Ladies and Gentleman of Independence County, The CALL is excited to announce that we have some wonderful new Leadership Team Members for The CALL in Independence County! God has truly blessed us with some strong individuals to lead the effort of achieving our mission in Independence County. You will be hearing more about these individuals in the near future, but allow me to introduce them to you now!
County Coordinator – Rodney Stroud
Rodney is a long time resident of Batesville and member of Compass Church. He has coached many youth in town and is now volunteering his time to help mobilize the churches in Independence County to help care for foster children, foster and bio families. We are excited to see his passion for this work make a difference in foster care in Independence County!
Training Coordinator – Brandy Webb
Brandy is a teacher and a foster/adoptive mom. She and her husband were trained by The CALL in another county and they have adopted two precious girls through the foster care system. Her experience and excitement about the opportunities in Independence County are contagious! At this time, Brandy has 3 trainers on her team: Cassie Black, Haelea Osborn and herself!
Communications and Database Coordinator – Haelea Osborn
Haelea is the youngest member of our team but she is a powerhouse! She is the Communications Coordinator and the Database Coordinator. In her spare time, she trains show horses and helps her husband run a working farm! She also shares her talent with the school system in the after school program and leads the 4H Program at Midland Schools.
Family Support Coordinator – Robbie Moore
Robbie has been on the team for several years. She and her husband have fostered and adopted through the foster care system. She is also a teacher at Midland Schools. Robbie’s knowledge of the system is very beneficial to The CALL in Independence county.
CALL Mall Coordinator – Freda Sanders
Freda is a bright light on our team. She beams with the love for children. Freda and her husband have a quiver full of children: biological, adopted and foster. She also has grandchildren! Not only is Freda excited about getting a CALL Mall up and running to support our families, she also serves as an officer on the Foster Parent Association for independence County.
Financial Coordinator – Ronald Richardson
By day you know Ronald from Community Bank. Now, he lends his financial expertise to The CALL in Independence county. We are blessed to have him championing for children on our team!
Volunteer Coordinator – Kelsie Gillihan
Kelsie is a member at West Baptist and a physical education teacher in the Batesville school system. She and her husband are expecting their first child. Kelsie has a passion to help all children, especially children from hard places. If you or the group you represent want to volunteer, contact Kelsie and she will get you busy working for The CALL!
Prayer Team Coordinator – Mychelle Spivey
Mychelle is the new interim assistant principal at Eagle Mountain Elementary. She has joyfully joined the team in order to gather those serious about praying for the needs of children and families associated with The CALL. We are thrilled to have her leading this team as we cast all our care on Him
Please keep this team in your prayers! Stay tuned to this page for all updates in the coming year!
The CALL in Independence County is excited to announce our new P.R.I.D.E. Trainer, Cassie Black. You may ask the question, “What is a P.R.I.D.E. Trainer?” They train families with the required curriculum to be opened as a foster or adoptive home. We asked Cassie some questions about her journey with The CALL. Please read her story.
“My story is a little different than most. I felt the Lord leading me to adoption in 2007 but I was fresh out of college, teaching middle school music and I thought my life would just end-up with adoption. I would get married, have some children and, somewhere down the road, I would adopt. So, I put that calling on the back burner while I waited for a husband.” Cassie laughed and continued, “A few husband-less years later, I started reading Kisses from Katie (a blog about a young woman who moved to Uganda and ended up adopting 12 girls who needed a mother and home) and I felt the Lord pushing me toward adoption regardless of my relationship status. I kept saying no, I can’t be a mother by myself and that was so out of left field for me to even consider. In the fall of 2012 I could no longer sleep through the night without this feeling of urgency. I needed to get up and do something. I just didn’t know what it was.” Cassie said she started waking up and praying, asking God to show her why she was feeling this way. He kept reminding her of the 140 million kids who didn’t have a family. She recalls, “There was a song by Brooke Frasier that has the line, “now that I have seen, I am responsible. Faith without deeds is dead” and that was it. After all this time, I finally said yes to whatever the Lord had for me in the way of children.” At the family gathering for Christmas 2012, she told her family that she said “yes” to the Lord about adoption. She had no idea how that would flesh-out, but she had to say yes. She met with The CALL County Coordinator at the time and learned she could adopt as a single parent (that was the first question) but that she might be interested in the foster care side of things. Information is POWER. She had no idea there were so many children in our own county. Many children that she taught in school were in foster care. When she heard the “kids in foster care vs. available beds” she was shocked. Cassie said, “My number one fear was that I would get “attached” and the child would return home and I would be heartbroken.” Cassie remembers as she was sitting at the coordinator’s table the Lord gave her this thought:
What is more difficult: for me to be heartbroken or for kids to not be in a loving home where they may hear about Jesus for the first and/or only time in their lives?
