Dan and Nicole Mishchenko of Ontario have decided to add fostering and adoption to their homeschooling journey.

The Mishchenkos felt called to fostering five years ago through a series of what Nicole calls “nudges.” They recognized all the gifts God had given them and, remembering God’s command to care for the widows and orphans, they felt compelled to reach out to others. They also ran into past acquaintances who fostered, and they were moved as these people explained the need for fostering families.

Fortunately, their homeschooling journey blends very well with fostering. Dan and Nicole were able to obtain permission from their local Children’s Aid Society (CAS) agency to homeschool any foster children who had not yet entered the public school system, provided they had the permission of the biological parents. The Mishchenkos have just started to homeschool their adopted son, Caleb, and they are very optimistic about this part of their journey. Caleb is a special needs child, and they know that homeschooling is the best way to give him the one-on-one attention, encouragement, and security he needs. He will be able to try, and fail if necessary, until he truly succeeds. Most importantly, Dan and Nicole will be able to give him a solid foundation in the Bible, which has held their family together in the hard times.

Reaching out to orphans came with a price tag, however: the couple has seen Mercy, their five-year-old foster child through life-threatening medical issues, has forged relationships with hurting biological parents, and has agreed to face the task of homeschooling Caleb. As Nicole said, “We have been forced out of the bubble—the bubble that many Christians live in without even realizing it! We were there six years ago. We could have our nice jobs, our nice homes, and all the things offered here in North America, and never really see the plight of the needy. That doesn’t happen if you choose to foster. Your bubble is broken, and you deal with the ‘least of these’ every day.”

Two things Dan and Nicole have learned on this journey are, first of all  to pray without ceasing, and secondly to be rooted in God’s promises. Jeremiah 29:11 has taken on a new meaning for them as they trust God with their family: “I know the plans I have for [this child],” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper [him] and not to harm [him], plans to give [him] hope and a future.”

Advice Dan and Nicole have for those considering fostering and adoption: “Root yourself in the Bible and make sure you are being called by the Lord! It’s not about you; it’s about God. He will enable you to do anything He wants you to do. So ask Him. If He says yes, then put on your armour and prepare for battle.”

Printed in Court Report & Communiqué Spring 2013

Written by Caitlyn Watson

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