Long before the Bradshaws became involved in foster care, they would tell you, “We don’t do that”. God, in His unsearchable grace and mercy, changed that for them. God entered in and spoke to Sarah at an information meeting a few years ago. She would tell you that she couldn’t unhear the things God had told her that night. She knew that the only way forward was to care for these children, and walk towards God, or to reject these children and backaway from God. Sarah knew this would be too much for her, but God encouraged her heart, “I will care for these children!”. Since the Bradshaws stepped out in obedience, they have had the opportunity to love many children, children they call their own. In January 2017, they had the opportunity to provide a forever home for a young girl who had come back to their home. that girl is now officially their daughter. Read about God’s great love, grace, and mercy below!
In August 2017, our daughter officially became a “Bradshaw”. Despite being in our home for over two years, we felt this official document would grant us a fresh start. It would prove to be a new beginning for us and a new beginning for her. Until we realized that wasn’t the case at all. You see, a “new beginning” meant that her previous story was over…null and void. Yet, the characters in her story remained unchanged and the previous pages could never be erased. So, we began praying. We sought God’s direction on how we could honor her story and all those within it. And we found that God led us to bring her mother back into our daughter’s life.
We knew that God was leading us back to her, so in January 2018, we reached out to our daughter’s mother. It was with fear and trepidation that I dialed her phone number and choked out the words, “She is my daughter, too.” Completely unsure of how that phone call would end, we stepped out in faith to carry out what God was clearly instructing. He was faithful, just as He is always is. We ended the phone call in tears and with a mutual understanding that “our” girl was worthy of both of our loves.
Our daughter now has two mothers. One didn’t replace the other and whether we liked it or not, both held the title “Momma”. We realized that there was a place at our table for anyone who loved our daughter. Our daughter was worth that and so much more. So, we began talking with her and explained that although a new chapter had begun, we never wanted to erase or rewrite her history. Our daughter immediately took a deep breath and began to confide in us all of her fears and heartache. She missed her mother. She longed to return to the life she once knew. Yet, she never wanted to leave us. No child should ever have that struggle, and we never wanted her to have to choose.
Since that phone call, our daughter has reconnected with her mother. Healthy boundaries were established and understood, and we continue charting the unknown waters before us. Our family hardly looks like what I envisioned five years ago. It’s complicated and messy. It’s hard and often confusing. It’s chaotic and many times, uncomfortable.
But, it’s full of grace and love, full of healing and trust, both for our daughter, her mother, and us! It’s a beautiful song of forgiveness and redemption. And we have no better example to follow than the grace-filled love our Father lavishes on us.
“We love because He first loved us.” I John 4:19