Brian and Meghan Morgan, like many couples, entered into their foster care journey at STARRY with hopes of adoption. So when they welcomed a 15-month-old baby boy named Benjamin into their home, they hoped he was there to stay.
When Benji was first placed with the Morgans, he had weekly, scheduled visits with his biological parents. His family of origin only spoke Spanish and the language barrier made these visits nerve-wracking for everyone involved. “I’m sure his parents were just as terrified as we were to meet these strangers who were caring for their son,” Meghan shares. “We didn’t know each other, we didn’t trust each other.”
Brian and Meghan quickly fell in love with Benji, but they began to feel God tugging at their hearts and pulling them in an unexpected direction. Benji’s biological parents truly loved him and the Morgans knew that was where he belonged. They began to discuss this with their STARRY case manager, who offered guidance and wisdom into the complex world of foster care. Instead of pursuing adoption, they realized that the Lord had brought them into this relationship to pursue the restoration of Benji’s family.
For Brian, the moment of clarity came during a court hearing. He recalls that Benji’s parents walked into a court where only English was spoken. There was no interpreter for them and they had to wait what seemed like hours for the trained legal interpreter to arrive. “My heart goes out to them,” Brian shared. “They showed up at court; they were trying. We need to do everything we can to help them. Helping them is helping him.”
Meghan’s realization came while driving with Benjamin in the back seat. She remembers thinking that this wasn’t her child – he already had a mother. “God reminded me that I needed to love this mom more than this child, because he wasn’t mine,” she says. “And really, what God had called me to do was help that mom know her son.”
They soon began to surrender their own plans of adoption and pursue a relationship with Benji’s biological family. It wasn’t long until the Morgans were attending family baptisms and even a cousin’s quinceañera. “It was beautiful to be sitting alongside his family at those events,” Meghan says. “Benji belonged there – he’d play differently, he was more comfortable. He’d be out dancing with his cousins, sweating up a storm.”
A few weeks later, Brian and Meghan were told that Benji’s biological dad wasn’t going to be able to make it to his weekly visit to see his son. This is unusual, Brian thought. Little did the Morgans know, that trip was a monumental event for Benji’s father. He had been on a retreat with men from his church, where he’d experienced God moving in his heart in a new way. He had dedicated himself to growing as a father and to caring well for his family. An aunt called to invite Brian and Meghan to the church where they would be welcoming his father home.
“[At the church] we sent Benjamin running toward his dad, and his dad just broke down and held him. We saw mom and son and dad together embracing and crying,” Meghan remembers.
As Brian embraced Benji’s dad, he was overcome with emotion. “I told him I’m so proud of him,” Brian said. ‘It’s almost like Benji has two dads and two moms. We’re so thankful.’”
All Brian could do was tell him again and again, “Benjamin loves you. We love you. We pray for you every night.”
Six months later, Benjamin was returned to his biological parents with Brian and Meghan cheering them on. At court that final day, it was a family celebration. In the hallway outside of the courtroom, Benjamin, his parents, the Morgans, their STARRY case worker, and all the lawyers were waiting for their turn to go in. They were all just playing – bouncing a ball, rolling it back and forth and laughing. “It was just this team, this family. It was a beautiful, heart-breaking day,” Meghan recalls.
Returning Benjamin to his biological family was hard, but the Morgans are confident that it was the right outcome. By working closely with the STARRY foster care staff and praying for God’s guidance, they knew that Benjamin was where he belonged. According to Brian, “It was only by God’s grace that we got to know his family and be at peace with it.”
“We went into fostering thinking it was going to be one, two, three – us and this little boy,” Meghan says. “And we just saw God blow that open.” The Morgans realized that the Lord had used this unexpected journey with STARRY to impact the hearts of everyone involved.
“There’s a beautiful story unfolding that God has blessed us in getting to be a tiny piece of, but there’s a bigger story,” Meghan says. “And it’s not about us, and it’s not about a hole in our hearts, or a hole in our family or an empty bedroom in our home being filled. It’s about that family being healed and knowing hope and truth.”
Though it wasn’t how the Morgans imagined their foster care journey to be, they know God is writing an even bigger story.