It’s movie night at the Druyor home. Disney’s Moana is capturing every bit of Josiah’s attention as the toddler dances to the music. He doesn’t even realize there is someone new in the room besides his mom, dad, brother and sister. Not even the smell of microwaved popcorn could lure him away from the TV. He’s happy to be watching the movie with his big brother and big sister.
With all three kiddos settled in the family room, Ben and Tracey prepare to share their journey from fostering to adoption.
This is their story.
I was not planning to adopt. That was never the plan. I was not ready to have children. But we had Tim. Then we had Avannah. And I was happy to be done with two kids. -Ben
That is not what you expect to hear right off the bat from a devoted husband/father/pastor with two biological children and a recently adopted son. This is also coming from the proud father of three who, at any moment, could answer the call again that would deliver news of their next foster placement.
Within a matter of weeks, or days, or possibly even hours, Ben and Tracey Druyor could very likely welcome another foster child into their loving family of five.
How does someone go from not wanting to start their family yet, to raising three kids in less than four years, to now preparing for a fourth child who could show up at their doorstep at any moment?
In this case, 1 Corinthians 11:1 had a lot to do with it.
Ben was happy with his family of four, raising only two kids. But Tracey, on the other hand, had other ideas. She admits adoption was a desire that’s always been on her heart. If she could, she would adopt a child from every race, every ethnicity from around the world. Her eyes lit up and she couldn’t help but smile as she imagined international unity right in her own home.
But the facts remained. Tracey passionately wanted another child. Ben adamantly did not.
Imagine the tension that could build in a marriage when you’re not on the same page with your spouse on an issue as important as raising children. Still, Ben and Tracey remained committed to each other and faithful to God’s plan for their family.
Ben recalls exactly how and when everything shifted for him.
He remembers a message he preached at Palm Valley on his life verse, 1 Corinthians 11:1, ‘Follow me as I follow Christ’. Coincidentally, one week before that message, he met with Governor Ducey who encouraged pastors and faith leaders to challenge their churches to consider foster care. Ben figured that challenge would be a great opportunity to use 1 Corinthians 11:1 in his message where he would encourage ‘other people’ to consider foster care.
Follow me as I follow Christ.
Ben preached, “What greater way for our community to see that we follow Christ than for us to welcome kids into our homes as foster parents.”
Meanwhile, he was not in any way anticipating doing that himself. He was simply affirming that there is a great need in our community, and that it would be great for us as a church to jump on board.
And that was it. Days later, Ben remembers thinking…
I don’t think that message was for the church. I think that message was meant for me.
This turning point had Ben and Tracey preparing to jump on board as potential foster parents. But, once again, Ben had a plan.
We’re just going to be foster parents. We’re not going to adopt. We’re good with our two kids. We’ll just help some kids, but we’re not adopting.
Tracey was confident and resilient. She had been silently praying for more children, hoping one day to adopt. The couple prayed for God to lead them through the next step in the process of being a foster family.
The next step meant taking foster care classes.
The classes proved to be exciting and nerve-wracking for Tracey, and also frustrating for Ben. There was constant talk about reunification. They heard that word over and over again. Reunification. Reunification. The end goal of fostering is always reunification. That didn’t sit well with Ben.
But God continued working on Ben’s heart through those classes. He felt so strongly that reunification with biological parents is not always the best option in the foster system. But while Ben would still argue that you can’t expect the process to result in a child being with you forever, Tracey will always pray that it does—even at the risk of being hurt.
Josiah’s story is rare. He became a foster child at birth, and was adopted 17 months later. Most foster parents don’t have the opportunity to adopt at all. And it usually takes longer than 17 months. For Ben and Tracey, knowing Josiah could have been taken away any time up until the day of adoption was a difficult pill to swallow.
But on April 21, 2017, after 17 months in the foster care system, God blessed their family in an incredible way and Josiah officially became Josiah Antonio Matteo Druyor [Antonio Matteo means, Priceless Gift of God]. And Tracey could finally celebrate with the party she’d been planning for 19 months.
“I’ve had a lot of people ask me if I love him, being adopted, like I love my bio children.”
Tracey held back tears, sharing this thought.
Honestly, I went into it scared, thinking, would I love him the same? I didn’t biologically have him. How is this gonna work? But I can’t explain it. I love him just as much. We’ve completely bonded. It’s unexplainable.
Ben echoes this unconditional love for Josiah, adding,
I want Josiah to know that love doesn’t come from the blood that flows in your veins, it comes from a decision that you make every day. I want him to know that just like God has adopted us, we have adopted him.
For Ben and Tracey Druyor, this foster/adoption journey is a step of Daring Faith. They are ready and willing to continue on as foster parents, whether or not that leads to adoption. And they are excited to see what God will do in their lives as they continue following the example of Christ.
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. -1 Corinthians 11:1