Top Row: Dylan holding Clay, Wendy holding Clint (Jojo)
Bottom row: Claire and Carly
Welcome to the very first post in my #momand series! I am so excited to introduce you to Wendy Thompson, homeschooling mother of 4 children aged 9, 8, 6, and 3. Wendy has been a pediatric nurse and foster parent and is now a stay-at-home mom.
Wendy grew up in a large family and always wanted to have children of her own. The hardest part of the transition to motherhood for her was the tension between her love for her job and her desire to spend more time with her baby. When baby Carly was six months old, Wendy transitioned to part-time work and loved taking care of Carly at home. Shortly before the birth of her second child, Clay, she began to feel stretched too thin at work and decided to quit her job altogether. She loved the simple, very “un-glamorous” day-to-day work of taking care of her young children. She says that the simplicity of life during those early years kept her from feeling burned out.
Wendy and her husband Dylan see foster care as a means to obey the mandate in the book of James to care for widows and orphans. They became licensed as foster parents a few years ago after befriending several other foster families. The Thompsons eventually had two different foster care placements. Wendy describes the second placement as the hardest thing she has ever done and quickly realized that it was not the best path for their family. She and Dylan believe that their role for now is to be a support to other foster families.*
Wendy describes her third child, Claire, as her six year old miracle. God used Claire’s premature birth to lead Wendy to a powerful, transformational encounter with Jesus. She had pregnancy complications including marginal placenta previa (the placenta was partially covering the cervix) as well as subchorionic hematomas, which are blood clots in between the uterine wall and the baby’s sack. Just before she hit the 32-week mark of pregnancy, Wendy was at a barbecue restaurant with her two children, who were ages 3 and 1 at the time. She began to have bleeding that continued to increase. No one in the restaurant offered to help, so Wendy had to take her two young children to the bathroom while she waited for her mother and husband to arrive. The doctor determined that she needed to have an emergency c-section, which Wendy says was the scariest moment of her life. She shook uncontrollably and was desperate for some kind of reassurance that this was the best plan. When she awoke after the surgery, she wasn’t allowed to see her baby and felt completely overwhelmed. Thankfully, Claire was healthy, aside from issues that are typical for premature babies (high bilirubin, lung problems, and the temporary need for a feeding tube).
Over the next month, she experienced the relentless pursuit of the Lord during Claire’s hospital stay. Wendy was grateful to be allowed to stay in a room at the hospital the whole time Claire was there, but it was an incredibly difficult time. She had never been away from her other two children for so long and felt helpless, frustrated, angry, and alone.
Then, in the midst of her brokenness, everything shifted. One day, she began to sense God’s presence and suddenly knew that she wasn’t alone anymore. The Lord began revealing Himself to her as she began to see how He had cared for her in the details leading up to and after Claire’s birth. She realized that He had guided her to make preparations far in advance of her due date but just in time for the premature birth: she had washed and put away all the baby clothes, set up the pack n play, and gotten everything ready in her room. She and her husband had made the unlikely decision to buy the bigger vehicle they would need to fit three car seats even though they hadn’t originally planned to until closer to the baby’s due date. Wendy’s mom sold her house just two days after Claire was born and had no where to live, so it worked out perfectly for her to move into Wendy’s house and take care of the two older children while Wendy and Claire were in the hospital. She was amazed to realize that God cared enough about her to orchestrate these details — right down to the fact that she had gotten her maternity pictures taken early. She had wanted to have them taken in the same spot in her mom’s house where she had taken previous maternity photos and therefore had to take them early before her mom sold the house. Through this process of realizing how He had taken care of her and her family, Wendy began to learn that the things that are important to us are in turn important to Him, no matter how insignificant they may seem.
During the hospital stay, Wendy could see God’s signature in other details. A young man who worked in the hospital cafeteria asked her why she was there. After she told him, he took her by the hand and said that the cafeteria staff would be praying for Claire. He continued to ask for updates daily. A mom in the NICU also began praying for Claire, and Wendy was overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers who prayed for her baby when Wendy didn’t have the strength to pray, herself. The Lord’s intervention in her life and in Claire’s became undeniable.
Before this encounter with Jesus, Wendy saw herself as a victim of her circumstances, but afterward, she saw that God used it all for a purpose. Before, Wendy believed in God in a vague sense but had no personal relationship with him and no real belief that he would intervene on her behalf. Afterward, she says she had never felt anything more real and comforting and had never been more at peace. God overwhelmed her with Himself in a powerful display of His love for her, and she still is amazed at His faithfulness. Claire is a daily reminder to Wendy of the Lord’s love and faithfulness.
When asked how she would encourage other moms who are struggling, she says not to be overcome with worry and anxiety but to simply be still, listen, and trust that God has His hands all over your situation. Finally, Wendy says, “Life has been unexpected and scary and uncomfortable at times, but each step, each mistake, each triumph has changed me into who I am, and I don’t want to change a thing on the journey that God is taking me.”
The song “Defender by Upper Room captures the transformation Wendy experienced:
*Wendy shares a few ways you can help support foster families:
1. Bringing meals is a huge help because the first few weeks with a new placement are
challenging, and having a ready-made, hot meal is a tremendous blessing.
2. Simple things like just showing up with a coffee and spending time with them is huge.
There were days that she would have loved to have another adult sitting with her, an
extra pair of hands, or someone to pick up her biological children and take them to do
something fun. She says that her kids needed breaks just like she did
3. Praying and being a listening ear to the family is very helpful.
4. Getting certified to babysit is desperately needed because in order to babysit foster kids,
adults have to have a background check and be CPR certified.