April God Story – Learning to Love the Bio Mom

By: Jenny Davis, Foster Mom through The CALL in Pulaski County

God had put a desire in my heart to minister to orphans since I was a child because my dad was orphaned at age 2.  However, I didn’t know what that ministry would look like.  Then, God started moving my heart to foster children.  It seemed like several Sundays in a row our church focused on caring for orphans! I was like, “Okay, God, I get it.” The Sunday that it finally hit me was Orphan Sunday. God made it very clear, so my husband and I surrendered our YES to God.

 

We chose The CALL because it is a Christian organization looking for Christian homes to love and disciple these little people. It went right along with what God was leading us to do. The CALL made the process to foster through the state look “doable” and not so scary and overwhelming.

 

Along this journey, I have had the opportunity to mentor the biological mother of one of the children in foster care in our home.  I never sought out to mentor. In fact during certification, I told my husband I wanted to strictly deal with the children and not have to deal with the parent. Well….God had other plans. I saw a mom that was broken just like me. She deserved all the respect anyone else did. In God’s eyes, “sin is sin”. It certainly wasn’t easy to make the choice to mentor this mom. God is the only way I’m capable of doing it. I have given her the “Jesus Calling” book, and at Christmas I gave her the “12 Step to Recovery” Bible.  I’ve met with her on several occasions mainly just encouraging her to not give up and to make the right decisions. One thing I learned through this is that these bio moms just need someone to listen to them without passing judgement on them. They know they’ve screwed up and don’t need to be preached at. These moms typically don’t have anyone to speak Truth into their lives, so they’re lost, hopeless, and have hit rock bottom. What better time in a person’s life to speak of a loving God who forgives you and loves you no matter what you’ve done!

 

God has absolutely blessed us during this journey! We have always tried to teach our girls to be in the world but not of it. We want them to understand that it takes guts to be different and stand out in a world that is focused on only ourselves! We’ve watched them love the babies that we’ve had whole heartedly. We’ve observed our teenagers sacrifice what they desire in order to help out with the babies we’ve had. As a family, we have been taught a lot from these little people. As hard as the journey of fostering can be, there’s also much joy that comes with being obedient to God.

The CALL in Pulaski County

The CALL in Pulaski County is where the model of The CALL was developed, in partnership with the Arkansas DHS Division of Children and Family Services, starting in 2006. Since that time, God has grown our efforts here through partnerships with dozens of area churches of varying denominations, to impact hundreds of children in foster care in our county each year. Hundreds of Christian foster and adoptive families have come forward to serve on the frontlines of caring for the abused and neglected children in our community. We continue to work toward the vision of “no waiting children” in Pulaski County, and instead to have waiting Christian foster and adoptive families ready to take them in!

Please find out how you can plug in by coming to one of our monthly CALL Informational Meetings!

The CALL in Pulaski County Staff:

Mary Carol PedersonMary Carol Pederson
Co-Founder/Pulaski County CALL Coordinator

Mary Carol is co-founder of The CALL and a former foster parent whom God called to increase awareness in the Christian community about the great number of children in our community who need foster or adoptive families and to mobilize Christians to answer that need. She is a passionate speaker on the Church’s call to care for children in the local foster care system and directs the operations of The CALL in Pulaski County.

Judi Booth

Judi Booth
Family Support Coordinator

Judi brings a lifetime of social work experience to her role with The CALL and is the primary contact for those who are interesting in pursuing foster care, adoption, or respite care through The CALL. She works closely with the state agency and walks our families through the paperwork and training process toward certification. She is available to answer questions and work through any issues families face.

 

10489735_493665097431339_7668061230256739000_nLisa Harper
Family Support Coordinator

Lisa has a degree in Social Work and experience counselling children in foster care and their families, so she has first-hand knowledge of how desperate these children want a family. Lisa will assist The CALL families through the State’s certification process to foster/adopt in Pulaski County, and offer continued support to families once they are opened. She is passionate about The CALL’s mission – to educate, equip and encourage the Christian community to provide a future and a hope to children in foster care in Arkansas.

 

TiffTiffany Davaultany Davault
Church Partnership Coordinator

Tiffany brings many years of serving children in foster care. She is an experienced foster mom, former children’s home house mom, former case manager for children in foster care, and has a Masters of Social Work degree from LSU. Tiffany’s primary role with The CALL is to partner with local churches to discover and mobilize foster and adoptive families. Tiffany also volunteers as a CALL PRIDE trainer for prospective foster and adoptive homes.

