Stories from Families

Rawles Adoption Story

Be Rescued by Adoption

“Adoption” is a word often shadowed in notions of hearsay and “what ifs.”  Vague at best are the facts and how it is actually done. Adoption can simply be downright intimidating. Maybe sharing our story will demystify the process for you. It’s not as difficult as you think. You can do this.

 I had always wanted to adopt but was under the impression that because we already had two biological children we could not. That was incorrect. That may have been the case years ago, but is not so now. So, if you already have children and long for another, keep reading.
 The first time, we chose to go through a private agency. We were under another incorrect assumption that it was just too difficult to got through CPS. (I’ll get to that later). The following months we filled out quite a bit of paperwork, prepared our home and prepared our family.  We were assigned a caseworker and were interviewed. She came to our house and completed a home study. We waited. 
 Adoption was a new concept to our families and they shared fears and concerns with us. We’d already discussed the same fears and were open as we shared our hearts.  The desire to bring another child into our home was not born by facts, but by heart. We see that a generation is up for grabs and have decided that if someone will influence this season in history, it might as well be us.  The further we got into the process and discussion, the greater our conviction and passion grew. In the Bible, Malachi 4 speaks about healing the family and destroying the curse upon a fatherless land. We take that literally and this is our part in fulfilling that.  You can play a part in something bigger than you.
 We are “those people” who had difficulty with the birth mothers and went through two huge disappointments. Yes, we almost had children placed and it fell through. However, similar to giving birth to a biological child, when that new child is in your arms the pain of the journey fades. Hey, the stretch marks were only my heart this time! I wouldn’t change a thing and that is because Jesus swiftly and miraculously healed us as we continued on. Don’t let the intimidation or threat of difficulty keep you from the reward of children in your arms. 
 We thought we were finished. We had our two older kids and our adopted baby girl was out of diapers. Hallelujah! Well, that passion and conviction stirred again. Now that we know how it works, we’re not scared to do it again. 
 This time we went through CPS. Private adoption is incredibly expensive and isn’t possible for most people. Yes, there’s the paperwork again. Yes, we have to have our home ready for inspection. Yes, we are learning to wait again. This time the only price is our time. Adoption through CPS is free-really. Simply call CPS and ask them to recommend an agency. That’s where you start. 
 We are delighted with High Sky Children’s Ranch. They have lead us through each step. Our caseworker simply tells us the next form to fill out or next training we need to do. They will guide, you just follow. If you are really motivated, the preparation can happen somewhat quickly, much of the timing depends on how fast you work at it.
 Our son has now been an “official” Caldwell for several months. He transitioned into our home miraculously as if he’d always been a part. I don’t even remember what we did before him. He is biracial as is our other adopted daughter. They are both 5. How funny that they wonder aloud if they are twins. You see, it’s about heart, not flesh and bone!
 Basically the only thing keeping you from a child in your home is a mound of paperwork, a few trainings, and a bit of time. There’s a movie in which one of the characters asks what happens when he rescues the princess. She says she rescues him right back. Go rescue a child or children, I promise they will rescue you right back.
Caldwell Adoption Story
 

Rike Adoption Story

Bringing My Brother Home

When I was twelve we lived in a small town close to Lubbock. One day in August of 1971, someone called from the Home for Unwed Mothers in Lubbock and asked if we would keep a baby for a while. We’d been a foster family for them before.When the man from the home came he had a little six-month old dark-skinned baby with curly hair, red satin over-pants and a huge smile that melted us to the ground. The foster mother who brought Michael to us was the last of a string of families who had kept him. Because of his skin color and lack of father information, Mikey had been neglected and hospitalized for malnutrition. At six months old he could hold his own bottle (I thought that was cool cause I could read a book while he took care of himself.)There were several families who wanted to adopt Mikey (including a cousin). When Mom and Dad were asked if they wanted to, they said “Yes, but we’re both almost sixty. We might not live long enough to see him graduate from high school let alone college or get married, etc.” They prayed that whatever family could best raise him to love the Lord would be allowed to adopt him.The following December, Mom, Dad, Teresa (my sister), Mikey and I went before a judge in Lubbock to make Mikey officially ours. The judge asked Teresa and I if we realized that Mikey would inherit with us. Of course, he was our brother from the minute we laid eyes on him.One time, Mr. Hewlett came out from the home in Lubbock to check on us. I was holding Mikey and at the sound of Mr. Hewlett’s voice he had a death grip around me cause I guess he was afraid Mr. Hewlett was moving him from us.He’s been such a huge blessing in our lives. I’m very thankful to the Lord Jesus for giving him to us. I pray for his birth mother and am thankful to her for the heartbreaking decision she made to give him up for adoption.He’s now 43, lives and lives in Oklahoma. He is a respiratory therapist, the father of three. His oldest daughter graduates from high school this month.Mom and Dad lived well into their 90’s and were privileged to see Mikey graduate from high school and respiratory therapy school. They were also blessed to see Mikey get married and all three of his children born and grow up.Thank you for this venue…for telling my family’s adoption story. Numbers 6:24-26In Him,
Pamela J. JohnsonPamela Johnson Story

Foster Adoption Story

The seed/idea/thought/desire in becoming a foster/adoptive parent was planted when I was a teenager.  A friend and her family were foster/adoptive parents and I just thought it was so awesome to help children find love and stability when their little lives were in such chaos. Plus, with a last name like mine it seems I was fated to be a foster momma.

