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!

In 2014, God did amazing things right here in Pulaski County!

On behalf of our board and staff, and the children, I want to thank you for your financial support providing Christian families for kids who need one. We are very grateful for your willingness to partner with us in our efforts toward “no waiting children”!

To recap the incredible success of 2014, God did amazing things right here in Pulaski County!

  • 84 local churches of various Christian denominations and ethnicity developed new or enhanced partnerships with The CALL in Pulaski County to mobilize their church on behalf of the local “orphans” in the foster system.
  • 209 families from churches attended a CALL Info Meeting last year to hear more about ways to help children in the foster system.
  • 118 of those families began the process to foster or adopt.
  • 65 new Christian foster and adoptive families were approved and open to welcome in children and teens in crisis who need a family
  • 113 open and available foster families are serving who were recruited, trained, and supported through The CALL and partner churches! That is more than ½ of the total available foster families in our county!
  • Plus, 37 children and teens experienced the finalization of their adoption into Christian CALL-recruited forever families this year.
  • In just the past 7 years since The CALL in Pulaski County began, our records show that we have been a part of 182 children and teens adopted locally into Christian forever families — and those are just the ones we know about! Plus, over a thousand have been welcomed into these families through foster care!

This brings tears to my eyes. God is on the move!

However, we must always remember that each of these numbers is a life that has been given a future and a hope. A child or teen who has been shown the unconditional love of our Heavenly Father!

Here is just one of the God stories of a teenager who was adopted locally this year, a God story that your investment has made happen…

My name is Corbin Taylor (17 years old). I got put into foster care when I was 13. I’ve seen a lot of kids age out of the foster care system. Most of them who don’t have a home to go to, they go to friends’ houses to stay, or they just stay on the streets, and never actually have a home. Some of them get put into jail. I didn’t want that to be me.

I met (my adoptive parents) at a Christmas party. We just talked about what we liked and what we did for fun. I found out that I was going to be adopted by them one day at school. Their DHS worker came to get me from school. I was really excited that they were going to adopt me because that’s who I wanted to be with. It just made me happy and joyful. Joy that I haven’t had in the years that I’ve been in care. I’ve been in group homes most of the time that I’ve been in foster care. So, coming into a home and having my own bedroom, just having a family, it was very weird for me at first. I can actually just be a teenager and don’t have to worry about having (too) much responsibility. I have responsibilities, but not like I did when I was in care. To call them Mom and Dad is very normal now. I feel very comfortable saying that. Saying I love you is kind of in the middle – sometimes it’s hard to say it and other times I feel good about it.

The one thing that has surprised me is the support that we have gotten from family and friends and people from our church that just came forward and supported us from the very beginning through now. It was just really shocking to me about how many people prayed for us, and prayed for me to be a part of this family.

I had challenges when I first came here, and we’re still working through them. But it can be worked out. I am really excited to be a part of this family. This is my forever family now.

Thank you for being a part of allowing children and teens to be welcomed into Christian foster and adoptive families.

I am available at any time to answer your questions, so please do not hesitate to call or email me. We greatly appreciate your partnership in this ministry and look forward to what God will do through The CALL in the year to come!

Until no child is waiting,
Mary Carol Pederson signature