Lilyfield Christian Adoption and Foster Care

Lilyfield

Visit us online to read blogs on a variety of issues that are related to adoption, foster care and parenting. Serving the communities of Oklahoma City, Tulsa and all other areas in the state of Oklahoma.

Feature Foster Family

Monday, October 31, 2016

 

Our Story: And God laughed…

Gene and I met in 2002 while attending SWOSU. God had his hand in us meeting for sure. I grew up as a Baptist preacher’s daughter in TX. I had never even heard of the Nazarene church. Gene’s pastor of almost 10 years, his wife (the piano player for the church), and six children (they now have 10 kids) moved to Texas. My sister started playing the piano for the Weatherford Church of the Nazarene. I started attending to help with their upcoming Easter Cantata. I was pretty smitten with him from the start. 2 months later we were officially dating, engaged 5 months later, and married 14 months after that in 2003. We knew we wanted kids, 1 boy and 1 girl. We even had their names picked out before we were married. In 2005 Hannah was born. In 2007 Isaac came along. We were done. We had our boy and girl. We bought our perfect house (slightly out of our price range, but perfect size for our family of 4), and we stated that we’d never move. Life was good and just as we planned it.

 

We visited with Gene’s former pastor right after Isaac was born. We told them we were done having kids. They asked “Are you sure that’s what God wants?” (Remember, they have 10 kids) Yes, we were sure God only wanted us to have our 2 kids. Hannah started Kindergarten at my school in a very poverty-stricken area of OKC. She started talking about a classmate that she wanted to pray for because he had a very hard home life. We prayed for this little guy and in 1st grade he and his brother came in to DHS custody. We had never thought about Fostering or Adopting. We had our 2 kids right? We were done. We planned, and God laughed at our plans and we ended up fostering these 2 boys for 6 months. They left in August 2012 to join their sisters and be adopted by their Aunt.

 

Well we did our “good deed”; we fostered these 2 boys. Now we can go back to our comfortable and safe family. God started talking to my heart around Christmas 2012 and we decided maybe we needed to foster again. This time we would just take babies. We were certified and signed our contract June 19, 2013. We had prayed for months for the baby that would need us. Prayed for his/her safety, health, overall well-being and that God would bring this baby to us at just the right time. We got the call the next day about a 7 month old little girl. We said Yes! We had her 2 weeks and she went to live with an Aunt that eventually adopted her.

 

People always say, “Oh I could never foster, you just get too attached and I could never give them back.” Yes, it is very hard when these babies that you love as your own leave. Yes, you cry, usually a very ugly cry, but you just keep going. You start praying for the next baby that will need you. Our next baby was a newborn boy. We were told he would be with us for a very long time because parents were incarcerated and there was no family that could take the baby. We brought him home from the hospital and 4 days later got the call that family had been found and he was leaving in 4 hours. Seriously? Would we ever get to have a baby stay with us??

 

The next day we brought home a precious almost 7 month old (the next day was 7 months) little guy. We were his 6th placement. My heart breaks when I think about this baby, my baby spending his first 4 days of life in the DHS Shelter. We had no idea of the roller coaster we were getting on with this little dude. After 2 years of ups and downs with his case, and the case looking like reunification was going to happen, this Little Dude’s parents asked us out of the blue if we would adopt him. I have never felt so much joy and sadness all at this same time. We love his parents so much. They are the bravest, most loving parents I know. On June 9, 2015, we adopted Spencer. Again, I have never felt so much joy and sadness at the same time. Spencer knows that he has two mommies and daddies. We’ve told him about his biological parents (Paul and Crystal) and try to keep them updated on him. This last Sunday, I was delighted to see him light up at the mention of the story about Paul and Silas. “Paul? Like my other daddy? Yea!”

 

Fostering is very hard. It is very ugly. It is full of brokenness and sadness. We live in a broken world and sadly this is a cycle for many families. We wanted to love these families. I don’t think at the beginning I truly understood what that meant. It is hard to not be judgmental. It is hard to love these people that don’t seem to be able to get their lives together enough to get their kids back. My heart is forever changed thanks to fostering. I look at these parents not as drug addicts but people who are lost and struggling and have no support, no hope. This is what I think we as a Church are called to be; the hope (or representation of Hope) to these lost and hurting people.

