Allison Sangenito and her husband, Mark, saw a need for care of vulnerable children. After prayerfully considering and processing in the context of biblical community, they opened their home to five children through foster care. Read as Allison reflects on the Lord’s faithfulness and seeking the “best yes” in every season of her life.
How did you come to know the Lord?
“I had a really hard time in high school, but that is also when my relationship with the Lord developed. There is no doubt in my mind that I accepted Christ in third grade, but I still felt a life of uncertainty and worry. I often put my hope in things outside of Christ, even though I knew who held my future. As my faith grew, it eventually changed how I saw my struggles. I didn’t always struggle well, but I had the gospel as my compass as I navigated the anxieties, hardships, and joys of life. Through my parents’ divorce, I was able to see the church we were raised in really step in and love us well. Their actions prompted a desire for me to care for hurting kids in my future. In that time, I learned that God is Abba (Mark 14:36); He is my Father in whom I can trust and put full faith.”
How did you become a foster parent?
“During my college years, I felt like children’s ministry was where the Lord was leading me, and I ended up as a children’s minister in a small town in East Texas. My heart was for the kids who weren’t getting to see the gospel in their own families. I wanted to take what the Lord showed me through my circumstances and share His grace, mercy, and comfort with the kids I was leading. Through this ministry, my husband and I saw so many children in need in our community. That is when our eyes were really opened to the idea of being foster parents.
“We knew there was a need. We felt like the Lord was calling us to meet that need, but we had to figure out where and how we could be obedient. We tried to make our best ‘yes’ by seeking out God’s Word, spending time in prayer, and seeking wisdom from community. Submitting to my husband’s leadership and being open to direction from others helped in the process. We had to trust the Lord even when we felt like what He was asking of us was against the norm or scary. We wanted to learn how to love the kids well, how to love our biological kids well, how to keep our marriage strong, and most importantly, how to guide these tiny humans to the Lord in the process.”
How have you seen the Lord’s faithfulness through your season of fostering now that it has ended?
“It was hard, and it wasn’t always pretty. We didn’t know what to expect when we decided to be foster parents. We experienced the Lord in both our happiness and sadness. Without our community group and support groups pointing us to Christ, we could not have done it. We found beauty and purpose as we taught our biological kids how to do hard things while walking with the Lord in the way He leads us. As Christians, we are people who do hard things in difficult circumstances, but He equips us for those things. He showed us that we were not enough, but He is (2 Corinthians 12:9-11).
“When our season of foster parenting ended, I was afraid I’d feel guilt and heaviness for not serving in that way anymore. We are continually trying to find our best, obedient ‘yes’ to the Lord. And we are certain the Lord isn’t done with us just because our time as foster parents has ended. We can love and care for vulnerable children regardless (James 1:27). Your faithful response may not specifically be to foster or adopt, but it doesn’t exclude you from serving those in need. As a church body, we are designed to strengthen one another.
“Our foster care experience has forever shaped our hearts. It was one of the hardest things we have walked through. God opened our eyes to His children. He has strengthened and protected our marriage and our family. Fostering showed our children what compassion and sacrifice look like. We are able to see His faithfulness in the restoration of families and in the opportunities to share the gospel with the families of our foster placements. There were times when we were afraid or felt like we had nothing to give, but the Lord was good and reminded us through His Word, timing, and presence that we are not alone (Deuteronomy 31:6).
“Looking back, I can see very clearly times when my responses to events and circumstances were, ‘Why God?’ But if I hadn’t been through them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I see where my experiences really impact things I do now, both good and bad. And I know God will sustain me through everything. There are a lot of times when we doubt ourselves or think we are failures, but God carries us through. He carried my family through miscarriage, marriage struggles, and foster care. It’s all Him!”
Join us on September 19 for an informational meeting addressing preliminary issues to establish a foundation for the decision and journey to foster and/or adopt. Learn more.