Foster Family Story: DeClue

“You did it: you changed wild lament into whirling dance; You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers. I’m about to burst with song; I can’t keep quiet about you. GOD, my God, I can’t thank you enough.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭30:11-12‬ ‭MSG‬‬

This thing we call foster care has rocked our little world and tiny home greatly. We opened as an Immerse home in September on 2014. As a foster home June 30th 2015. We became adoptive parents on August 2nd 2017. Biological parents on January 16th 2018. In this seemingly short span of time listed we have had just over 20 humans enter our home to shape our house and lives for the better.

God has been evident in everything. I have continued to cling to the statement, “God’s got this. He has a really cool plan. I can’t see it, but He has a plan.” Even when those words were uttered through clinched teeth and tear soaked cheeks.

 

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#ForeverFamilyFriday

Bo-Mackey from The CALL on Vimeo.

 

“When you sit & think about how his life could have been. It really shows you the impact the foster care could have on a kids life!” – Ashley 

“Is it hard? Yeah it’s hard! But it’s also rewarding!” – Jay

“You feel alive when your (fostering), like you’re doing what you’re suppose to be doing it! It doesn’t feel like a burden, it feels like a blessing!” – Ashley

After adopting Bo Mackey the family continued to foster & recently added a sweet baby sister through adoption to complete their forever family!

To a video telling more of their story click the link here!

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Fostering Journal – Cason Family

Fostering was never a part of my plan. But it was always in God’s plan. About 7 years ago, before my husband and I had any kids of our own, he randomly brought up how he felt like we should maybe foster or adopt. Our pastor at church had preached on the passage in James 1:27 where it says that “pure and undefiled religion is caring for widows and orphans”. He took that very literally and decided at that point that we should foster and or adopt. I was most definitely not on board. In fact, I’m pretty sure my response was “nope”.

 

Over the next 5 years God drastically changed my heart. He placed people and situations in our lives that continually brought up fostering. I fought God and I fought hard. I kept coming up with excuse after excuse of why we couldn’t foster. My loving husband never once pushed me or forced it upon us. God did all the work of changing my hard heart to what He wanted me to become.

 

In 2015, I finally told my husband that I was ready to seriously consider adoption. I had very strict guidelines on what I would and would not do. (ha!) We started looking into private adoption of a newborn baby and the door was quickly shut for us. So we decided we would begin looking into fostering. Again, I had very strict rules about what was going to happen. I knew that since we had two young biological girls of our own, my main concern was protecting them and doing what was in their best interest. Even after the first informational meeting I wasn’t sure I would be able to do this. I felt completely unprepared and had no idea how it would be possible. A very wise friend told us that we didn’t have to have everything figured out. All we had to do was “Take the next right step”.

 

So in January of 2016, we began the process of becoming an open home for fostering. My heart continued to be change during the next few months of what I wanted. By the time we were officially open in June, we decided that we were unprepared for any of this and that whatever God wanted to bring to our home we were willing.

 

In August of 2016 we got our first placement of two girls who were 3 and 6. So we went from a family of 4 to a family of 6, ages 2, 3, 5, and 6, overnight. To say that life was crazy would be an understatement. But God was so good and he continually provided for us. He gave us a peace like never before. He brought friends to us that covered us in prayers. The girls were with us for 16 months before we took them to their forever home in December 2017. It was the toughest 16 months of our lives, but we would do it again.

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Harris #ForeverFamilyFriday Story

I think God had been working on our story from the very beginning. Marc and I married in 2001, we had our first and only bio in 2002 and had been trying to conceive another child for several years. We often talked about adoption but didn’t know how to get started or how the process worked. We weren’t really proactive about looking into it. It was more of a casual conversation. We were in the starting process of fertility treatments when one Sunday we found out about The CALL,  They were showing a video at our church. When we saw the need was huge to take in foster kids we knew right away God was calling us to it. Naturally we had a plan, we would foster one at a time until we adopted one child but God had a different plan for our family. We took in a sibling set of two boys when we first opened and within a year we took another sibling set (brother and sister) to keep them from splitting up. We had Five children in our home within the first year of fostering.
Shortly after fostering, we soon understood what God was asking us to do. He wanted this to become a ministry , to reach out and help these families. Pour love into them, support them (within DCFS boundaries) and cheer them on as they got up and back on their feet to work to get their kids back.  We learned to build relationships that lasted , support systems to carry on even after the kids went home. Throughout our 8 year journey we’ve been able to foster over 15 kiddos, adopted 5 and continue to maintain relationships with the families we’ve been able to support. This journey has been such a blessing to me and my family. We are thankful God allowed us to be a part of it.
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Noah Davis #foreverfamilyFriday

Arkansas newest American Idol contestant, Noah Davis, sat down to tell us about how foster care & adoption formed his forever family. As an 18-year old you can tell from his interview that this really had a positive impact on his life.