 

 

13668930_10153810397610835_6451899471570158773_oKristi Morse   

Event Coordinator/Administrative Specialist 

Kristi has years of experience working in event coordination and loves to use her passion for The CALL. She is responsible for planning major events for The CALL in Pulaski County, such as The Walk For The Waiting in May and The Annual Fall Banquet, plus handing many other details for The CALL. She is very warm and bubbly and is dedicated in building new relationships that support the ministry of The CALL.

 

God Story ~ The Brackett’s

(Lindsey, Josh, Lillian, Clara & Hannah)

We first heard about The CALL shortly after moving into our home over four years ago. Our neighbors, David and Caryl Watson, invited us over for dinner, and that night our lives were forever changed. We witnessed the love in their home, and everywhere we looked God was pulling us to this ministry. We didn’t feel that this was a calling, but rather one of the main reasons that God put us on this earth – saying no was a direct disobedience to God and just wasn’t an option. We have been beyond blessed for listening to God and following the purpose He has set forth for our lives.

When you are fostering there are times when you are on top of a mountain, like when your child pulls their first tooth, makes an A on their first spelling test, or is dropped off at your house for the first time.  You are there to experience it with them and love them in person while you can, and remotely when you can’t.  Does it hurt when they leave?  Of course…..if it didn’t you aren’t doing it right.  These children need every ounce of love you can give them and more.  When they return home, or are transferred, or whatever other circumstances arise that you don’t understand, you will experience a hurt like you have never experienced before…but, you will know that you have made a huge impact in their lives.  That is what it is about – unconditional love through the ups and downs.

It is an emotional rollercoaster, but it has been amazing to watch God work.  There is a lot of uncertainty, but one thing is absolutely certain:  the smile on their faces when you pick them up from school, the times you tuck them in at night and they kiss you and say, “I love you”, the times when they truly trust you and can tell that you will never do anything to hurt them.  Those times make all of the uncertainty, turmoil, and heartache worth it!

When the girls were placed in our home, we were fostering a little boy that was waiting to go back home.  We were not approved for 4, so we could only take the twins until our foster child went home.  The Watsons opened up their home and fostered our youngest for 6 weeks until we could have all of the girls together.  We have seen God take three hurt and scared little girls with very broken lives and build a new family full of hopes and dreams.  Nothing can replace the day that the judge said, “Congratulations, you are the proud parents of 3 beautiful angels!”

In foster care and adoption, if you just pause and look, you will see God working miracles every day.  God will rain showers of blessing on you, if you let Him.

January God Story ~ The Bradshaw’s

The Bradshaw's

 

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.”

4 CALL Malls providing free, consignment-quality clothing and baby items to children in foster care!

There are 4 CALL Malls with free, consignment-quality clothing and baby items available to all foster parents in Pulaski County:

CALL Mall Downtown at Central Church of Christ
823 W. 6th Street ~ Little Rock, AR
At the corner of 6th and Izard.

Phone: (501) 352-2441
Contact: Tammy Beck, Coordinator By appointment

Sherwood CALL Mall

Victory Missionary Baptist Church
10000 Brockington Road, Sherwood ~ Sherwood, AR 72120

Contact Carolyn Hanks at 501-425-7194 or email: bchanks@netzero.net / Joanna Bearden at 501-626- 9337 or email: jojomomof3@mac.com
Open 1st & 3rd Saturday of every month from 10 a.m. to noon, and every Friday from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Or by appointment in case of emergency.

CALL Mall at First Baptist — Maumelle
100 Valencia Drive ~ Maumelle, AR 72113

Open 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.; and by appointment until 9:00 p.m. Contact: Jane Darnell, janedarnell1@gmail.com, or 501-658-9129
Open 2nd & 4th Saturday of every month 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
*Emergency calls accepted up until 9:00 p.m.
Entrance is off Millwood. MALL is located in two story building. Doorway is at an angle to the fire station.

CALL Mall at Markham Street Baptist
9701 West Markham ~ Little Rock, AR

The entrance door is the one closest to Chip’s Barbeque.  Park at the curb by the church office entrance.
Contact: Chrissy DeClue, Coordinator (918) 521-1270
Open 1st and 3rd Saturdays from 2pm to 4 pm.

Feel free to donate during open hours consignment-quality clothing — birth through teens as well as baby items (strollers, cribs, portable cribs, high chairs, diapers, etc). Shoes are also needed!

Pulaski contact info

The CALL
3800 North Rodney Parham, Suite 301
Little Rock, AR 72212

phone: 501-823-0607

email: pulaskicounty@thecallinarkansas.org

Mary Carol Pederson, County Coordinator