and Amanda Ilses have served as foster parents for approximately
18 months. They have two biological children: Jack,
age 5 and Sydney, age 2. The Ilses attend Calvary Baptist Church,
Woodworth Campus in Woodworth, Louisiana. When asked about what
led the couple to become foster parents, Amanda stated "Nothing
very specifically led us to foster care, the Lord just placed a
burden on our hearts for orphans, and after looking into the various
options for service, foster care was the right fit!"
Amanda shares her first foster care
One of the most common
questions we are asked as foster parents is "How do you parent
a child for months and then just give them back? Isn't that so hard?"
My answer is "It's not about me. It's not about my heartache
or my attachment. It's not even about that child. It's all about
God's redemptive work in the lives of families. It's all about His
kingdom and His purposes."
Allow me to tell you about Kaden…
Our first foster care placement was a six-month-old boy named Kaden.
He had been placed into foster care at birth, but we were his third
home. At first, Kaden had no emotions or attachment towards us.
For the first three months, he didn't seem to care if we were even
in the room. It was a very difficult time as we cared for this baby,
along with our biological children who were 9 months old and 3 years
old at the time. Day in and day out, we fixed bottles, rocked babies,
went to work, and cleaned high chairs.
During those months of exhaustion, we clung to this passage: 2
Corinthians 4:16-18, "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though
outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed
day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for
us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes
not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is
temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
And, sure enough, Kaden started to bond to us. By the time he was
a year old, we were "mama" and "daddy" and he
meshed into our family. We were in love with this active, precious
And then it was time to give him back…
I was able to build a relationship with Kaden's mother. As Kaden
transitioned home, I spent a lot of time with her and we truly became
friends. As hard as it was to see Kaden go, I was so thrilled that
this little family could be reunited. The weekend before Kaden went
home permanently, I was able to share the gospel with his mother.
We sat on the floor of her apartment, ate Chick-fil-A and talked
about Jesus. It was one of the sweetest moments of my life. She
didn't accept Christ that day, but at least I knew that I was faithful
to share about His grace and mercy.
When I packed Kaden's bags for the last time, I packed a Bible for
his mother with a note that just said, "Start with Matthew
and go from there." I knew that if she only read the first
bit of the New Testament, at least she would read about Jesus.
I didn't hear from her for a couple of months. Then she sent me
a text that said, "I've been reading my Bible. Psalm 27 and
Isaiah 54 are my favorites." I knew she had been reading much
more than the first book of the New Testament.
Every two or three months, I would hear from Kaden's mother. She
would send a picture text, or a note to say that everything was
going well. Until one Sunday night, I was watching TV and I got
a text that just said, "I joined a church about a month ago,
and I was baptized this morning. Kaden will be dedicated April 29."
All of those sleepless nights, dirty diapers, and scoops of formula
absolutely pale in comparison to the joy of knowing that Kaden's
mother had accepted Christ. Kaden will be raised in church and will
hopefully come to know Jesus as His own Savior.
God didn't need us in order to save Kaden's mother, but I'm so thrilled
that He allowed us to be a part of Kaden's story. Being a foster
parent is so hard, but so worth it!!!