 

In June 2014 we decided well, we have managed 3 kids, what’s 1 more. We brought home 2 little girls that we only had about a month, they left to go live with an aunt. We decided we only wanted a single baby, no older siblings, because you know, older kids are so much harder. So we told our agency we only wanted a single baby; no siblings this time. Here is where God saw us making our plans and laughed again. I felt God saying there was a 4 year old that needed us. Gene didn’t feel the same way (but did mention later that God had just been giving him the number 4 over and over in his head for days). We got the call the next day about a 4 month old and her 4 year old sister. There was the 4 year old God had placed on my heart. After lots of prayers and 3 phone calls with our agency, we finally said Yes! These 2 girls officially became “Strongs” on December 4, 2015, after we had had them 14 months. We were told a few months before their adoption that their mom was pregnant again. We prayed A LOT!

 

We spent many hours on the road to and from Lawton visiting (just sitting and holding/being present with) a little boy that had a long road of withdrawal symptoms (tremors mainly) ahead of him. He spent 47 days in the NICU; the longest any of the nurses working there had ever heard of for an NAS baby. NAS is short for Neonatal abstinence syndrome and is more or less technical jargon for a baby born addicted to whatever illicit substance the mother used during pregnancy. Just a week ago we sat and watched/listened to his (and his two sister’s) mother as she relinquished her parental rights without shedding a tear. Oh we both cried like babies, but it was awkward to watch her demeanor, and we both ended up telling ourselves it was just a front she had put up to make it easier on herself. The court terminated dad’s rights by default since he had failed to show to 5 different proceedings and now this little boy is on his way to being adopted soon this summer. He has never known any home other than the NICU and our home, but we plan to make sure that he knows he has 2 mommies and 2 daddies.

 

And it seems like this adventure is not slowing down. We’ve outgrown our “perfect” house and have started looking for something bigger. We’ve outgrown two different cars in 6 months, and if they adventure continues the current path we will soon outgrow the current vehicles we drive. It’s all just money, right? My God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and will provide for anything he calls us to. The End…?


 

Kid's Camp provides healing and hope

Tuesday, August 05, 2014


We held our First Care Connect Kid's camp a few weeks ago in July. The camp was a therapeutic day camp for kids who have been adopted. It was a unique opportunity for the kids to come together and share their experiences while they learned new coping skills and ways to be healthy and whole. We enjoyed time with their parents at the start and end of each day.


We launched Kid's Camp in response to the tremendous need we saw in our community for post adoption services and support. We know  and understand the adoption and foster care experience through our work placing children. This experience gave us a desire to serve families who have moved past the initial placement phase of their journey.


Our Kid's Camp used material from Trust Based Relational Intervention along with some other models that teach strategies to deal with grief, loss, anxiety, and attachment. Each child had a personal "buddy" for the week. Our buddies were amazing community volunteers who spent the entire week working with these incredible kids one-on-one. We laughed, played and had tons of fun!


We have heard from the parents and children that coming to camp open doors for them to talk with each other and learn skills and strategies for challenges they may face. 


It is our hope and prayer that the time spent at camp will be a positive experience for these really special kids and families!

Judah's Family

Wednesday, July 09, 2014


Steve, Jama and big brothers Abraham and William added baby Judah to their family in 2013.

Steve says, “Adding to our family through adoption has brought Jama, our children, and I tremendous joy. With each new stage of Judah’s life we are reminded of God’s provision and the abundance of his blessings.”

Turning Point: Alicia's Story

Wednesday, July 02, 2014
I want to share with you how Lilyfield helped me make the most important decision of my life.

When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I had been married for nearly four years, but the marriage was abusive. Even though my husband knew of my pregnancy, the abuse continued and my baby and I were continually put into dangerous situations. That was something I simply could not accept. With the help of a friend I moved from my hometown for the first time ever, and made my way to Oklahoma.

Although I was excited about the upcoming birth of my daughter, I knew that I was not in an ideal situation to parent, as I was still healing from my abusive marriage and had a long road ahead of me in rebuilding my life in Oklahoma. After weighing my options with a small support circle and some research on the Internet, I decided to contact local adoption agencies. I initially met with three different agencies, but Lilyfield seemed to have the widest array of information and helped me feel most at ease. My caseworker happily answered any questions I had about the process and met me at my home each week to discuss what I was feeling and what to expect.

Within the first two or three weeks of becoming a Lilyfield client, I started looking through portfolios of prospective adoptive parents. I had a great feeling about one particular couple, and I met with them the following week. After that meeting, I was more certain than ever that they were extremely deserving and loving parents for my daughter – it was a perfect match!

