“Which one is my mommy now?”

I never imagined a child asking someone to point out who their mother was. However, the little blonde-haired girl named Ally, who I was holding that day, had already lived with three different families in the span of 15 months since she and her sister Laylin entered foster care.

As I pointed to my wife, Lindsey, Ally asked another question that she and her sister, Laylin, would be asking many more times: “Forever?”

In the months that followed, Lindsey and I would hear our girls ask, “We’ll always have food in the house — forever?”

“These clothes are mine to keep — forever?”

“We get to stay here — forever?”

Forever mattered to our girls. They longed for the assurance that the future could hold something good that would last beyond a moment.

Forever was a word that also had a place in our hearts. What was God’s plan for our “forever family?” Since the birth of our son, Noah, our family had experienced multiple losses before entering the world of foster care and adoption.

By the goodness and mercy of God we can meet the present needs of these children and point them to the God who wants them to be part of His family and home — forever.

As a result, one of the fears we harbored was would we be able to handle it if a child placed with us was not able to be with us forever? But the gospel compelled us to open our home and our hearts, whether it be for a moment or forever.

The journey that followed was not the storybook tale that we sometimes imagine. There were difficult times when we had to say goodbye to the first children we fostered. We found that foster care and adoption is ministry, but it is messy at times because it is happening in the midst of great brokenness.

There are challenges, disappointments, long waits and questions. However, all of these difficulties are eclipsed by moments of joy, love and spiritual growth brought by the God who holds forever in His hands.

On Feb. 28, 2020, our family let out the collective breath we held for almost two years from the day Ally and Laylin entered our home. That was the day Ally and Laylin’s adoption was finalized, making them legally part of our “forever family.”

And the goodness and mercy of God has continued. Two weeks later we got to pray with Laylin as she trusted in Jesus and received assurance that she has a place “forever” in God’s home too.

Today, there are over 16,000 children in North Carolina who need a home. Because their forever matters, the time for families of N.C. Baptist churches to act is now.

By the goodness and mercy of God we can meet the present needs of these children and point them to the God who wants them to be part of His family and home — forever.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina has expanded its family foster care program and spotlighted the Powell family in an article earlier this year.