When we were both 23 years old, 2 years after we got married, I came home and told my husband (Heath) I wanted to start fostering. He laughed it off and said maybe later, because at this time we were living in my in-laws basement and newly weds. God kept calling though; He kept placing me in direct contact with foster children — at church, at work, with friends — all intentional to continue and cultivate that desire in my heart. A couple of years later God put it on Heath’s heart too, and in “God fashion” The CALL was at our church the next day promoting info meetings for fostering. We immediately filled out our paperwork to foster one child without intentions of adopting; 4 months later our home was opened, a day later we had our first placement, and two weeks later we had our second placement.
Eleven months after our newborn was placed with us he became our first adopted son, Carter. We continued to foster and then a few years later learned that we struggled with infertility. Still deep in the trenches of fostering and raising our son, we were deep in the trenches of infertility treatments. Treatments lasted about 9 months and we both decided that wasn’t for us; we had adopted before and knew that adoption was an option we were both on board with.
Not long after that, God put a specific girl on our hearts to adopt, we called her our “angel baby”. We prayed for her, but through a series of events we ended up not getting her. Although heartbroken, we trudged on of waiting and longing. A few months later we decided that fostering was our heart’s desire and that we would continue to bring kids in our home to love for that season. In January we took a newborn baby boy home to love on while his mom was getting the help she needed. A few months later God surprised me and allowed me to meet “angel baby” that we had prayed for months earlier. I got to share with her pre-adoptive mom our story and how we prayed for her little girl and what a blessing it was to put a face to our prayers; how praying for her had increased our faith and brought us back to fostering. We continued on caring for this boy, Channing, and saw reunification as the goal, but were still thankful that we got to care for him and help his mom some in the process.
Around June we were asked if we could keep our “angel baby” for respite while her pre-adoptive mom had surgery. Of course, we jumped at the opportunity to love on this girl and were naive to the emotional rollercoaster it would be to care for a baby we thought was going to be ours. During this time, Channing’s mom was doing really well and we just knew he was going to go back to her. The time came for us to do respite and, honestly, keeping “angel baby” was very hard on my heart, to love both babies and know that neither were going to be ours. I began looking into private adoption agencies. I didn’t want to keep fostering if our heart wasn’t in the right place for reunification. We called every agency in Arkansas and many families we knew that had adopted privately, and were set to go this route, when we got a call from “angel baby’s” guardian. I remember exactly where I was standing as we spoke on the phone, “Because of some complications, we are feeling like we shouldn’t adopt her, would you and your husband like to adopt this baby?” Are. You. Serious. I jumped at the opportunity to say yes and then remembered I should ask my husband to make sure he was good with it.
A few weeks went by and we heard from the caseworker through an e-mail that said we were approved to keep her and be her pre-adoptive family and at the bottom of the message it said, “FYI she has a baby brother who was just born and he’s in the NICU, would you like to adopt him too?” Shocked, we said YES!! So now in a few short months we went from a 3-year-old adopted son, an 8 month old foster son, a 10 month old “angel baby” to adopt, and now a preemie baby boy! To say we were overwhelmed with excitement and fear was an understatement! Our heads were spinning with what to do with our sweet Channing. “Do we wait until he is reunified with his mom? Do we find another sweet family to love on him? Can we handle 3 babies at once?” A few weeks went by and we got another phone call, this time from Channing’s caseworker. “Mrs. Hagan, something happened at his visit today. Channing’s mom said she’s not able to continue with his care. Would you like to adopt him?” I literally busted out laughing on the phone. I couldn’t contain the emotions of hysterics! When I told Heath the phone was silent. We prayed and processed and pray and processed, finally one day Heath walked in and said, “Well do you want to change his name or keep it the same?” He had felt peace about adopting all 3 kids and becoming a family of 6.
Now our kids are Carter (5), Laney Kate (3), Channing (3), and Cayden (2) and have all been officially Hagans for almost a year. God’s ways are always perfect and his timing is always right. I can say 100 times over that the journey has not been easy but it has been one we wouldn’t trade for anything!