Empty nesters once, now a full house. The Tharretts.

When their two kids left their home, Wayne and Sandi Tharrett felt like they still had a lot of parenting left in them, they knew there were many kids in need of love and stability; and they were willing and determined to offer that to these kids. As empty nesters in Columbus, MS and with a lot of love in their hearts, in 2014 they decided they would start their fostering journey.

A year later they moved to Arkansas and they transferred their license. They now live in Union County as foster and adoptive parents. “We‘ve had all ages of kids come to our home and each child has left their mark and changed our life in one way or another”-says Sandi. Fostering has allowed them to see kids in a different light, every child has a story and they are always different.

After two years of fostering, they adopted a beautiful and talented 14yr old girl. That same year, the boy they were fostering became available for adoption and they adopted this handsome 8yr old boy. Now their home is full again.

Sandi explains that The Call and a group of foster parents in the area have been a lot of support for them; they are a phone call or message away, always willing to help.

The Tharretts want to let everyone that is considering fostering know, that offering your home as a safe place is very rewarding, some come for a brief time and some may become permanent, but either way their story is always with you. If you consider fostering and/or adopting, educate yourself, talk to foster parents in your community, take parenting classes, get a support system because there will be good days and hard days, but knowing that you can count on others, alleviates those hard days.

The Tharretts are full of love, compassion and empathy; their heart is fully invested in their call.

Full of joy and love; The Hargis Family

Jeremy and Brooke Hargis have been foster parents in Union County for over 7 years. “We started fostering after reading an article in the paper” says Brooke Hargis. She and Jeremy decided to make a difference in the lives of children that are in so much need of stability, love and care. “Before that, we never thought about fostering” explains Brooke, it was that article that started a spark in their hearts.

In their words, they explain that fostering has been so rewarding and has changed their family completely. Their biological daughter has been welcoming these kids with a heart full of love too. Jeremy and Brooke have been loving foster parents for hundreds of kids, from placements that have lasted a day, many days, weeks, months and even some for over a year.

This family has been blessed with adoption as well. Three years ago, they adopted two beautiful girls, then a few months back they adopted another beautiful girl and just this morning, they have adopted their fourth one; a very handsome little boy that completes their family. Now this family of 7 has kids running around full of energy, curiosity and joy. Their home is full, but their hearts are fuller.

“I would tell anybody that is thinking about fostering that fostering can be challenging but yet so rewarding. Kids just want to feel loved and safe.” says Brooke.

Jeremy and Brooke are full of knowledge and they are always willing to help other foster parents that are just starting this journey. Although they are closing their home today, they will continue to help others through this journey and they will be helping The Call of Union County with their broad knowledge and experience. Truly Union County is blessed to have them.

Hope and a future

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.

Senator Cotton Honors Isaac and Rachelle Wardell as Angels in Adoption To Be Recognized at National Event in Washington, D.C.

El Dorado, AR – 08/20/2015 – Senator Tom Cotton has selected Isaac and Rachelle Wardell as 2015 Angels in Adoption™ awardees for their outstanding advocacy of adoption and foster care issues. Since 2012, the Wardells have opened their hearts and home to twenty-three children in state custody. They have proven that they are determined to make a difference for Arkansas’ children. The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), which orchestrates the Angels in Adoption™ Program, will honor the Wardells at an awards ceremony on October 6 and gala on October 7 in Washington, D.C.

The Angels in Adoption™ Program is CCAI’s signature public awareness campaign and provides an opportunity for all members of the U.S. Congress to honor the good work of their constituents who have enriched the lives of foster children and orphans in the United States and abroad. This year, more than 150 “Angels” are being honored through the Angels in Adoption™ program.

“The Angels in Adoption™ Program is a unique annual opportunity in the nation’s Capital to shine a well-deserved spotlight on the power of adoption and the unspoken heroes who have made the dream of a family a reality for children. Since the program’s inception, over 2,200 Angels have come to Washington to share their firsthand adoption experiences with Members of Congress, highlighting its joys, as well as the barriers encountered in the process,” said Becky Weichhand, Executive Director at CCAI. “Members of Congress are then able to use their new experiential understanding of these issues to create policy improvements that better support these children and the families that open their hearts and homes to them.”

In addition to the more than 150 Angels from around the country, National Angels in Adoption™ honorees will be recognized at the gala for their dedication and commitment nationally and internationally to child welfare on a grand scale. This year’s National Angels in Adoption™ honoree is singer Rachel Crow. Former National Angels include Korie and Willie Robertson, Deborra-Lee Furness Jackman, First Lady Laura Bush, Patti LaBelle, Jane Seymour, Muhammad Ali, the late Dave Thomas, Steven Curtis Chapman, Bruce Willis, Alonzo Mourning, Rhea Perlman and Kristin Chenoweth.

CCAI is a 501(c)3 nonpartisan organization dedicated to raising awareness about the tens of thousands of orphans and foster children in the United States and the millions of orphans around the world in need of permanent, safe, and loving homes through adoption.

CCAI was created in 2001 by the active co-chairs of the bicameral, bipartisan Congressional Coalition on Adoption, one of Congress’ premiere caucuses. The goal of the caucus is to eliminate policy barriers that hinder these children from realizing their basic right of a family and more effectively raise Congressional and public awareness about adoption.

The Angels in Adoption™ Program was established in 1999 as a Congressional press conference to honor outstanding individuals. Since then, the program has developed into a yearlong public awareness campaign, culminating in an extraordinary awards gala and celebration in Washington, D.C.

CCAI does not receive any government funding and relies on the generous support of foundations, corporations, and individuals to accomplish this mission. For more information, visit www.ccainstitute.org or www.angelsinadoption.org.