Fast forward 10 years later and I became a licensed foster/adoptive home in March 2009. I had 8 children come in and out of my home before my 9th child came into my life. Nick was 5 days old when he was placed with me. He came straight from the hospital with the investigator and it never crossed my mind at the time that he was going to be mine forever.

About 5 months into the placement I knew I was going to be able to adopt him. The writing was on the wall when it came to his birth family and the judge gave me official permission to begin calling him by his adoptive name. Nick’s birth mother relinquished her parental rights and all other paternal rights were terminated in April 2013.

By August, our case had moved to the adoption division and all the paperwork associated with adopting a child began. I got an email on October 8th from the adoption worker stating- there is already a court date on October 16th do you want to move forward with the adoption on that day? Everyone else is on board for finalizing the adoption that day if you are. Whoa buddy! I knew the adoption was coming soon but I was so unprepared for it to happen in a week! We had been hoping for a date in November for National Adoption Month. I immediately got butterflies fluttering around in my belly. I was about to become responsible for someone else for the rest of my life! (Nick is my first child. Can you tell? LOL) Don’t get me wrong I was super excited too.

Nick was already my son in my heart so adoption was just making things legal. October 16th started out like any other day. I got up and got the kids ready, I dropped my other foster baby off at the daycare but then I, along with my parents, headed towards Brady. I was happy to see that some of my friends and family were able to make it. I knew that adoption day being on a Wednesday morning, it would be hard for people to come, but I also knew I had a lot of people with me in spirit. 🙂

We walked into the court room and were first on the docket. You would think that such a life alternating moment would take a while, but I think from start to finish it took 20 minutes to make this beautiful little boy mine. Another good thing happened that morning. I had promised my mother a long time ago a grandson one way or another (she’s got 4 granddaughters and a great granddaughter) and I made good on that promise on her birthday. 🙂

Kayce Foster Story

Rooks Adoption Story

When we married 14 years ago my husband had never had children.  I felt the call to foster and he felt the call to say no.
 
After much prayer he relented to not fostering but agreed to adopt one boy.  We fostered to adopt our 8 year old son and soon after his 11 year old sister.
 
Then we decided to foster but not adopt any more. Well we continued to get kids that for one reason or another would not be able to go home. They were children that were considered hard to place. So we continued to adopt.
 
First the sisters that were diagnosed fetal alcohol. Then the two brothers that were biracial and the older one was aspergers and younger one was meth baby. Then the brother and sister that the older sister was born with multiple disabilities. Then came the hispanic teen that had been in foster care for 12 + years.  Then the brother and sister that were hispanic and did now want to be adopted. Then came the two sisters that behaviors were so bad that they could not be in the same home. So they placed one with me and one with my sister. We adopted them a year later and now they are cousins and sisters. Then came the  17 year old from Russia with a failed adoption.
 
Now we are working on adoptions number 15 An African American teen that although was able to go to his aunt decided he wanted to stay and be adopted into our big crazy family and number 16 will be adopted at the same time. He is one of our former foster children that was in our home from age 15. He could not be adopted because he was PMC. Now that he is 18 years old he wants a permanent family.So now the man that never wanted children is the father to 17 children 16 adopted and one bio child. Grandfather to 4.
Patti Rooks Story Photo

Kasner Adoption Story

 We began our journey 3.5 years ago as a foster to adopt family.  My twin sister and I decided that we wanted to help children by providing a loving and secure family for as long as they needed us.  During our journey, we have experienced many ups and downs, but in the end we received an amazing blessing with the adoption of our four wonderful children.  Our life and family is now complete, and we truly understand the quote “Children are a gift from God”.

Branch Adoption Story – Giving Back

In 2003 I was flying home from London, England, when “Home For The Holidays”, a Dave Thomas Foundation TV special, was shown on the airplane TV.  When I got home I told my wife of what I had seen.  We discussed it a bit and then a few weeks later we watched the “Home For the Holidays” TV special on regular TV.  We then began obtaining information regarding fostering and adoption.  Two weeks later we attended a PRIDE information class.  My wife and I discussed the information that we obtained.  The required PRIDE training was going to cause us a significant logistic problem.  The training would occur on week nights and would require a 1 hour drive to and from the training.  Reluctantly, we decided that we just couldn’t manage work, kids and the training at the same time.
 
