Forever Grateful: The Nickersons

“Fostering/adopting has been something that has been on both mine and Tony’s heart, since before we got married six years ago. Its just something we are called to do. Tony began mentoring Hosia in April 2018 as a way of impacting the life of a child in foster care, while he finished grad school. We knew the plan was to buy a house and settle down after he graduated, so mentoring seemed like the best way to way to make a difference in the meantime. I began accompanying Tony on his outings with Hosia in June 2018. I remember sitting in a McDonald’s restaurant early on in our relationship being blown away by his resiliency, openness, and humor. It was apparent early on that he really was a sweet kid with a big heart for other people. It broke my heart watching him bounce from group home to group, then foster home to foster home.

Around September or October 2018, God began to place in my heart the desire to foster Hosia. I mustered up the courage to tell Tony how I was feeling and he agreed that this is something he felt we should do. Unbeknownst to us, at this same time, Hosia had been placed in a pre-adoptive placement. Despite the confusion and initial sadness, we put our feelings aside and vowed to stay involved in Hosia’s life if his pre-adoptive mom was okay with it. We continued to take Hosia out once or twice a month and supported his pre-adoptive mom in any way we could.
In January 2019, Hosia and his pre-adoptive mom decided that they should not go through with the adoption and Hosia wound up in yet another foster home. At this time, I found myself praying for Hosia pretty much daily and with far more fervor than I had in the previous months.

As I prayed and tried to work out my own feelings of fear, uncertainty, and pain of not knowing where Hosia would rest his head at night, as each time he was moved it would often take us a week to find out where he landed, my love for him grew greater and greater each day. During a small group sharing time at church in early February, I was talking through all these feelings with a group of ladies and “accidentally” called Hosia my child. As I found myself trying to retract that statement, God spoke through one of the women in the group as she said, “No. You are right. He is your child. He is your son.” I didn’t know what to do with that at first. My husband and are are 25. Hosia is 15. How would that work? Would DHS even let us parent a child at that age difference. I was so afraid, but my love and fight for Hosia was so much stronger.

During Spring break of this year, Hosia got moved three to four times in one week. I couldn’t take it any more and luckily his caseworker at the time couldn’t either. She knew we had been trying to get Hosia placed with us for months and appealed to her area supervisor to get him placed with us, even though we were not an open foster home yet. Hosia moved in at the start of April as a fictive kinship placement and it’s as if he knew he was finally home. He embraced his life with us and claimed our dogs as his own. We have resolved ourselves to eating fried chicken at least four meals a week, since it is the only real food Hosia will eat. He calls us mom and dad and knows that we will stop at nothing to see him succeed and know that he is safe and loved. Hosia’s adoption was finalized on October 24 (which happens to be my birthday) and I could finally rest easy knowing that no one was going to take this sweet boy away from me and that I knew he finally had a safe place to lay his head where he can finally begin to heal from his past.

In closing, this last year and a has been a whirlwind of emotions, but I would not change it for the world. Only God could have created a family so beautiful and I am eternally grateful. My faith has grown exponentially throughout this process and my trust in him has never been stronger. I am so blessed that God chose me, irregardless of how young and unqualified I felt, to be Hosia’s mom. I love him as if I had given birth to him and known him his whole life. I am forever grateful for the family God has given me” -Haley

GHS Receives Sweet Donation

We could absolutely not be more honored recipients of a donation from our precious friends at the I ❤️ LK Memorial Fund. I ❤️ LK has been a faithful partner of The CALL from the very beginning, whether in funding, providing volunteers, or praying for our mission. Because we receive NO state funding and run purely on donations, this monetary donation is the fuel we need to continue to educate and equip families in their foster/adoptive care journeys (This amount will provide the required annual continued education hours for 6 foster or adoptive families). Lila Kate showed the extravagant love of Christ, the love that we pray all kids in foster care can experience through the Christian community and in a family. We were so blessed to know her. Truly humbling to be in the presence of so many amazing other nonprofits that serve children & families yesterday. We ❤️ LK!

