Gary and I always knew we would adopt. As we learned of the need for foster parents, we decided that after we had biological kids we would foster to adopt. But that plan, as plans often do, changed. Our eyes were opened to the immediate need for foster parents and, we realized we had no reason to wait to foster kids. We had space available and love to give and all of our excuses fell flat. So, we went ahead and completed the steps to get licensed to be foster parents.

Our first placement came just a day after we opened our home. When CPS placed Lexi they all but told us that this would be her last stop, that we would be adopting her at the end of this case. But long story short, that didn’t happen. Not only did it not happen, but the end of our story with that little girl was the hardest and most heartbreaking thing we have ever experienced. Loving her turned out to be the greatest sacrifice of our lives.

Over the past year, we’ve welcomed seven kids into our hearts and homes. Three of those kids have moved on from here, four are still here with us for now. Our second placement was 3-month-old twin boys who had come from a group foster home. Just days after Lexi left, we got our third placement, a 3-year-old boy who had been bounced around a lot and needed a place that wouldn’t turn him away no matter what. Our fourth placement was a sibling set of three kids who were living in a shelter. All of these placements have one common thread: they reinforced what we’ve always known to be true – that these kids are always worth the heartbreak.

Foster care is teaching us the hard stuff about loving the Lord first and foremost and chasing after Him and the things He has called us to. We are learning what it really means to entrust everything we have to Him, including our kids, even though none of them are technically “ours.” Through losing Lexi, we learned that even if a child we love more than life leaves our home, if our ultimate goal is to make the Gospel known, then we have much to celebrate. And if that is always our ultimate goal, we will have zero regrets. I, for one, have none.

We want to put our time, talent, and treasure into making the Gospel known by taking in orphans. So we’ve carried on despite our heartbreak, hoping that the Lord uses even the broken pieces of our lives to make Himself known. Throughout our many ups and downs as foster parents, Embrace has been a soft place to land. They have provided support and encouragement and the kind of prayer only those who’ve been there can offer up on your behalf. They understand the small victories that aren’t really so small when we’re talking about foster kids, and they celebrate those with us. They’ve been an invaluable resource and sounding board as we navigate each new placement or potential placement. They’ve been an incredible support for us, and they’ve made us feel so much less alone as we walk this road.

To follow the Combs journey, visit their blog at thecombsfam.com.