If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting Hannah Craig, you know that Hannah is a “doer.” Hannah is from our Napa campus, and for years she has mothered dozens of children through the foster system, two of whom she has now adopted as her own. Her story of fulfilling her call to foster care is sure to inspire everyone, especially those considering a similar journey. We know you’ll enjoy hearing from her!
True confessions moment: I’m the worst about screening calls. Sometimes I’m legitimately swamped, sometimes I’m over-exhausted, and sometimes I just cannot even. It doesn’t matter who it is: telemarketers, meddlesome aunts attempting to set me up, my best friend who saw something on Pinterest we need to make, or my own mother. Honestly, calls are the worst. My guiltiest “send the call to voicemail” moment was actually a lengthy phase in my life. I was actively ignoring my life’s purpose and sending God to voicemail.
When I was about 9 yrs old, I was at a county fair with my family and heard a woman speaking passionately at an adoption agency’s booth about the crisis that is foster care and the beauty of adoption through the system. After failing to convince my mom to immediately sign up (in all fairness she was in the middle of an awful divorce), I felt this wildfire run through my spirit and I knew that one day I would foster and adopt. Many years went by, and before I knew it, I was in my late twenties. Incredibly bored and incredibly unfulfilled, I once again was reminded of my calling.
I lackadaisically went to an information meeting at an adoption agency in Santa Rosa. The meeting was wonderful, the snacks were yummy, the room was air conditioned, and the people were fun. But I was terrified. The entire time they were speaking, all I heard was a voice in my head screaming this was too much, I was too single, too busy, too narcissistic, totally unqualified . . . you get the idea.
I left that meeting basically running – RUNNING – away from my calling. I was terrified. So like the super-procrastinator, truly-professional avoider that I am, I sent this call to voicemail. God spoke to me when I was a child and told me one day I would take this step. The day came, and I didn’t take the step. I ran the other direction. All the running away did was produce suffocating levels of anxiety, greater boredom, bitterness, and loss of hope – all negatives. Living in fear of something makes that thing grow to outrageous proportions in your mind. Your brain can make mountains out of molehills for sure and that’s exactly what my brain was doing with the idea of foster care. In 2011, I found myself face down in my bed sobbing over God’s persistent, steady love. I remember thinking, In comparison to all of God’s might, all my excuses amounted to nothing. There wasn’t a good reason to avoid my calling any longer, because when it’s from God it will succeed. So I took an enormous leap of faith and began the certification process.
To date, I’ve had about 70 kids (I lost count in the 40’s and recently my agency started a manual count). In 2015 I completed my first adoption and I’m nearing completion on my second. I would love to tell you it’s been Pinterest-worthy: we bake cookies, sing songs, make homemade playdough and all aspects of the system function beautifully. I cannot tell you those things with any honesty. We do make homemade playdough, we do sing songs and just last night we baked cookies, but there’s a level of hot-mess that comes with this life that cannot be overlooked. The system is broken. The kids are hurting. The biological families are angry. There is trauma everywhere you look. It’s emotional. It asks too much of people. It’s really hard. It’s also really beautiful.
I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that our lives look wildly different than society’s image of a family. I’ve had to let go of children. I’ve had to acknowledge God’s sovereignty on a level I never knew existed before I started living beyond what I could manage. Through it all, God has been faithful. He has faithfully provided, protected, and moved on our behalf. The Holy Spirit has comforted. Jesus has healed. I’ve seen hearts healed, blind eyes opened, and lives changed forever. I’ve seen families restored to health and wholeness. I’ve watched addicts recover and live in freedom. I’ve seen families woven together from shredded pieces. I’ve gotten a front-row seat to watch miracles unfold before my very own tired, weary eyes.
Recently, I was honored by Congress and given the opportunity to speak to our nation’s leaders in Washington, DC about the foster system, God’s faithfulness, and the future of our children. When I said “yes“ to this life, I could never have imagined I would be entrusted, even for a moment, with the responsibility and privilege of speaking with influencers. I was too consumed with completing the day-to-day tasks that come when you give yourself wholeheartedly to something. Even though I was living for an audience of One, people were watching what was happening in my life, and the lives of the kids and families that I’ve been blessed to partner with.
As your friend, I want to give you a gentle nudge. I have a crazy notion that most people already know what they should be doing. I also believe those same people are letting fear keep them from moving forward. Don’t be that cliché. Be the wild one that runs towards your purpose. I can tell you that answering your calling might come at an inconvenient time, it’s pretty sure to be messy, and it probably won’t make a ton of sense to anyone around you. I can also tell you with certainty that, despite it all, you will be closer to God, more fulfilled and happier than you can imagine. I’ll just be over here cheering for you!
Hannah would love to answer any of your questions, or help you get started on your own foster-to-adopt journey! You can email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.