So again, she said yes. She started the process in February with CPR classes and The Call PRIDE training classes. She was ready to open in June and the “call” never came. She waited all summer. Cassie couldn’t understand why her home wasn’t opening. She emailed the county coordinator the first week in August to express her concern and disappointment. Since this was very odd to not be open yet. She promised to check on it, but that she was convinced the Lord was at work placing the kids that needed to be in Cassie’s home. Cassie remembers her saying “maybe they aren’t even born yet, you never know.” Cassie was encouraged and scared because, a NEWBORN? She thought, “No, ma’am…did you know I am single and a teacher?”
Fast forward to September 16th, the lady in charge of opening homes met Cassie during her lunch break to walk through her house and assured her that she would be keyed into the system first thing the following morning. Little did she know that on the afternoon of September 18th, my daughter would be born. God’s timing is amazing! DHS called on September 19th and shared there were TWO kids that need a home that day: a 15month old little boy and his one-day-old sister. She thought TWO KIDS? NO. WAY. She had never even considered having two kids in her home much less two babies! The DHS worker asked if she could only take one, which one would she choose? What an unfair question! Her heartbeat was matching the only word pounding in my brain, BOTH. She said, “I will take them both. “So, it was all hands on deck, getting another crib/bassinet, figuring out daycare. She was so blessed to have access to a daycare that would take her precious four-day-old. She got busy buying enough diapers to outfit a daycare and all those little details in just a few hours. At 3:30 that afternoon she went to Wal-Mart and picked up her chubby blonde-haired, blue eyed boy who promptly pulled out a chunk of her hair. She said, out loud, “what am I DOING?” We made it through the night and the next day around noon, she went to the NICU and picked up the most precious tiny baby. She said such a wave of peace that washed over her. She said, “The Lord provided ALL of our needs, and still is, when I thought I couldn’t do it anymore.”
We asked if she had any connection with the biological parents of her children. She said, “My children’s bio-parents only came to a few (less than 5) visits over the course of the next few months and parental rights were terminated very quickly due to a host of things. I am so thankful for my children, but I still grieve for their parents, I am sad that they will never know what wonderful kids the Lord allowed them to bring into the world. Separating a mother from her kids is unimaginable.”
On Cassie’s birthday she got the okay to start picking out new names. The adoption date was being set. So, she showed up to her party with a little gift of her own: two precious babies wearing shirts with the names Knox Aaron and Nora Lucille, their new names!
Cassie says, “Knox and Nora Lu are gifts from the Lord. I have no doubt in my mind that I was created to be their mother. I am thankful for The CALL for being so supportive and such an incredible resource throughout our journey. My story is so, so unique because foster care isn’t there for kids to be adopted, it is there to help families be able to be reunited. Very rarely to do things turn out the way they turned out for us.”
Cassie took a year off from fostering so they could just relax and be a family. In 2015, her home opened back up. She had 7 kiddos in and out as temporary placement and thinks of each one of them often. She says, “I felt the Lord was closing the door on foster care for now, so I am looking for opportunities to support The CALL and to help train/support other families in their own journey. Her children are now 4 & 5.
When asked what she would say to those who are thinking about adoption she said, “If you’re thinking about it, the Lord already has plans for you to be involved in the process. There are so many ways to be involved and there are too many children in care for Christian’s to be on the fence about something that is so clear in the Word. It is hard, unimaginably hard, but we are not called to live easy lives and the Lord will equip you with everything you need. I would encourage anyone thinking about adopting to spend some time with families who have been through the process and to also speak with their local CALL coordinator to get some inside information and a glimpse into the process. EVERY PART was a calling from God. If it had not been for my relationship with the Lord, I probably wouldn’t have even considered it.” We had one final question for Cassie. How did The CALL assist you in your adoption journey? She replied, “The CALL was amazing. To go through the process with like-minded people was invaluable.”
In addition, Cassie shared that her sister and her husband have also adopted 2 kids through foster care. She exclaimed, “It’s so cool that the Lord just had this for our family! The cousins will have more in common than being family, they will be best friends! Also, we all moved to Batesville at the same time and live 9 houses away, on the same street!”
If Cassie’s story leaves you wanting to know more about fostering, adopting or volunteering, please join us Tuesday, April 10, at Compass Church.
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.