The journey that led me to adopt my son, Jojo, in June of 2013 actually began with foster care. Not long after I brought Jojo home from Texas, I felt the Lord nudging me to finish my foster care licensing....just in case.
Almost exactly a year after Jojo was born, I felt like the time was right to get my license and be ready just in case a baby like Jojo ever needed a family. Jojo has Down syndrome, and babies with special needs are often abandoned at the hospital, and it is hard to find foster families who are able take them. I wanted to be available to take the hard-to-place kids with special needs.....but not to be a "normal foster parent" and take in "typical kids."
I turned in the final piece of paperwork on a Friday in July, assuming that I would sit back and wait until I was needed. I sat back and waited .....until Monday when I got the call for Baby Zee!
A statewide email had gone out (meaning the county the baby came from could find no one to take him) about a six month old baby who was born with Down syndrome but who also had a "whole host of other medical issues." My social worker immediately thought of me. The list of his needs was overwhelming as I talked to her on the phone and tried to scribble down as many of his diagnosis as I could (on a trach, floppy airway, hearing issues, problem with his spleen, complicated heart defect, terrible diaper rash - those are the ones I can pronounce), so I could figure out what they actually meant later. But I knew then that the sick child she was describing over the phone was very different from the real child in real life. I said I needed to meet him.
As I held him for the first time, he was no longer a list of medical conditions. He was no longer a diagnosis. He was a beautiful child of God in need of someone who could care for him when his family could not. I told the room full of social workers, doctors, and nurses that I was in. I was on board to do whatever necessary to bond with this sweet boy and do the training required to bring him home.
In the meantime, I got a call from DHR about two other kids, ages 5 and 9 who needed a safe place to stay just for a week. Knowing that Baby Zee wouldn’t be able to come home that soon, I said yes. Of course. I can do anything for a week! That was over two months ago, and they are still with us!
About a month after meeting “Baby Zee,” I got a phone call that he wasn’t doing well and had actually coded. I rushed to the hospital to find out that he would need heart surgery within the next couple of weeks in order to survive.
In order for me to be able to be at the hospital with Baby Zee for a couple of days, I had to have a whole army of people to step in and take care of my 3 kids plus our 2 foster friends. This was no small task. That is where I was introduced to the Brook Hill’s WRAP ministry! Hallelujah!
Multiple people called and prayed with me. I received encouragement from people I had never met. Not to mention….FOOD! A sweet lady came to my house with 5 freezer meals, 1 ready to eat meal, cupcakes, AND breakfast stuff! You just can’t even fathom how much pressure that took off of me to be able to focus on the baby and his surgery without having to be home at a certain time to make sure dinner was ready.
God doesn’t call us all to adopt or foster, but He does command us all to care for the orphan. This is a wonderful ministry and an amazing way to be the hands and feet of Jesus to people who so desperately need your support!
Our first Substitute Caregiver Training will be Saturday, October 25, from 8:30am-noon at the Brook Hills in Modulars 1, 14, 15, 16, & 17. Click here for more information and to register.
If you would like to find out more about WRAP please contact one of the following WRAP Team members:
Team Leader – Jeannette Thompson
W and P Coordinator – Kathy Bley R Coordinator – Susan Nolin A Coordinator – Caroline Campbell