We currently reside Asheville, NC where my husband is the young singles pastor at a church. We talked about adoption on our second date and knew pretty early on that it would be at least one of the ways our family was formed. In addition, we are both passionate about people understanding the need for orphan care in this world and had started the ONEfamily ministry at former church in Montgomery, AL. We are excited to help launch an orphan care ministry at our current church in the coming months!
After adding a dog to our family in the first year of marriage, we decided to start the international adoption process in December of 2010. Then, in the summer of 2011, a young man who needed a place to live for a while joined our family. Justin lived with us for six months while he got on his feet and saved money to have his own place. He celebrated his 21st birthday with us and then was able to move out. He is now in JobCorp in Kentucky, has earned his GED, and is on his way to training for a Culinary Arts certification. We are super proud of him.
After adamantly stating I would NEVER be a foster parent over and over and over. . .we were licensed as foster parents in the fall of 2011. Immediately after being licensed, we received a call about a newborn baby boy. It was potentially a long-term placement. Would we consider it?
We prayed and talked and called our social worker back with an answer.
At two weeks old, Jayden entered our home and our hearts and he's been here ever since. He is adventurous, full of life and giggles, and a complete Daddy's boy.
Fostering has been, by far, the hardest thing we've ever done. It has stretched our faith and challenged our perceptions and our ability to control things. Through our two years of fostering, we have witnessed the immense need for healthy foster families and advocate strongly for more churches to become involved in the foster care process. Though the system is flawed, we have seen first hand that there can be restoration and redemption out of foster care.
On January 15, 2014, Jayden officially became a Word! You can read more about his story to become a forever part of our family here and here.
In the summer of 2012, we welcomed another young man into our home. TD had been a part of Brian's student ministry for a few years. He had lived through being in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, the sudden death of his father, and attending over ten different schools in his lifetime. TD has an amazing attitude and a willingness to want to learn and grow, as evidenced by his desire to graduate high school with a diploma. He needed a place to live that was stable and would afford him the ability to only have to worry about graduating, rather than where he would sleep that night or what to eat. We felt that our home would be a good fit for him, and with his mother's approval, we became his legal guardians. He started attending a private school, and caught up quickly with his peers. He will graduate from high school this May.
After nineteen months and two different agencies, our international adoption in the DRC was going nowhere. In August of 2012, we took a leap of faith and started pursuing an independent adoption. We were given the referral of a newborn baby boy and five months later, we were holding him for the first in Kinshasa, DRC. We brought Tyson Henry Word home on January 11, 2013. He is a complete joy and has fit perfectly in our arms and in our family. We are so grateful to call him our son.
We never could have imagined that this would be the way our family was formed or even how quickly, for that matter. . . 3 boys in thirteen months! Yet, we know beyond a shadow of our doubt, that we are a family formed by God.
We were given a sweet surprise upon arriving in Asheville in the beginning of February when we found out that we were expecting a baby! A baby girl will join our family in October 2014, which will give us three little ones under three!
Unexpected and crazy and only God's timing.