This piece was originally published in the North Georgia United Methodist Church’s “Monday Morning in North Georgia” newsletter. It is reprinted here with the author’s permission.
by Denise Peacock
I believe that one of God’s most beautiful gifts to us is that of family. Each day in my work at The United Methodist Children’s Home in Decatur, I am astounded by the families who allow God to touch their homes in unexpected ways by fostering children. Recently, I have had the joy of participating in the adoptions of four children by three of our incredible foster families.
Although we work diligently for our children to be reunited with their birth families, there are circumstances when this cannot happen. In these cases, the foster family caring for the child is given the opportunity to adopt that child. Almost always the families say yes, even when this was not what they had planned for their lives. As we know, sometimes God has a greater plan in mind.
In December, we celebrated with the Moore family and their four sons as they became family to 21-month-old Kage, who they had cared for since he was 3 months old!
On New Year’s Eve, we celebrated with the Allison family as Riley Kate, 3-years-old, joined their family.
In January, we celebrated with the Mongeons as they became family to 4-year-old Destiny and 6-year-old Javon.
We rejoiced as we presented these children with Bibles engraved with their “new names.” In each situation, there were many tears shed, but lots of hugging and laughing as well. We also rejoiced the Sunday following the adoption of Destiny and Javon as the entire congregation of Inman Park UMC celebrated when they were baptized by their “new” great-grandfather.
As I think of these events, I am moved by the recollections of feelings shared:
- a judge declaring, “This is the best part of my job.”
- a child excitedly saying, “Now we all have the same last names!”
- a banner raised with the word CHOSEN for all to see
- a new father saying, “Loving this child has helped me to better understand how much God loves me.”
- a new great-grandfather telling the children, “You are my tenth and eleventh great-grandchildren,” clearly claiming these children as his own!
And I know that all of this has happened because the Moores, the Allisons, and the Mongeons answered “yes” when they heard of the need for foster families… when they felt called to care for children without knowing how short or long the kids’ stay in their homes might be… when it became clear that a new forever family was needed. At each step, they said, “Yes.”
As a professional in this field, I must remind myself and others that adoptions begin with a loss: A parent loses their child and a child loses their first parent. But out of this sadness, God gives us the opportunity to give the ultimate gifts of hope, love, home, and family to these little ones. And the joy seen and felt by those involved is absolutely awesome!
Every week the Children’s Home must turn away over 20 children for whom we are able to provide care. This is mostly due to a shortage of foster homes — not enough people responding when God whispers, “Why not you?”
My prayer today is one of thanksgiving for all who have said “yes.” I also pray for more yeses.
Maybe God is asking you to do this work. If so, I pray you will answer the call. There are children waiting.
Denise Peacock, an Atlanta native, is the Coordinator of Foster Care Recruitment at The United Methodist Children’s Home (UMCH) in Decatur. This is her second tour of employment at the UMCH, where she originally went to work in 1971 on scholarship money provided by the United Methodist Women of St. Mark UMC! When not recruiting in local churches for more foster families, Denise and her husband, Davis, are active members at Oak Grove UMC. You can contact Denise at firstname.lastname@example.org.