We Need More Homes for Teenagers!

Foster family
Baxter County

In Feb of 2017 we were called about taking a teen girl placement.

At the time my daughters 12 and 15 and I had no plan on adding a teenager to the mix.  We had taken infants to 5 year olds and that worked for our family.

We had just taken a 5 year old, and then 2 days later a 2 day old. So when they called me a week later about 16 year old girl, I said no.  They asked if I would just meet her.

We met at Wendys and ordered food. She came across as a very angry girl. But something just told me to take a chance with her, and I am so glad I did.

It started out slow, but as we had our family evening dinners, she became a part of our family.  We went to church together on Wednesdays and Sundays. We went on outings together. She went on 3 vacations with us, including visiting family.  One to Alaska, also to Maryland and Washington DC and then also to Kentucky and the beach in North Carolina.

I was there for when her boyfriend of over 2 years, broke up with her (I knew she would be better without him). She got her first job, started saving money, got her permit, was able to buy a car and then got her driver’s license.

When she came to us, she was failing 2 classes and the rest were D’s and C’s. By the time she left, she had 2 A’s and Bs and Cs. Not only was it rewarding, but I gained another daughter.  She has not seen her father since she was 5, and he is incarcerated.  Her mom moved to California a few months after she moved in our home. We were her family.

She was with us 1 month shy of 2 years.  She had turned 18, and a friend asked her to move in with her. Against my better judgement she did. but soon realized on her own that it was not a good decision, so she moved out and got her own apartment.  She went on to graduate high school. She has been promoted on her job, and I am very proud of the young lady she has become.

I wonder what all of our lives would have been like, if our paths had not crossed. If we had not said yes, she was facing going to a group home hours away.  Would she have excelled???

I encourage all foster families to consider giving teens a chance. We really have the best chance of impacting the next generation, when we say yes.

Hoopin’ for The CALL

This past Saturday, June 29th, The CALL held it’s first annual 3-on-3 basketball tournament at East Side Baptist Church. We had 15 teams sign up. Congrats to the four teams who won their age groups! We also had a three point contest which was a ton of fun. I (Sandy) made it to the finals in the three point contest and I appreciated all the shock on the teenagers faces when I made 10 three pointers in my first minute. Now that was a lot of fun!

We would like to thank East Side Baptist Church for allowing us to use their facilities. We would also like to thank all of the teams for participating. Lastly, we would like to thank all the volunteers for helping us out including the referees and concessions. We would not be able to serve the foster and adoptive families in our community if it was not for how generous our amazing community is.

Hope and a future

Closeup of girl's face, showing eye, nose and hair in profile

With over 5,000 children in foster care and less than 2,000 foster homes, Arkansas is in a crisis. Since 2014, the number of children in foster care has steadily increased. The State of Arkansas is scratching its head, trying to figure out what to do about the problem.

James 1:27 states, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.”

Since 2007, The CALL has gone into churches to challenge people to do one of two things: Foster or support those who are able to foster. Little by little, The CALL breaks down the barriers that have kept people from fostering for so long. Over the past 10 years, The CALL has answered the hard questions for numerous families. Once those questions were answered, many families were ready to start the foster care/adoption process.

The Bible tells us the church is the answer, so that is where The CALL starts. We go into churches and host recruitments. We share our hearts and the need for foster families and challenge people to support foster families. Then, it is up to the churches. We host an informational meeting for interested couples to hear more about becoming a foster or adoption family.

Potential families have to complete a massive amount of paperwork, 30 hours of training, CPR, and more in order to open up as a foster or adoption home. Without The CALL, these families would be left to navigate the process by themselves. Many families who do this on their own quit or take longer to open because of the lack of support. The CALL guides families through this process, answering any questions and helping iron out wrinkles.

Once a foster family is open, The CALL becomes a part of their village. The CALL Mall helps families with clothes, baby furniture, diapers, and other necessities at no cost. The CALL stays in touch with these families to ensure they have what they need physically, emotionally, and spiritually to be great foster parents.

In the past 10 years, The CALL has helped open over 1,161 foster homes and 369 adoption homes. Over 501 children have been adopted by families supported by The CALL.

When you become a foster parent or volunteer with The CALL or donate to The CALL, you are making a difference locally. You can see the fruits of your labor because the foster children you pour your life into will grow up to be contributing members of your community.
There is a great need for foster families, but we understand that not every is called or able to foster. Even if you cannot foster, there’s still something you can do. If it takes a village to raise a family, it takes an entire church to support a foster family. The CALL needs people willing to donate their time, talent, and resources to help us eliminate the crisis in Arkansas. Do you have an extra hour a week? Can you help out a few hours a month or maybe more? If so, check out the volunteer page to find out where you can get plugged in. The CALL has a place for you.

Can’t foster or volunteer? Donate. The CALL is a non-profit organization and we cannot do anything to support these families without the financial support of generous individuals and churches.

We are not all meant to do the same thing, but we are all supposed to do something.

Rewiring a house to bring children home

Pulling new wiringGod works in amazing ways. One recent way was through a local electrician and several friends from local churches. The CALL in Baxter County was made aware from a DCFS Case Worker of a family that needed some major rewiring of their home in order for their children to return home from foster care.

Installing new power conduitThe family was very discouraged because they were told it was a significant problem and would cost well above anything they would be able to pay. One of our respite families happened to see the post on our FB page about the need and felt passionate about making it happen. Kaytie Kelley and her husband, Ryan, recruited Josh Thompson, with Thompson Electric, Wirt McKee, Eric Rushing, and Russell Tucker and they got the entire job DONE for FREE for the family. Our local Home Depot was amazing and donated some of the supplies as well! Not only was physical light brought to this biological families home but also the team was able to pray over the family as well and bring the most important light of all our Savior Jesus Christ. We received a thank you note from the biological family with precious words of their thanks.

Working to restore families can happen in many forms. God can and does use people and many situations to bring glory to Him. We are thankful The CALL in Baxter County was able to help facilitate and witness this amazing work He did through His people.