Fostering update

approval letter

On December 2, they delivered it to our house: the paper that makes it official. For a period of one year, Ryan and Shari Zook have been approved as foster parents.

I can hardly believe it. Two months of scurrying activity—training, paperwork, fingerprints, paperwork, background checks, paperwork, home inspections, paperwork—fire extinguishers mounted, smoke alarms functional, cleaning supplies out of reach, well water okayed, No Smoking sign posted—and now the lull of waiting.

We thought it would be harder to get approved. We expected a snag or two along the way, that they’d raise their eyebrows at our unrenovated rooms or find lethal bacteria in our well or—something? But it was seamless. Check. Check. Check. And we prayed Jesus, let it be. Guide us. We will keep taking the next step unless you send us a roadblock.

Today we got our first call. Would you take a baby? AND her teenage mother?






I’m so sorry, we cannot.

I hate saying no to any opportunity and especially when it feels like I might be turning Jesus away from my door in the form of a needy child. But we are trying to think of our current children. Trying to gauge our margin of energy. Trying to be realistic about what He is calling us to at this time: foster parenting, I think, not foster grand-parenting…


I sure wanted to help. I sure wanted to hold that baby.

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10 years ago

Wow! A tough decision, no doubt. I remember my parents having similar decisions to make… I know that God will lead and direct your minds as you process each request. Rest in Him tonight. Tonight, I join you in prayer for “that baby” and its mother.

10 years ago

Love it. My parents did fostering at one time. They ended up adopting a girl because she had no where else to go. She had a horrible childhood and it has left its marks even though she was only 6 when she first came. (She is 16 now.)God bless you for attempting foster care. I think it requires a lot of patience. 🙂

Jo Yoder
10 years ago

Cautionary question: Are you OK with your entire home address being clearly displayed in that picture of the approval letter?

Congratulations on this new venture in your lives! I’m looking forward to seeing what God has in store for your family!

10 years ago
Reply to  Jo Yoder

Thanks for asking. I checked with Ryan before I posted it and he said no problem. With the internet as it is, anyone could find our home address in ten seconds anyway…

10 years ago

Praying sis! For grace and peace.

Joanna Schlabach
10 years ago

Wow I know the feeling so well- you jump every time the phone rings- Blessings!

10 years ago

SOO happy for you! I think you’ll face every emotion in the book and every single one will be worth it. I think to myself how blessed those kids are that will be touched by your lives. Thanks for sharing the news ~

10 years ago

Based on what we learned in foster parent training, and some of the issues some friends of ours who have foster parented have encountered, I would suggest you consider making your blog a little less “open”. IE–get your real names off of it, and certainly your address. Maybe make it open to invited readers only (the ones you already know and trust). And if you choose to not do that, be aware if you are fostering that what gets shared on your public blog will have to be VERY discreet or you can run afoul of privacy laws etc. Having said all that “gloomy gus” stuff, please know that I am THRILLED you are accepted, and wish you all the VERY VERY best in your new venture. I also pray for wisdom and protection over your little family . . . Hugs!

10 years ago
Reply to  Shari Zook

I’m glad you had that discussion then. I know here in Ohio we were warned due to the problems (including violence) that foster parents have experienced at the hands of angry birth parents. We were told that we needed to be careful because there would be times our location would need to be kept secret. And I know of TOO MANY cases where evil people have read blogs/Facebook of both foster AND adoptive parents blogs and made fraudulent reports to CPS based on info they gleaned from the blogs/Facebook. While the parents were eventually cleared, it has caused BIG issues for the families, and in some cases the kids have even been removed from the home–including bio kids. I have been watching this go on for the last few years and it has made me become more and more cautious in my online presence. I have chosen to continue blogging, but I am VERY careful. Hugs, friend, and never think that you are making *me* uncomfortable–I just want you be safe and treated well. 😉

10 years ago

I should add, that in a few cases perhaps the people who made reports to CPS were not truly “evil” but were perhaps truly concerned. However . . . it’s very troubling to think that a perfect stranger could read your blog, take something completely inaccurate out of it, and then make a fraudulent CPS report based on it. But that seems to be the sad reality of the world we live in today. I do not want to live in fear, but I do choose to live with caution, esp after finding that some people had posted false things about our family in a few places based on something they took from our blog and then inflated and added to, making it completely different and false. . . . and some thing that sounded very bad on us as parents, when it was not something that was bad.

10 years ago

Congratulations! (And grace for the decisions ahead.)

10 years ago

my heart rides the roller coaster with you!

10 years ago

Congratulations! What a milestone this is. You will be a wonderful foster family.

10 years ago

I am nervously rejoicing with you because I know all too well, that the roller coaster ride is just beginning.

But whom God calls, He enables! Excited to walk this journey with you.
Much Grace,

Mama Zook
10 years ago

excited with you, blessings on the family and those you will minister to! Roller coaster it will be, but every time you are able to touch a life, pray for enabling grace from above!

10 years ago

I stumbled upon your blog awhile ago and have enjoyed reading! Your passion for God and life is inspiring! This post made me excited- I remember these feelings so well. We’ve been foster parents for 10 years and just received our 11th child to care for. We have adopted 4 of those children. Be prepared to be stretched and changed and blessed beyond what you can imagine! God bless you and your family!

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