Teaching And Fostering: Labors of Love
Katie Thompson is an Upper School Spanish teacher at FCS, but this isn’t her first rodeo. She’s been in the education field for years, starting at the elementary level, and grew up surrounded by teachers.
“My desire to teach all started when I was close to 5 years old when my sisters and I would pretend to play school together. My oldest sister would be the teacher and I would be the student. I have always looked up to my sisters and so I think I followed their career path subconsciously, and found it to be a great fit for me as well.”
For Katie, teaching isn’t just a job. It’s a passion that took root in her heart those many years ago. “Teaching is a labor of love, but the impact reaches beyond what you can see. There are always students during the year that share about enjoying your class, but it is rewarding in a different way when a student gets in touch a few years later to say that you made a difference. I try to keep in mind that many kids will remember our interactions, and forget the Spanish. There is never a boring day in the life of a teacher (or as we’ve learned more recently, as a foster parent!) And even though it is exhausting, a lot of days it is just plain fun.”
Katie and her husband, a fellow educator, have been married for six years. They met working together at a Christian sports camp in college. “We say that we experienced ‘love at second sight.’ Though we both started working there the summer of 2008, the Lord really had something in store for us the summer of 2009. Leading hiking trips together, going for morning runs, and spending entirely too many hours stargazing led to dating at the end of the summer and then marriage once I graduated college in 2011.” Katie’s husband Seth is a physics teacher, making him the more practical, organized, and analytical partner in the relationship. And making the two of them a perfectly balanced match.
“I am a bit more of a ‘jump in and figure it out’ person.We both love to compete, and my relationship with the Lord is stronger because of Seth.”
By far the biggest adventure yet for the Thompsons has been their journey to becoming foster parents. “We have talked about the potential of being foster parents throughout almost our entire marriage, and the Lord gave us the ‘not yet’ message for quite a while as we prayed and talked about fostering year after year.” At first, they hoped to live closer to family before beginning their fostering journey, but the Lord had other plans. “This past January, while driving home from being with our families for the holidays, I asked Seth if there was any reason why we shouldn’t start pursuing foster care right away; if the Lord was in it, things would move forward, and if not we’d continue to wait.” Their obedience paid off. As of October 2017, the Thompsons are showing God’s love to two foster kids!
Being a foster parent is a high calling, but no one ever said it was easy. “There are so many new, conflicting and challenging emotions. Our ‘gain’ often coincides with loss for the biological family. We get to spend a holiday with the child? The biological family does not. We have the opportunity to adopt? The biological parents no longer get to parent their own child.” Fostering and adoption are so beautifully broken. In the midst of love and sacrifice, there is always an undercurrent of loss. Those who embark on this journey are not just brave. They are warriors.
“There is beauty in the chance to share the gospel in our own home and to show in a practical way the spiritual reality of adoption into God’s family through Jesus. We get to bring order to the chaos of someone’s life, even if for an undetermined amount of time. It has been such a joy to see our kids blossom and grow more and more comfortable each day.”
Choosing to be a foster parent can be intimidating to say the least. To those who may be considering fostering or adoption, but feel held back by fear, Katie shares this: “Big leaps of faith are often accompanied by apprehension, so I think of the saying ‘You can’t steer a boat that isn’t moving.’ If you sense the Lord is calling you, you need to say yes and start moving in that direction. Even amidst the crazy, the Lord will give peace and affirmation. A verse I come back to that confirms the calling for all believers is James 1:27 – “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” We are still new to this, but it has all been worth it.”