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January God Story — The Bradshaws

Sarah and Brad Bradshaw said they didn’t want to “do” foster care and they didn’t want to “do“ adoption, but now say it has been the GREATEST blessing for their family.

The Bradshaws had been working with a private adoption agency and foster care was mentioned, so a simple Google search led them to The CALL’s website.  Sarah says, “I remember listening to Mary Carol (The CALL Pulaski County Coordinator) speak at the Info Meeting and simultaneously arguing with God. ‘Please don’t make us do THIS.

Please don’t ask us to bring all of that baggage and mess into our home…with our children.’ God answered those pleas as only He can. ‘Sarah, first of all, they are not YOUR children, they’re Mine. And secondly, why are ‘your’ children any more important than the rest of My children?’ As I began to sob in the meeting, I knew that we would not be able to unhear or unsee anything that night.”

As they began the process to become foster parents, Sarah shares that The CALL “streamlined the process of certification and made things flow much more efficiently. They were there to answer questions, provide materials, and aid us in finding CPR trainings and support groups. It wasn’t until we received our first placement that the CALL MALL served as an invaluable resource.”

When asked about how they have seen God through serving as foster and adoptive parents, Sarah says that there have been so many ways God has shown that He is faithful to journey every step with them and assures them of His provision. From a friend offering a twin box spring and crib before they even mentioned needing those exact two items, to the days when the weight of their journey is overwhelming, and an encouraging card will come in the mail, when a new child is arriving to their home and the last thing they’ve had time to think about is dinner, and a pizza is delivered. Their most significant “God Wink” involves a precious 7 year old living in their home. After 13 months of loving and caring for this sweet girl, they let her go to be reunited with a sibling. Unfortunately, the placement did not work out, and she returned to their home. That first night she was home, Sarah remembers feeling like her sheep had returned. She shares, “God gently nudged my heart and whispered, ‘I brought her to you once, and you let her go. I’m bringing her home to you once again.’ A week later, we committed to being her home forever.”

“God’s plans for our family were nothing that we had in mind. They were far better.   As our journey is far from over, we are discovering daily that when we delight in Him, He will give us the desires of our heart. Desires we never knew we had.”

God Story — The James Family

God had put the desire to adopt in Amy early on in life.  When Amy and I married, it became contagious. We saw a promotional video from The CALL at our church, Fellowship North, in the summer of 2007 and were very moved and inspired.  At that time, we had a 1 year old son Eli and were expecting a new baby, Lucy, in just a few weeks.  It did not quite seem like the right time to jump into fostering and adoption.  Another CALL promotional video was played at church a little over a year later — we were at the informational meeting the following Monday.  The adventure had begun!

When we signed up to start fostering with 2 small children already, we weren’t really considering kids with special needs.  Ellie, our now adopted 6 year old, came to us as a foster placement at 2 days old.  Amy started taking her to the weekly visits with Ellie’s biological parents and met Ellie’s 2 year old sister, Olivia, who has Down Syndrome and was in a separate foster home.  I remember Amy telling me that she felt like we needed to pray for Olivia.  She didn’t know why, but she felt very inspired to pray for her.

“I remember Amy telling me that…we needed to pray for Olivia.”

A few weeks later, our case worker called us to say that Olivia’s foster home was going to stop fostering.  She asked if we would consider taking her as a foster placement. If Olivia had been just an unknown child with special needs, we may have easily looked at our situation and said adding another child, one with Down Syndrome, would be too much.  If Amy had not already been moved to pray for her without knowing why, we may have said that this just couldn’t work.  God cared for Olivia enough to prepare a place for her gently and slowly in our home.  He worked out the details.  Although there have been challenges and difficult times, it is such a blessing to have Olivia as a daughter.  She has taught us so much and expanded our perspective.

This has been an adventure.  We could have strived to become financially wealthy.  We could have strived to be popular.  We could have strived to be well traveled, climb mountains, write books, or have a well groomed yard (sorry neighbors, it just may never happen).  We chose the adventure of reaching out to kids in need; to building character and expanded perspective in our family.  And it has been a better adventure than we could have imagined.

James family on trampoline

One of the treasures of fostering has been how it has expanded our perspective.  One example of this occurred when we accidentally started to get to know the biological parents to our foster children.  It is so easy to look from the outside and be in shock and awe at how parents can do things that cause their children to be taken by the state.  “How could parents do that?”  “What horrible people.”  We thought many things.  By accidentally getting to know these parents and finding out about their lives, we saw a vicious cycle of victims.  Our new perspective has allowed us to see biological parents of foster children as valuable children of God.

Another benefit of fostering is it strengthens character.  Of course, it isn’t difficult to see how choosing to take on the hardship of caring for hurting children can build the character of foster parents.  However, it was an unexpected bonus to see how this adventure has strengthened the character of our children, both biological and adopted.

“The Walk for the Waiting is an amazing outlet and expression of our adventure.”

The Walk for the Waiting is an amazing outlet and expression of our adventure.  The fact that it supports The CALL, Project Zero, and Immerse Arkansas makes it easy to go all in, raising awareness and funds.  These three organizations support kids waiting for families at all ages and various situations.

We love the fact that we can get our kids involved.  That they can participate; that they now say “No More Waiting” almost every time a video camera is pointed in their direction; and that we can, as a family, do things to show God’s heart for the orphan makes the Walk for the Waiting our favorite event of the year.

Here are a few videos where our kids are getting involved:  

Join us for this year’s Walk for the Waiting — and bring the family!