. I thought I was well prepared for the wonderful joys of motherhood.

Our news from the doctor came quickly and definitely; we could not bear children. 

I did not understand. Devastation, frustration, and confusion filled my heart and mind. Why didn’t God answer my prayer? Maybe I should have prayed harder. Proverbs 30:16 says that one thing that cannot be satisfied is the barren womb. The issue of childlessness shook my heart and I fell apart emotionally. How could God work this problem out for His honor and glory?

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7

I needed to keep asking, to seek for God’s answers and to knock on new doors to open.

I asked God if adoption was the answer to our problem. As I knocked on a few doors, I realized the road to adoption could be long and confusing. There were few children available for adoption, but there were thousands available through foster care. We still wanted to raise a permanent family, but we waited for God’s timing and direction in the adoption process. It took five months for the completion of interviews and background checks, and then our journey of foster parenting began.                                                                             

Our first child came two days before Mother’s Day. My emotions skyrocketed with joy. While a part of me still felt fulfilled, as problems in this little girl surfaced, I knew only God could heal the issues in her three-year-old life.

Thirty-two children of all ages, newborns through teens, came to live in my home. A background story accompanied each one. These children had difficult needs that I could not handle or fix. Most of them had behavioral and anger problems. Some had a chemical imbalances or personality disorders. Several displayed the challenges of learning disabilities and others were plagued with addictions or a history of abuse. Every situation was different.  So much was off balance!                                                                                   

I felt totally unprepared for the challenges. The emotional, mental, social, and academic needs screamed for help. I realized that the Lord carefully placed each one in our home for His plan and eternal purpose. Every area of their lives displayed spiritual depravity and an overwhelming need for God’s intervention.                                                   

I wanted to see a change in each child. I prayed desperately for answers. I cried to the Lord for help. The battle for their lives raged inside of me. I made a commitment to pray with my whole heart for every need.

I looked to God’s Word for His promises and answers and I believed what He said. <<Click to Tweet

I struggled in prayer. Things often got worse before the answers came. God did amazing things. He answered many prayers. Anger and emotional outbursts lessened.  Failing students passed their classes. An insensitive child gained compassion and sensitivity. An overwhelming negative personality became pleasantly positive.  Bedwetting and eating problems disappeared. 

Here are just some of the specific victories in answer to my prayers…

  • Susan’s mom died. She behaved terribly and screamed loudly for hours. Her frustrated relatives could not handle her misbehavior. God brought many changes to her and the yelling stopped.  
  • Dana had learning disabilities. I spent hours with her every night doing homework. It was a time struggle for me, but the Lord helped us both. She passed high school and went on to finish college with an associate’s degree.
  • Henry’s anger caused him to hit and break things. God took that anger from him and made him a happier little boy.
  • Sam committed a crime and had family troubles. He had a hard time with our family rules. God made him into a new person. After he left our home, he called to thank us for getting him on the straight path and for keeping him out of trouble. 
  • Everything in Joel’s life was dysfunctional. His mom died from a drug overdose. He had temper tantrums that lasted two hours. He could not relate to people, especially to men. He had severe emotional and mental problems. Joel constantly got into trouble and he had a negative attitude most of the time. He failed at everything he tried. God heard my prayers and He removed layers of bondage off Joel’s life. His tantrums stopped, his attitude became positive, love and kindness replaced his hatred. He succeeded in finishing a trade school education and is able to work in a job.                                                                                               
God did not heal or resolve every challenge.  He told me to trust Him and to do my part in prayer. I knew it was up to Him to bring results. He changed me. He taught me how to pray.         

I learned the wonderful discipline of praise. Praise lifted me up though every tough minute. It was a catalyst in changing my children. I praised the Lord for the child, for the problem, and for His resolution to each challenge.                                                          

As I searched Scriptures, God gave me specific verses to pray for each problem. He did what He said in His Word. He healed. “He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.” (Psalm 107:20)

I developed the discipline of fasting, seeking the Lord for hours. I learned to trust Him even in very dark days when everything in a child’s life seemed wrong. These children needed miracles. Some of them were abused and others had committed crimes. They acted inappropriately and their behavior reflected their troubled souls. Many of their parents were drug and alcohol users. Fasting brought changes.                                 

Foster care and adoption have their difficult days, but so does parenting a birth child. <<Click to Tweet

God carefully placed each child in my home to change me so I could depend more on Him for wisdom and direction in raising each one.  Many of these young individuals went home, knowing the Lord Jesus as their Savior. They were healthier with new attitudes, behaviors, and thinking. While they lived with me, God planted seeds in their hearts and minds that will transform their futures. 

I eventually adopted two children. God had a better plan than mine. Had I given birth to my own children, many of these contrary kids might not have received a divine transformation by God’s power.  God healed, changed lives, and worked in my life for His honor and glory. It was all about Him. He orchestrated the events and did great things. He brought fulfillment to my barren situation beyond anything I ever could have imagined.      

“Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate womanthan of her who has a husband,”says the Lord. “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nationsand settle in their desolate cities.”  Isaiah 54:1-3                        


Elaine is a music teacher, writer, and inspirational speaker. She loves using her gift of teaching to inspire people to pray, share their faith, become strong disciples, and grow spiritually. She and her husband raised 32 foster and 2 adopted children. Elaine's favorite stories tell how God changed the lives of her children through the Word of God and prayer.

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photo credit: Kimberly Coyle Instagram

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