Bigger Than Our Fears
April 2019 · Foster Care / Adoption, Foster Family Features, Ministry News
At first, Silas Pederson believed the task too big. The idea that he and Micah, fresh from college and newly married, could capably care for a blind and deaf child facing a mountain of medical issues seemed ludicrous. The prospect of disruption and trials frightened and overwhelmed him. So, he did what he typically does when the path is uncertain – he prayed.
“I felt God pulling me towards this,” he said. “I began to see that he was bigger than my fears. I also saw Micah’s passion and heard her encouragement. Finally, I realized it wasn’t about me. God loved this little girl, and I was supposed to love her, too. We could do this. We had to do this.”
Their first child began as a trial placement two years ago. Since then, the Wichita couple has provided respite care for more than 15 children and long-term care for four. Their household currently includes a biological daughter and son (six months and three years old) and three girls in foster care including one with special needs and another who is medically fragile.
“I’ve wanted to be involved in foster care and adoption from an early age,” said Micah. “I’ve worked with children with special needs for much of my life. After Silas and I met, I brought him along with me to Rainbows United, where I worked with kids with autism. He started working there, too, and I began to see the passion grow in his heart. We knew we wanted to do foster care for kids with special needs, so within a year of our marriage, we took the classes and jumped right in.”
Micah is the first to admit that their path is not typical. They’ve had to make some hard choices because of their commitment to kids in need.
“We’ve found that some of our friends don’t quite understand what we do,” said Micah. “And that’s okay. Silas and I can’t strive to look like the average American family because that’s not us. So, we’ve had to lean in closer to the friends and family who do accept what we’re doing and who are willing to step into it with us.”
“We’ve cut out other responsibilities from our life,” added Silas, “because this is where we’ve found purpose. We have the opportunity to effect generational change through fostering these children.”
Fulfilling such a purpose requires a partnership that is fundamentally strong and mutually supportive. Fortunately, Silas and Micah have that covered.
“We try hard to communicate well,” said Micah. “We don’t keep anything from each other. We discuss issues we’re struggling with because everything has to be in place for this to work. Our home has lots of routine and a strict schedule because we can’t forget meds, feedings, or any of the countless other things our children require.”
“We also learned early that we have to take care of ourselves,” said Silas. “We’re intentional about giving each other breaks. We use respite whenever possible, so we can have date nights. And, sometimes, seven o’clock is just beautiful – when the kids go down for bed and Micah and I crash on the couch and watch a movie together.”
Silas says their shared experience has strengthened their marriage. It has also had an effect on their son who, according to Silas, is more compassionate and caring than he could have hoped or prayed for. Their son is the same age as one of their foster daughters, and the two are inseparable.
“I have seen the heart of God through foster parenting,” he said. “What I mean by that is I want to engage in the brokenness of people. Seeing the brokenness of these kids and watching them transform – just by sitting with them, weeping with them, or laughing with them over silly stuff – is the most rewarding thing for me. That’s the beauty of what God has done for us.”
“Being involved in foster care doesn’t necessarily mean you take on five kids like us,” said Micah. “It doesn’t require anything greater than what you have or anything more than what you are. These children don’t need us to save them, they don’t need us to be perfect. They just need someone to love them, to walk alongside them and say, ‘I’ve got struggles, too. Let’s do this together. Let’s learn about life together.’”