Foster/Adoptive Parents of the Month: Josh & Elisabeth Reeve
“Letting go and letting God” — it’s easier said than done, but it was what Josh and Elisabeth Reeve learned to do when they nearly lost the foster children whom they had hoped to adopt.
The Reeves, of Brea, California, are Forever Kids’ Foster/Adoptive Parents of the Month for February 2021. Though they are grieving the loss of Josh’s father, Bob Reeve, who passed away Saturday, Feb. 20, they are also celebrating the birthday of their twin girls, who turn 2 today.
The Reeves fostered the twins from birth, but six months after receiving them, just before termination of the biological parents’ rights, the Reeves faced a legal battle with the baby girls’ grandparents.
The babies’ biological mother, who was addicted to drugs, was unable to raise them herself, but her parents, the twins’ grandparents, were interested in adopting the girls. Though placing children with their biological families is often a goal in the foster system, the call about the grandparents came as an unexpected blow to Josh, Elisabeth and their three biological children, who had already bonded with the babies and were eager to make them a permanent part of the family.
The Reeves discovered that the biological grandparents had hired a lawyer and were ready to fight for custody in court. As the case proceeded, the Reeves went to court multiple times. They would have loved to share their side of the story, but they were not allowed to have representation.
“As a foster parent, you’re doing the hard work on the ground of raising the children, but then you have no voice in the court, no control over the legal side of things, no say in how it’s going to turn out,” Elisabeth said. “That’s really hard for foster parents, to have no control over the outcome.”
Elisabeth said their family turned to prayer and also appreciated support from The Cause, their church in Brea, Calif., and a Facebook group for moms of adopted children.
“Our heart was always, ‘God, whatever Your will is, we trust You, and we ask that You do whatever is best for the children, and even if that means going back to their biological family, we will honor that. We want what’s best for them, and we trust You,’” Elisabeth recounted. “I prayed on behalf of them, saying, ‘God, let your will be done. You fight their battles. You do whatever’s best for them.’ And He did.”
The judge ultimately determined that it was best for the little girls to stay with the Reeves because they had already attached to them and because the grandparents were not fully able to care for them. This decision cleared the way for the Reeves to adopt the little girls.
“It was nothing we did; we just sat back and let God do what He had to do,” Elisabeth said. “It was really neat to see how God fought for them and did what was best for the children.”
At the hearing when they discovered they would be allowed to keep the girls, the Reeves were overjoyed. At the same time, they had compassion for the biological grandparents’ loss.
“It was an emotional moment … we went out into the hallway and hugged and cried and prayed with the biological family,” Elisabeth said. “We love them, so our hearts broke for their loss, but we were so relieved and thankful that we would not lose the girls.”
The little girls are now thriving in the Reeves’ care. Their older siblings enjoy helping with them and seeing them grow, and Josh and Elisabeth are living out what they’ve learned about sacrificial, surrendered love. “A lot of people say, ‘I would never want to take that risk of maybe getting the kids taken away from me,’ but the picture is so much bigger than that,” Elisabeth said. “It’s about a family with brokenness that needs the love of God, it’s about us stepping in and filling in the gap, and it’s about trusting God. We need to be bigger than the fear of loss.” Case for Character comments Upon taking in the twin baby girls, the Reeves received a pair of Case for Character suitcases from Forever Kids. They are thankful that rather than needing them for moves to other families and homes, they get to use them for vacations as a forever family. Knowing that not all foster children are so fortunate to be adopted by their first placement home — in fact, the average foster child moves seven times — Elisabeth said she highly appreciates Case for Character’s mission: to provide durable suitcases that include character-building content for children in foster care. Unless suitcases are provided to them, children in foster care use trash bags to take their belongings with them to their next house. “I’m thankful for the Case for Character program because it gives dignity to children who are not normally treated with dignity,” Elisabeth said. “It gives them something that’s their own and something to be able to take their precious few things with them from place to place in a dignified way. It sends the message that they are valuable, they are cared for and they are worth something.” Elisabeth noted that the book and CD about character traits take the suitcases’ value to a whole other level. “The curriculum is awesome — we could always use more character teaching in the world,” she said. “There’s not enough of that being taught in people’s homes, so I think it’s an amazing gift to give the kids.”