Five years passed and then a series of events occurred.  The first event was that we obtained parental custody of our 18 month old grandson.  At that time we we only had one child in our home, that being our 14 year old son, so the impact of bringing an 18 month old child into our home was significant.  It was so significant that my wife and I decided that she should become a stay-at-home mom. Given the circumstances, my wife then checked back with DFPS on the requirements for PRIDE training.  Our thought was that if my wife was already going to be a stay-at-home mom that we should reinvestigate adoption.  To our delight we found that the PRIDE training could now be obtained through training classes primarily held on weekends.  So, we launched into the training and obtained our certification in March of 2009.
 
We then began our search for our first adoptive child.  After a bit of work we learned where and how to look for available children.  Of course there is the TARE website but there are also a number of TV station related programs who showcase children on a weekly basis.  During our PRIDE training we had been looking at children on the TV showcases.  During this time we had seen a beautiful 10 year old girl.  She absolutely stole our heart but the problem was that we were not yet certified and thus could not inquire on her.  It broke our heart.  Upon completion of our PRIDE classes our case worker presented us with a packet containing three children.  The first child out of the packet was the girl that we had fallen in love with on the TV showcase.  It was unbelievable.  Our caseworker had no knowledge that this was the child that we had fallen in love with.  So, of course we responded to our caseworker that we wanted to be consider only for this child.  Two months later we got the call that we had been matched with this child.  Seven months later the child was placed with us and then in June of 2011 the adoption of our daughter was finalized.
 
We were so happy with our new daughter and the entire adoption process that in April of 2011 we began to look for a second child.  This time around things did not happen so smoothly. We inquired on a number of children and were never matched.  In February of 2011 we were doing our weekly review of all the TV station showcases and happened upon a 9 year old girl.  At first sight we knew.  That night we sent the inquiry request and the next morning we were making phones calls to anyone we could.  We knew beyond a doubt that she was the one.  Two weeks later we recieved information that we were going to be considered for the girl.  Two weeks after that we got the call, she was going to be ours.  We met our second daughter in April of 2012 and on May 1 she was placed in our home.  The adoption was finalized on November 9, 2012.
We are now working on our third adoption, that being for the biological brother of our second daughter.
 
We have been asked by many people as to why we have and are adopting these children.  We already had a very extended family, consisting of a 32 year old daughter, a 30 year old son, a 19 year old son and 4 grandchidren.  Why would we basically want to start over?  Why would we want children that are younger than some of our grandchildren?   Here is the answer; my wife and I have been very blessed in life.  We felt that we needed to give back and in some way repay for all the blessings that we have received.  We have not regretted this for one second.  Our children are amazing and there is no greater satisfaction than seeing a child grow up and bloom into a beautiful adult.
 
We would encourage anyone that reads this to do what we have done.  Every child deserves a home, love and a family.  Don’t think for a minute that it will be easy.  It won’t be, but the rewards are incredible.

 

Butterfield Adoption Story – Nothing is impossible with God!

We’ve adopted eight kids via the foster system. Oh wait….no 7. Our youngest was a private domestic adoption.
 
Why the foster system?
 
Why not?
In our thoughts, maybe what we are called to do, but there are plenty of kids right here in our own backyard (U.S.A.) that need families.
 
Why go international?
 
Some are called to adopt internationally and that is God working His plan for all the orphans of the world.
 
We were called to stay here.
So…here’s our story wrapped up into one post.
 
We began our journey to adoption when God spoke to my heart about it when I was 13/14 years old. It has always been there.
Waiting.  Waiting for the time to be right.  Sometimes the wait has been impatiently.  Always in God’s perfect timing.
 
During my 3rd pregnancy in as many years, the Dr. recommended that we don’t get pregnant again. She said the next time it could be me and/or the baby that will be lost.
Had I known what I know now, would I have risked that?  I don’t know. I don’t dwell on that. The Lord already had other kids chosen for us to grow our family.
So we made a decision when I was pregnant that this would be our last biological baby. The rest of our family would be built with adoption later.
 
The time came in 1987 when Brandy was almost 6 years old.  Well, apparently that wasn’t God’s timing. After our home study, classes, licensed for foster/adoption, we waited. And waited. And waited.  During the wait we opened our own business. Our three kids were in school full time.  Life was moving along.  And we waited for that call.  We waited some more.
 
Finally in 2002…..yes 13 years later…..we decided we were not ready for the empty nest and once again applied for adoption.  The state office couldn’t get to us for at least 6-months!  I called a private agency. They could get on our home study right away. And right away it was. We were home study ready in less than 6-weeks!
 