 

“Having a flat tire is life not being fair! Not getting love & affection from your parents… thats just wrong!” – Noah

Forever Family Friday

Spann Family

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In January of 2011, after we had been married for three years, we decided it was time to begin our family. We carefully read all the books and blogs and even took a class for family planning. By 2012, we knew that getting pregnant was not going to be easy, so we pursued various fertility treatments where we were poked, prodded, and monitored for a year and a half. At the beginning of 2013, we knew it was time to discuss other options. Would we want to empty our bank account and further engage in fertility treatments? Was it time to look into adoption- a process we knew next to nothing about??

Honestly, we had just started to dream about adoption when we learned the CALL was having an informational meeting at my parents’ church, and it felt like God was trying to get our attention. We thought we would go to the meeting “just to listen,” but not make any decisions yet. I remember crying as Mary Carol spoke at this meeting and looking into the faces of children that were in the video shown at the beginning of the meeting. God was no longer being subtle.

We decided to sign up for PRIDE training and gather our materials to become open as a foster home. In the meantime, we explored private adoption agencies, only to realize it did not feel right for us. Months passed that included background checks, fingerprints, CPR classes, support groups, and a ton of learning. By the time PRIDE training took place, we were enthusiastic about fostering or adoption, wherever the road took us.

After PRIDE training and our home being opened, we:

  • traveled back and forth from Arkansas to a northern state in the hopes of adopting a family member, participated in court sessions and meeting, and eventually did not get chosen.
  • had to say no to multiple foster care placements due to our frequent traveling.
  • were “interviewed” in the hospital by a teenage girl who had just given birth and was looking for an adoptive family. We were not chosen.
  • were contacted by someone who knew a mother who was considering adoption. Eventually she changed her mind.
  • made inquiries about multiple children on the Heart Gallery but had not yet been matched.

By 2014, multiple failed possible adoptions and many sleepless nights later, we knew it was time to focus on adoption through DCFS. A high school friend sent me a Facebook message to encourage me to keep an open mind when going through the adoption process, sharing with me her story of her beautiful older children. Almost immediately, we received an email about the Project Zero Disney Event that was happening soon. We visited the Project Zero website, too afraid to look at the photos because our hearts had been broken too many times to count. I emailed Christie Erwin to get more information about the Disney Event, and she responded within minutes. She was so reassuring and positive, and she was willing and able to answer questions for us! This was something we were not used to. That evening, we took the chance to look at the photos on the website, knowing we needed to guard our hearts and take it slowly.

Then we saw them. Two round-faced, smiling boys hugging each other with eyes that sparkled. We stopped scrolling, and we looked at each other. “This is them. These are our kids,” we said to each other. We fell head over heels in love, but we were scared and still cautious due to our past experiences.

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Christie put us in touch with their adoption specialist, and we arranged to meet them at the 2014 Disney Extravaganza. We went, not knowing what to expect or how to meet the boys while there. During the event, we were separated and Jeremy was at the bouncy house and I was at the climbing wall. That’s when he sent the text that said, “THEY’RE HERE. GET HERE QUICK!” Our oldest had literally run smack into Jeremy’s face while tumbling down the bouncy house slide and said, “This is my house!” with a huge grin on his face. I practically ran to the back of the gym, my heart racing and my breath caught. There they were. Just as smiley and sparkly-eyed as their photo. We spent the rest of the afternoon getting milkshakes and playing in a sandbox, wanting the day to never end.

Things moved quickly after the Disney Extravaganza. We were matched! We began visits, and they moved home July of 2014. Our adoption was finalized March 18, 2015!

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Kenneth and Miles were 4 and 5 when they came home. We never envisioned adopting older boys. We never envisioned adopting a sibling set. We could have never dreamed the perfect way things unfolded once we let go and allowed God to lead. Adoption is hard. The road leading to adoption is hard. The waiting is incredibly hard. But these things are worth it:

  • the first time I heard “mommy”
  • the first time a little hand reached for mine in the parking lot
  • the first time one had a fever and needed extra love
  • the first bandaid and wiping away tears
  • first birthday parties (they had never even been to one!)
  • learning to ride a bike
  • going from not knowing the alphabet to becoming READERS!
  • first days of school and enormous smiles at the end of the day
  • … and the countless other “firsts” that they experienced with us. Because we are their mommy and daddy.

Kenneth and Miles are brave and resilient. They love Superman and Batman, fellow superheroes who are also adopted. This year, we will participate in our third Walk for the Waiting. We walk for children and families who are waiting to find each other. We walk to honor the way our family was built. We walk because they were absolutely worth the wait. We walk because Kenneth and Miles are superheroes.

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We’ve had a few folks ask about getting their fundraising page to auto-post to Facebook. For those of you that didn’t do this last year, this is a tremendous way to build momentum, spread awareness and raise funds!

Here are the steps to make sure your page is auto-posting:

1) Login to your HQ at www.walkforthewaiting.org:

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2) Click on “Social Auto-Post”

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3) Pick your networks, connect, and save settings!

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You’re done and should see posts like this on your Facebook:

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Thanks again for walking and please shoot me an email if you get stuck!

Thanks,
Eric

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