Kristen Hobbs’ journey to become a foster and adoptive mom started in 2015 with a cancer diagnosis. The news of cervical cancer was startling. Even more shocking, though, was the discovery one week later that she was pregnant. Believing that every heartbeat matters, Kristen and her husband protected their preborn child. In October 2015, Kristen delivered a beautiful baby girl – their third daughter – at full term.
Two months after giving birth, Kristen underwent a curative surgery for cervical cancer. Unfortunately, the cancer reappeared seven months later. Kristen had a hysterectomy in 2016. She and her husband understood this meant she would never be able to have any more children biologically. For a while, they were completely content with this. They had three daughters and trusted that God had planned this. But as Kristen watched friends and family continue to grow their families, she longed to add another child to their family and become an adoptive mom.
Letting God Lead the Way
Kristen’s experience with cancer had changed her relationship with God. She had always attended church and been a believer, but the suffering of cancer made her look at life different. “Life is so much shorter than you think it is,” she realized. In the years following her diagnosis, Kristen started diving deeper into the Bible. Feeling like their family was not done growing, Kristen cried out to God. She believed that in some way, shape, or form, God was going to act and make her an adoptive mom.
In 2017, the Hobbs family began looking into infant adoption. But after talking to multiple agencies, Kristen and her husband felt uneasy. Even despite the high cost of private infant adoption, they knew in their spirit that it was not for them.
Discovering Wait No More
In 2019, Kristen was listening to a Focus on the Family broadcast, as she often did. At the beginning of the program, an event called Wait No More was advertised. Kristen looked into the events, but realized they were taking place in states far from her. She prayed to God, saying, “If you want us to go to one of these events, You have to bring it closer to where we live in Indiana.” With an incredulous laugh, Kristen explains that no more than three weeks later, she received an email from Wait No More saying that an event was coming to a city near her. With her husband completely on board, they attended Wait No More in August 2019.
Wait No More was a life-changing event for the Hobbs family. Kristen and her husband knew nothing about foster care before attending. When they left, they understood how challenging fostering can be, but they knew they had to do something. “I can’t go back and know this,” Kristen explains, “but I really don’t know that we would have started foster care if we hadn’t gone to the [Wait No More] event. Because it really gave us confidence that it was what God was leading us to do.”
Experiencing the Beauty of Reunification
Within a month, the Hobbs family confidently started the process to become licensed. The difference between their feelings about foster care compared to private adoption was drastic. There was immense peace in their decision to become foster parents. After three long months of training, fingerprints, background checks, and home studies, the Hobbs family became licensed. And not even one day later, they welcomed a one-year-old girl into their home.
The Hobbs family fostered Ava* for almost nine months. They loved her deeply. And when Ava was able to reunify with her biological mother, the Hobbs family was overjoyed for her. “It was a wonderful experience for everyone in our family,” Kristen describes while thinking back to the reunification. “Her mom was truly trying to improve. It was really awesome to be there to encourage her and support her.” Even after reunification, the Hobbs family has received periodic updates about Ava from her mother.
Welcoming a Baby Boy
Before Ava reunified, however, the Hobbs family received another surprise. Throughout their licensing process, they had expressed that they were probably best equipped to care for girls. They had the clothing, the toys, and the experience. But in late February 2020, their family care specialist called them, saying, “I know you all said that you would prefer girls, but we have a little boy and he needs a home.” Kristen recalls she just about started crying; she was ready to love this child.
The newborn, named Levi, came home from the hospital with Kristen when he was six days old. His case plan was headed towards adoption. Suddenly, Kristen and her husband had gone from having three children to having five children in the span of three and a half months. Their titles of “mom” and “dad” were quickly expanding to include the words “foster” and “adoptive.”
Becoming an Adoptive Mom
Time passed, and the Hobbs family continued to love on Levi. They knew that the goal with foster care is always reunification. They had seen the beauty of reunification play out with Ava’s case. But no biological family was involved with Levi’s case. Only one time was Kristen able to meet Levi’s biological mother. She describes the powerful moment of being able to hug the woman that gave birth to her son. Kristen and her husband thanked Levi’s biological mother for choosing life, and they told her how much they loved Levi. After this interaction, the biological mother discontinued contact. In May 2021, after Levi had been with the Hobbs family for 15 months, the parental rights of his biological mother were terminated.
On November 1, the first day of National Adoption Month, Levi officially became a member of the Hobbs family. It was an exciting day and a reminder to Kristen that God truly does answer prayers. When she thinks back to having cancer, she says she would not change a thing. Despite the difficulty in no longer being able to conceive, Kristen learned to lean on God as she became a foster and adoptive mother.
Kristen experienced a long time of waiting between her cancer diagnosis and the adoption of her son. Sometimes she and her husband so badly wanted things to be in their own timing. But they relied on the promises in Lamentations 3:24. Kristen knows that if they had rushed things and not waited on God’s timing, they would not have their son. “And he is just the perfect little dude for our family,” she says with a grin.
Finding Support and Encouraging Others
The Hobbs family has found support in their family, friends, and church community. They received meals, clothing, and infant supplies when Levi came home from the hospital. But one of the greatest things that their support system did was treat all their children the same – regardless of biological relation or how long they would live with them. Kristen appreciated that there was no distinction made. She feels the same applies to herself. She’s not a foster mom or an adoptive mom or a biological mom. She’s a mom – period.
Kristen knows that foster care and adoption is not for everyone. But for families who feel led to it, she encourages them to pray. And recognize that it is not easy. Some days will be very stressful. On those days, trust in the Lord. “If you want to feel God’s presence in your life and be blessed by Him,” Kristen states, “then try something like foster care that’s going to bend you and grow you and stretch you in ways you never knew imaginable.”
The Brokenness and Beauty of Adoption
When Kristen and her husband attended the Wait No More event in 2019, one of the speakers said something that she never forgot. John Moore, who adopted seven children from foster care, asked the audience, “Who here has been adopted?” Kristen remembers seeing a few hands raise. Then, John read from Ephesians 1:5, which clearly states that all believers have been adopted by God. John asked again, “Who here has been adopted?” Every hand raised.
Kristen wants to use this illustrations with her son one day. Yes, Levi was adopted, but she was too. In fact, their entire family has been adopted into God’s family. There is brokenness in the world. This is why everyone needs a Savior. With adoption comes brokenness; however, there is also beauty. Kristen believes that even back when she was diagnosed with cancer, God knew about her son. God was in the details. “Yes, it can be complicated. Yes, it can be caused by brokenness,” Kristen reiterates. “But I know God had it planned.”
*Name changed for anonymity.