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.