Foster Mom’s Amazing Covid-19 Story
Foster Mom’s Amazing Covid-19 Story
An amazing story of God’s faithfulness…
Ms. Ercell shared her amazing foster care journey with us. It includes the unexpected death of her husband and baptisms of 3 foster daughters during COVID-19.
Foster Journey Delayed
The first steps of their foster journey began in early 2018 when she and Steven decided to foster. They met at age 17. Married at 20 and went 37 years without children. As soon as the Lord moved their hearts to foster, Steven developed a rash on his ankle. It got progressively worse. By mid-March 2018 he went to the doctor for treatment. During that visit he passed out seven times in 5 minutes and was rushed to the hospital. After two months of tests they discovered he had leukemia. They were devastated.
Their favorite song during this long ordeal was, It is Well with My Soul. Steveb also kept their spirits up with his great sense of humor.
Initially, there was hope when he had a bone marrow transplant in August 2018. However, by Christmas the cancer was back worse than before. He was then told by the doctors he had three to six months to live. Friends from Idlewild Church prayed fervently for healing. On January 11, 2019 they were told Steven had a week to live.
He hung on longer but by mid-February he was extremely weak and in the hospital. Steven continued to decline and on February 26 a nurse asked if she could play the harp by his bedside. Ms. Ercell whispered in Steven’s ear while the harp was being played and said, “Honey if you see Jesus, I want you to run to him with all your heart and all your might, honey, because he loves you and I do too. And I’ll see you later.”
While she was saying that, her dear husband went to be with the Lord. How much of a better way could there be to go to be with Christ? With a harp playing and your dearest loved one whispering encouragement in your ear.
Entering Foster Care During COVID-19
Ms. Ercell was determined to move forward and become a foster parent on her own. She asked God all along the way to open doors and close doors. When she decided to investigate foster parenting at a Christian agency, she said, “And what is the name of the agency? A Door of Hope. Does God have a sense of humor? He absolutely does.”
She went through the classes and got two precious girls on March 25th of this year from a group home.
Ms. Ercell’s initial thoughts were, “I’ve never been a mom. I’ve never been pregnant. Now I’m 57 and going to be a mom for the first time. That’s not exactly what I thought my life would look like. And a single mom to boot. Why didn’t this happen when my husband was around?”
It was rough in the beginning. Extremely rough. She stated, “They were afraid. I was afraid. I didn’t know what I was doing. They didn’t know what they were doing.”
“I grew up in the same house with the same mom and dad. We did not move. I can’t imagine being a kid moving around so much with so many unknowns. There were definitely adjustments for everyone. It’s been so neat.” She reflected.
Silver Lining to COVID-19
Because of COVID-19, they had no one to bond to outside the home. As much as COVID-19 has been horrible. Ms. Ercell affirms, “In my life it’s been a blessing in a way because otherwise I would have been alone. I don’t do well alone. They have been such a blessing in my life.”
Like many employees she is working from home. She recalled, “One day Vicky* is asking all of these questions. About everything. All of a sudden she starts asking questions about God and heaven. What happens when you die.’ So I zeroed in on what she was asking.”
“So I began explaining the Gospel and she wanted to ask Jesus into her heart.”
A week later, while they were all watching a Christian movie, the other girl, Sophia* started asking questions.
The day after Mother’s Day, Grace* joined their family. Again they were watching a Christian movie and she starts asking questions. And the other girls began saying you want to go to heaven, too. Grace said yes that she wanted to believe in Jesus.
In conclusion, Ms. Ercell exclaims, “Next, they each met with the children’s pastor at Idlewild who talked with them about their faith. Then they got baptized. Now they are sharing their faith with their siblings over the phone.”
The Need in Tampa Bay*
Nine children on average are removed every day in the greater Tampa Bay area from their home because of abuse, abandonment or neglect. Whether you live in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee, Sarasota, or DeSoto County*, there is a severe shortage of foster homes to take these children in.