Daughter's family were members of the first church I served. They were not super active, since they lived about 20 miles from the church. As an interracial couple, there weren't many churches where they felt welcomed, and the church I was serving was multi-cultural. Her mother was so excited when she became pregnant. "I'm going to give you your first baby to baptize!" I first met Daughter while she was still in the hospital due to some complications related to her mother's diabetes. Her mother was excited to finally have a daughter. They had a son in his early teens and a boy in 2nd grade.
When Daughter was 2, her mother called me one day. The younger boy had been beaten by his father the previous night, leaving bruises. She went to the school for help, and they helped her connect with the battered women's shelter, where she moved with the 3 children. I made the drive over to visit her in the shelter. I remember Daughter, standing in the corner with her big eyes, watching everything that was going on. Her mother had given her an apple to eat. I was surprised she hadn't cut it up for her.
Over the next few months the family continued to disintegrate. They were in family counseling. I went over to visit one day, and was uncomfortable with the way the boys played with Daughter when they got home. I wondered if there was some sexual content there. I made sure they were still in family counseling. The older boy beat up the younger boy, necessitating separating him from the younger children and eventually hospitalizing him. He moved in with his paternal grandmother.
Then one night in early March the mother called me. She'd fallen and broken her shoulder. If I didn't come get her kids "for the weekend" the county would come take them. I made some phone calls, and then headed over to get them. I dropped the boy off with a couple in the church, knowing I couldn't handle him, as he was already getting in trouble with the law. I took Daughter home with me.
I took them back so the boy could go to school Monday. Tuesday I was back over there to get Daughter again, as birth mom wasn't coping. She's been with me ever since. At first it was just temporary. Mom was going to get back on her feet and make a place for Daughter.
I had no intention of becoming a parent. I was busy being a pastor. By the time I realized this wasn't going to be short term, I was hooked. I became a licensed foster parent.