That was the end of March 2002. By mid-April I found a beautiful 5-year-old girl on one of the adoption websites.  We contacted our worker, she submitted our home study and …. we weren’t chosen.  On to more searching and waiting.
 
But wait….2 weeks later (first week of May) we received THE call. We’d been chosen for our 5-year-old after all. Albeit we were second choice but first choice changed her mind. She decided that she just started a new career and didn’t have time to be a mother right then.  Woohoo!!! We were matched!  Getting all the paperwork, ICPC (interstate paperwork) done we were finally able to travel and bring home Ashley, who was now, 6-years-old, in August 2002. 
 
We were asked to be an emergency foster home. Kids would remain with us for 2 to 6 weeks tops. Either reunification would be happening or a more longer term foster home would be found.  We got our first foster kids in January 2003. They stayed with us until the first week of April.  Two weeks after they left, we were called on a sib group of 4 that needed an emergency placement.  They arrived Good Friday 2003. Ashley was so excited to now have 3 sisters and a brother at home to play with.  After the kids were with us for about a month, we were asked if we’d consider adopting them if they became available. We said absolutely!!!  So they didn’t move out right away.
 
July 2003 we got a call from our worker telling us they had a newborn baby girl still in the hospital….were we interested?  ABSOLUTELY!!!  She has Down’s syndrome, will that be a problem?  Uh! NOOO!!  So we brought her home a week later. She was 15 days old!  When we asked our worker why we were called when we didn’t have newborn checked on our child sheet. She said, “let’s call it a God thing and leave it at that”.  Okey dokey then!
 
So here we were with 6 kids within 11 months. Talk about not having an empty nest any longer LOL  We continued to do some fostering. The longest any kids stayed with us was 6 weeks.  Each time a child/ren left, the other kids would ask why we weren’t keeping them. “Mom, was her hair too curly?” “Mom, wasn’t he cute enough?” “Mom, did he kick you?”  Yes, these are real questions that came from our kids.
 
January 2004, we got the call that we would get to keep Nicole, Jaime, Donald, and Tiffany. In May, we finalized on the 4 of them and Tawny.  Dual placements and simultaneous adoptions.  Apparently that is totally unheard of.
 
Shortly afterwards we stopped fostering. It was just too hard on the kids. Kept them emotionally in turmoil.  We lived life. Homeschooling. Welcoming more of our grandkids (we have 9 altogether now).
 
In 2011, we decided we’d like to adopt again. We began the home study process once again.  This time we didn’t feel any pressure to move quickly. We found an agency that was willing and wanting to work with an already larger than typical family to help our family grow even more.  It took about 8 months to complete the home study this time. That’s OK.  It was completed February 2012. We were pre-qualified for 6 more kids. Our worker wanted us to submit on 20-25 kids at once. I thought that was a bit much. But I began submitting on any groups that interested me.  Mid-April, I applied for 2 boys that I’d had my eye on for more than a year but since we were pre-qualified for 6 more kids, I was looking and submitting on the larger groups. Our worker said MORE.  So I decided that I’d go ahead and submit on these 2 boys. By mid-May, we heard their worker was totally interested in us. By the end of May, she called and said we were chosen.  Woohoo!!!!
 
The long wait begins again. Paperwork paperwork paperwork.  We were finally able to travel in September to go bring Austin and Cody home.  We finalized on May 2013.  By the first week of May 2013, before we finalized, another worker got her hands on our home study and wanted us for her kids.  A sib group of 7!!! Yes, seven kids.  She pulled the kids from the website, said she’d hold them until after we finalized and updated our home study once again.  We finalized May 10th, began our update process immediately.  The agency has expedited our paperwork so we can move forward with the kids. We want them home ASAP.
 
I’m happy to announce that as of today (June 26), we are home study ready. Tomorrow we will be reading thru the kids’ files to be sure we are still interested. Make sure there isn’t any red flags to us. Make sure we are prepared to take on the challenge of having 15 kids at home all at once.  A DREAM COME TRUE!  I’d always dreamed of having 12-15 kids at home at once. It’ll be short lived as Jaime will graduate next year and be off to college thereafter.  So, praying everything will run smoothly. That the paperwork and ICPC won’t take nearly as long as the others. I understand the kids’ worker has been doing all she can on her end while waiting so that things will go quickly.  We are sooo excited!
 
I’m hear to tell you….don’t let anyone squash your dreams.  Don’t let anyone say it can’t be done.  Even our agency is saying….we’ve never seen this happen before.
We’ve never run across this before.  This has never been allowed before.  This is unheard of.  If it is in God’s plan….nothing is impossible.  If one person says no, find another one.  If someone says you can’t….remind them that God can.  When God calls us to a mission, we do all we can to follow that call.  When God calls, we say, “Here we are Lord. What’s up?”

Butterfield Story Photo