Our story began almost 10 years ago. Alan and I were sitting in church and Mary Carol Pederson, from The C.A.L.L., spoke about the need for Christian foster families in Pulaski county. We had never heard of a need for foster families. I had never met a kid in foster care. Our eyes were opened. Alan and I decided this was a no brainer. So in the next 2 years we went through all the necessary training and paperwork to become approved to foster or adopt. During this time we had David, our first born. Shortly after his first birthday, we began fostering. We had 10 kids in and outof our home in less than 18 months. It was a whirl wind of emotions. We experienced heartbreakand great joy. The Lord was using these children to bless us in ways I never imagined.
I remember taking one of the kids to court. That day the judge ruled that he should go home. In my humble opinion, a lot of work needed to be done on his parents part before he should go home. I called a friend and told her he was going home. Her kind response was, “isn’t this kind of what you signed up for?” I just cried. It was what we had signed up for, but my heart was still broken. Then I called a fellow foster mom and told her what happened in court and she just began to cry with me. It was obvious that this was not an easy road, but I knew I was supposed to advocate for these precious children.
In early March of 2013, while we were fostering a 4 year old girl who was transitioning home, we received a call from Christie Erwin, from The Project Zero, about adopting 2 boys. She asked if she could give my number to their grandmother and I said, “of course.” I was so excited. I can remember the next week driving to their grandparents home. The whole way there Alan said repeatedly, “Don’t get excited. This probably won’t work. Let me do most of the talking. I don’t want you to get yourheart broken.” Within 30 minutes of meeting the boys and their grandparents Alan asked, “so when can the boys move in?” It was a beautiful moment! We are so blessed that Evan and Ethan are in our lives and that their precious grandparents are like a second set of parents to us. The boys started coming to visit when our foster daughter was visiting her biological family. June 2, 2013 those two sweet boys moved in and became ours forever. It wasn’t always easy, especially since we had just opened our 3rd restaurant and Alan was in his 3rd year of law school, but God’s grace is sufficient. In July of 2014, Evan and Ethan’s adoption finalized. It was so precious to have 3 little boys. Little did we know just 2 months later we would find out we were pregnant with Moses! It was such an affirmation of our faith in our Creator and Sustainer that we had been obedient to His call to foster and adopt. Moses was born in April of 2015. It was so sweet to have 4 little boys. Our hearts and our arms were full. But God wasn’t finished yet.
Four months later I received a phone call from our HR director at work asking if we were still foster parents. He was told by one of our managers that an employee was probably going into foster care because of some things going on at home. I called everyone I had ever known who had anything to do with DCFS and fostering to try to help out this young man. No child deserves to live in a place that isn’t safe. Within a few days my request had made it all the way to the top and my prayers had been answered. They were going to let this young man live with us while we worked to get all our paper work and training up to date. Sadly, after the DCFS inquiry to his home, they decided it was safe for him to stay where he was. We called him into Alan’s office and simply asked him his story. My heart was broken for this young man. We all cried. By the end Alan told him, “if you ever need a safe place to stay, you are always welcome to stay withus.” It was so emotional for us all. I didn’t know what was going to happen, but God knew. Two dayslater this young man, JP, called me and said, “my dad is drunk and I’m scared to go home.” I told him to come on over! And that was that. He’s been with us ever since and is now our son!
When we started our foster care/adoption journey, I would have laughed if you told me I would adopt a 16 year old. The thought of that was beyond my reasoning. But His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts higher than our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9) Now with baby boy number 6 on the way, we again have our hearts and our arms full. Since we can’t foster or adopt, we are seeking how God would have us help the cause to raise awareness and funds for these kids who need a safe, loving home. Although we may not all be able to foster or adopt, we all can do something!