CALL Mall needs

”We started the CALL Mall at Central in a closet over 10 years ago in an effort to be more like the early church and share with those in need. It has been such a huge blessing to see people give what they can and and then to see others benefit greatly from that gift. About 3 years ago, our CALL Mall burned to the ground, and it seemed such a daunting task to start it up again. But God blesses us with volunteers and a large enough space to make our CALL Mall better than its ever been before, and more accessible to those who need it. God has blessed us with a great opportunity and we are so thankful for it!” -Tammy Beck one of our CALL Mall coordinators

 

Our CALL Malls are always in need of donations and helping hands. This is such a huge resource for our families whenever they get placements. Here is a list of things that are the biggest need right now and information on where to donate!

  • Boys Shirts (Long sleeve and warm for winter!) – Size 5-8
  • Everyday/tennis shoes boy and girls size youth 1-6Items that need to be new. Please no used items
  • Underwear, panties, socks, pajamas, diapers, wipes, pull-ups, toothbrushes, toothpaste, hairbrushes, soap.
  • And volunteers to come help sort and organize!!!

 

 

The CALL Support Center

pictureA year ago, this coming November, we met with representatives from Mercy Hospital to discuss the potential use of one of their properties. Right across from Central Mall in a quite, tree lined neighborhood, they owned three houses. They were originally kept for visiting doctors to stay in but one property wasn’t in use any longer. They affectionately called this house on Ellsworth Road, the Baggot Street House. Named after the original property in Dublin, Ireland which was a refuge for distressed women and which later became the Convent of Mercy.

They told us how, in the 1800’s, Catherine McAuley was gifted the property and began to use it to care for the poor in southeast Dublin. She taught disadvantaged children, nursed the sick and housed needy women in her community. The Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy grew out of Catherine’s work and in the 1980’s interest in the original house increased and the Sisters of Mercy began an international restoration project. Today, Catherine’s spirit lives on in The CALL Support Center, or as our friends from Mercy call it, the Baggot Street House, right here in Ft Smith.

Mercy wanted to continue Catherine’s original work of providing for the disadvantaged. They reached out to The CALL because they knew we were already working with some of the most disadvantaged in our community, children and youth in foster care. They wanted to provide a a clean and safe place for DHS to conduct visitations between children and their families. A collaboration between Mercy, DHS and The CALL was born, that would allow us to have our office space and The CALL Mall in one location while we would provide upkeep and furnish the house for visits.

We moved in last November and began to schedule visits in January of 2019. So far, we have had over 100 visits! The response we get from the

visiting families is that they are happy to have a space that feels like home. They come in, hang out in the backyard, make a cup of coffee and even cook breakfast while they visit with their children. Some children come to visit with their biological families and they come with their foster family to get diapers or frozen meals from The CALL Mall. This helps the children feel comfortable and secure, in a familiar place.

Our partners at DHS also enjoy the Support Center, Michelle Tenny, PA said,

“Before places like The Call, we were having visits at the DHS office, fast food restaurants, and parks. These places did not allow for quality family time. Parents are more comfortable and prefer The Call. I’ve noticed they are more confident with their parenting skills while in a home setting and have more opportunities for learning parenting skills. I’ve also noticed kids are more comfortable. In short, The Call is a wonderful place and has helped this community enormously. I know that I am extremely grateful for this home and the wonderful ladies that work there.”

The CALL Support Center also provides a way for churches, individuals and businesses to directly impact their community. By volunteering or donating you can directly be a part of what The CALL, Mercy and DHS are doing to help disadvantaged children, youth and families in our community. The work of The CALL is 100% privately funded and largely done through volunteers. If you would like to know more about what we do, I encourage you to attend our 7th Annual Restoring Hope Fundraiser Banquet on October 3rd.

For registration information contact crawfordsebastian@thecallinarkansas.org