Although Mike and Veronica Netzer have experienced heartbreak through their journey with foster care and adoption, their family has also felt and seen the Lord’s faithfulness and joy in community and with God’s people.
How did you start the journey of foster care and adoption?
Veronica: “Even in our engagement, we knew foster care and adoption was something we wanted to do. While we lived in Florida, we watched my sister and her husband foster a few different children. It was sweet to watch them love the kids. It was a really beautiful picture of redemption that encouraged our hearts towards foster care.”
Mike: “The need is very compelling. There are so many kids who need foster parents. The number of people willing to foster is very small, but we felt like it was something we could do as a family.”
Veronica: “When we moved to Texas, our marriage was not in a good place. We still wanted to pursue foster care, but our community group encouraged us to focus on our marriage and relationships with Christ before moving forward with fostering a child. While that deferment was painful, I am so thankful for that season of growth and our community playing such a big role in our life decisions. A year later, we started the training process to become foster parents, and in August 2016, we were matched with a little boy.
“The moment he entered our house, I thought, ’This is our baby!’ From the beginning, we knew the goal was restoration with his biological family, but in my heart, I felt like he was a part of us. I felt like he belonged. Five weeks later, he was reunited with a member of his family. Although this was a desire from the beginning, it was devastating to us. When Mike came back into the house after placing him in the CPS worker’s car, we both hugged and cried. The heartbreak we experienced required so much reliance and trust in the Lord. We had to trust that the Lord has a plan for him, even if it meant he wasn’t in our family. It was uniting for us as a married couple to be able to comfort each other in grief. The Lord also showed us such sweet, nurturing, and loving sides of our biological sons in how they loved this child and how sad they were when he left our family.”
“After a short season of healing and grieving, we re-opened for foster care and Scout – a tiny baby girl who was literally born in a drug house, less than five pounds – was placed in our home. I felt very hesitant to attach to her because of the hurt we experienced from reunifying our previous foster child with his family.
“After six months, we were asked if we’d be open to adopting her. Our community group encouraged us to take a step back and consider if that was the best plan for our family. We processed through a lot with our community group and families. Although there were many unknowns and questions about adopting her, instead of fearing the what-ifs and long-term effects that can come with adopting a child with early trauma, we knew this was an opportunity to show God’s love.”
Mike: “David Leventhal, a leader at Watermark, compared foster care and adoption to the parable of the good Samaritan. There are risks and thoughts of what could happen if you bring a foster care child into your family. In the parable, the first two men that pass the man on the side of the road think, ‘What would happen to me if I stopped?’ and the third said, ‘What is going to happen to this person if I don’t stop?’ It was important for us to think, ‘What would happen to this girl if we didn’t stop?’ If something challenging did happen, we would be able to experience it with our children. It’s been an opportunity for me and Veronica to grow and disciple our kids in the process.”
How have you seen the Lord’s faithfulness through your experience with foster care and adoption?
Veronica: “We saw the Lord’s faithfulness in the way our community group rose up around us and cared for us. When we got the call for Scout, friends and our community immediately stepped up and helped us with essentials we needed for a baby girl. They’d babysit our boys just so I could be with her.
“The Lord’s faithfulness was also apparent through how we’ve comforted each other as a couple. Being able to encourage one another knowing that the Lord is our ultimate comfort – and being able to redirect each other towards that truth – was really helpful for us.”
Mike: “The Lord has been faithful to show us the ongoing testimony of adoption that is helpful for all of us. We have to teach our daughter, Scout, what it means to be adopted. That encouraged us to do the same with our biological children, as well. Adoption has revealed deeper truths about our need for the gospel as we lead our family. ‘even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:4-6).’”
Want to learn more about foster care and adoption for your family? The six-week virtual Intro to Foster Care and Adoption class starts on Thursday, September 17. Register