Haley did not know why God impressed upon her heart to support her pregnant aunt. She did not understand why her aunt shut her out when she first extended her hand to support the unborn baby. Haley did not have a plan for how she would convey this calling to support her aunt to her husband, Allen. When Haley found out that the baby, Carson, was going into foster care, she did not know how the foster parents would react when they found out that a relative was interested in adoption. In this puzzling circumstance of foster care, all of these pieces were not fitting together.
For Haley and Allen, adoption was following through with what God was leading them to do.
They first met Carson’s foster parents in court. James and Julie Schoomaker were foster parents through FaithBridge Church Partner, Four Points Church and they felt called to minister to biological families. They were more than willing to help Haley and Allen prepare their home for the home study process.
“As a biological relative placement, we didn’t get training, just paperwork to read,” Haley explained as she reflected on her experience, “There were drug tests, fingerprints, home studies, child proofing—it was all a bit overwhelming since we don’t have kids. The generosity of the Schoomakers was so helpful in getting through the process.”
The Schoomakers went above and beyond what was required to ensure that Haley and Allen felt prepared for possible placement and connected to community.
“We first met the Schoomakers at court,” Haley explained, “When they invited us to church, we were definitely open.”
Haley and Allen were confident that they were being led by God and obeying His calling and they had been open to finding a church home for a while. Haley explained that although she and Allen had been attending a church at the time, they still felt a bit of disconnection there.
“I led worship at a small church in high school and I love connection,” Haley explained. “I was going through a desert period and, honestly, I felt angry and frustrated with my relative.”
Haley explained that her first time attending Four Points Church with the Schoomakers, the sermon was on anger and loving people regardless.
“I felt such a connection, even beyond getting to see baby Carson! I knew there was something special about this place. It’s great to be in a church.”
Both Haley and Allen made strong connections since they have been attending and when the church found out they were in the process of adopting baby Carson, they coordinated an event and gave them meaningful gifts and prayer. This level of support made all the difference in the process. They received support from everyone in the church, even those who do not foster.
“This type of support can make all the difference in the world to a family. Julie and James didn’t have to speak to us.”
Haley’s interaction with the Schoomakers changed her perspective about what is possible in the relationship between biological families and foster families.
“There can be celebration for biological families getting children back,” Haley said. “Keep your heart open to God’s plan. The Schoomakers love Carson so much and were still open to him transitioning back home. Whatever God has, it will be done. Open your mind and heart and stay sensitive to what he is doing through the process. They decided to connect to us and now Carson has bonus parents! He also has a connection to this biological grandmother and siblings. Reaching out puts a missing piece in the puzzle.”
There can be peace in following through with God’s plan. Being able to connect baby Carson to this biological family while maintaining a connection to his foster parents, the Schoomakers, was the missing piece that Haley and Allen needed to see the hope, healing, and unconditional love of Christ in their lives and in the life of baby Carson.
To read more about the Shoomakers’ experience, click here.
Some names in this story have been changed for privacy.