Some married couples need time to “settle” and adjust before having children, but one pro-life couple says that “settling is silly” and loving children is what matters most. Natalie Brumfield, whose story of being pro-life began as a child, barely let the ink dry on her marriage license for her and her husband Mathew when they began their classes to be licensed foster parents.
Married in November 2012, the couple started their 10-weeks of foster care classes in January 2013. They wanted to go through a local Christian agency, Lifeline Children’s Services, and knew they had to be married a year before the home study and interviews could begin, but they felt it was important to dive in and get everything done they could so they would be ready when their first child arrived.
They never had second thoughts about diving in the deep end. Natalie says,
“Settling in is just a western mindset. It’s so silly to me to say ‘oh, we need some time alone with one another first.’ The reward and crown of marriage is children. God says they are our reward and inheritance. I don’t know about most people but I’m am never turning down an inheritance from the great I AM. That would be insane. Just insanity.”
While they know not everyone agrees with their take on it, for the Brumfields, this was part of their discussion even while dating.
“Matt and I knew we would do fostering/adopting/and have womb births, too, as soon as we became man and wife. So when we began dating we talked about marriage meaning… we are a family and [God asks] ask that families multiply. We want to be the biggest family God wants to make us. Our hearts are set up for only yes. Just like we can trust Him who called us into Covenant together, we can trust Him for how many children we will steward, love and raise up in the love of Christ.”
And so as soon as they were married, the process began. Natalie says, “He is in control and always has been. We knew as soon as we could take classes, we would sign up for foster care. We can’t adopt until we’ve been married three years, but we will be adopting as soon as we are legal!”
One of the first things they did besides take classes to be licensed foster parents, was start classes at Church of the Highlands. Immediately after their honeymoon, Natalie went to work and asked when they classes for foster care began, and that’s when she found out there was no a group set up in the church. The leader she was talking to asked if she and Matt would help lead that small group. After some meetings with the church, Lifeline Children’s Services, classes began, and not only did Natalie and Matthew participate, but now Natalie serves as the liaison at Church of the Highlands for setting up the small groups and foster care orientations (Matthew works a job outside the church). Natalie, who wasn’t expecting this role, says she is delighted to have it:
“I consider it a huge honor that my church staff allow me to champion this within our church. Really it’s overwhelming that they asked me. And it’s an honor that my Children’s pastor, Beth Cunningham, allows me extra time during my work week as the Children’s Director to focus on Fostering organization. It’s been a joy to open our local churches eyes to the beauty of ministering the gospel and serving families through foster care. It’s been my joy.”
Despite going full throttle since their marriage, at times that process seemed slow and even frustrating because they desired so deeply to have children in their home to love and serve. The logistics can be long and slowed by the simple fact that the system is crowded, and social workers can only do so much in the time they have. But recently, after months of waiting, they got the call. Just a week ago, Natalie and Matt received their first temporary placement of a child in need of some short-term care. In one moment part of the dreams of their heart was fulfilled with the opportunity to provide love and peace to a child in need—regardless of the cost of time or busy lives. It was something they anticipated and know will change things for them, not only now but for years to come.
“A gift will come into our home and our focus will shift to nurturing, loving and providing for their emotional needs. Busy schedules will be cut in two and there are going to be huge growing pains for sure. But nothing wonderful is birthed out of ease. Great love takes great sacrifice and we know Jesus is going to show up in amazing ways when we begin trusting Him and walking on water that is fostering, adopting, and womb babies. The bottom line is people might think we are crazy but we trust Jesus more.”
Indeed, joy has flooded the Brumfield home even with their taste of fostering as a temporary home for a child. And they look forward to as many more as God sends them.
While Natalie and Matthew plan to have children with both fostering and adoption, as well as “womb babies,” as she says, she makes a vital distinction about foster care:
“People confuse what fostering is with adoption. This is why we foster: Jesus came for our reconciliation and He is the ministry of reconciliation. And we the Church are all called to the ministry of reconciliation through Jesus Christ. Fostering is about restoring families. As we take in these children from families in crisis, we are called not only take in the child in our home but pray and uplift the hurting family they belong to. No matter how broken or messed up the situation, Jesus longs for restoration and reconciliation in that family through Him. Fostering is not just about the child, it’s about the entire family. It may seem like a lost cause to the world, but that family is that child’s only notion of home. We are called to bind up the broken especially in family so that breach can be healed and God’s purposes for that family will come into fulfillment. God’s design for family is strategic for influencing the world and showing the love of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit. Satan wants nothing more than to destroy, perverse, and kill families that is why we see such attack. But God has raised up a standard in His people to walk in the ministry of reconciliation. Fostering is not just about the children, it is about standing in the gap and believing for God to heal family.”
From the time Natalie was a little girl growing up in her own family in Mississippi, God was marking her heart to end abortion and take in those who had needs for families of their own, becoming the answer to the prayers she prays. Her life is proof of the difference one person can make in a culture that sometimes seems overwhelming to navigate. No single person can solve all the problems of abortion and children in need of families, but Natalie’s life, along with her husband now, shows that when someone makes a decision to be a real answer to her own prayers, real prayers get answered.
“It’s so important to us because it’s a calling. When you have God confirm again and again this is the way He wants us to walk out our life… well, you do it. It’s simple. There isn’t any profound answer I can give. Jesus asked us and we said yes.”