I stayed in close contact with the couple for the next few weeks leading up to the birth, and they became (and continue to be) another source of comfort and support for me. I gave birth to a healthy, beautiful and amazing baby girl, and they were at the hospital with me every step of the way. When I first saw my daughter, I immediately fell in love, and although the first few days were admittedly hard, I knew I had made the right decision. My Lilyfield caseworker visited me for a few weeks after and made herself available to talk and to answer any other questions I have.

My daughter's adoption is very open, and I keep in regular contact with her parents. They typically send pictures and updates weekly, and it is just as important to them for me to be in my daughter's life as it is to me. It is incredibly rewarding knowing that my daughter is happy and loved, with all the potential in the world.

I am so thankful that Lilyfield was there to help me when I was lost, and because of them, the outcome for myself, my little girl and her new family is overwhelmingly positive.


Worth the Cost

Friday, June 27, 2014


It is not uncommon to hear people talk about the challenges associated with adoption. It is costly, both in time and money. The “wait” to be matched with a child is difficult. There are often many unknown factors about the child and their past. For birth parents, allowing another family to raise their child is the most difficult decision they may face in life.

But there is an amazing thing that happens in adoption, when you see a child thrive and grow in a family that was handpicked for them by God. Glory is one of those children. She was blessed with the gift of forever parents, Ray and Alicia last year.

“Glory is a precious gift from my Heavenly Father! Having Glory as our daughter makes God’s love for us much clearer as He has adopted us into His family through faith in Christ Jesus,” says Ray.

Adoption: Planned by God

Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Psalm 68:6 says that God places the lonely in families. The work of adoption is an amazing ministry of the Lord and at Lilyfield we truly believe we see God at work each time a child is adopted by his or her forever family. 

Jeremy, Melodie and big brothers Holden and Paxton were blessed with the addition of baby Abe into their family last year. Jeremy and Melodie always planned to adopt children at some point in their lives, so deciding to adopt their first child five years ago was just a natural step for them.

Jeremy and Melodie are now the proud parents of three boys they were blessed with through adoption.

“We want them to have complete confidence in the way God has written each of their stories,” Melodie said. “Above anything else, I want my boys to understand they were planned and created by God. They are here, with us, on purpose, by God.” 


A Testimony of the Gospel

Thursday, May 01, 2014
Zach, Erin, big sister Reece, and big brothers Jet and Zeb were thrilled with the addition of Abe to their family. Abe was placed into the home through Lilyfield’s foster care program in 2011.

“The addition of Abe has touched every area of our life,” say Zach and Erin.

“He has such a sweet spirit and radiates pure joy. Abe is an answer to our prayers,” says Erin. “We knew going into foster care that our hearts were open to permanency and sharing our life forever with a child if that was God’s will for our family.”

Their church family took an active role in praying for Abe and the family. He quickly had a family and a community of people that loved him. Zach and Erin feel that they have been able to spread the gospel to a child and his biological family who may not have heard it otherwise. They realize that God has entrusted them to care for this baby.

One of the things that Zach and Erin most treasure is the knowledge that Abe is theirs and is an important part of their family. “We grafted him into our family, like Jesus grafted us into His,” says Erin. What a picture of love and acceptance! They love sharing Abe’s story and know they will continue to love sharing his story because it speaks Jesus to others.

“What a testimony we have of the gospel...right here in our arms,” they say.

Zach and Erin can testify that the journey is hard, but the rewards are greater. Children need loving and safe homes where they can grow into confident young people.



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Brian and Nicole

Monday, April 28, 2014
Brian, Nicole and big sister Grace were thrilled with the addition of baby Silas to their family last year. Being blessed with their second child has opened their eyes to God’s love in a way that nothing else could.

Brian and Nicole described the adoption of their Silas as a whirlwind of events with a beautiful and blessed ending. Five years after adopting their daughter, Brian and Nicole decided to commit to the process again. Filling out the paperwork and becoming certified as an adoptive family took awhile, but they only waited 15 days after that to receive the call that they had been matched with a birth mother.


“It’s those types of things you just can’t really explain to anyone else, just to watch God’s blessing and know that beyond a shadow of a doubt this was His will and not ours,” Nicole said.
The best advice Brian and Nicole can give to families considering adoption is to pray.

“Praying, having friends to pray with us and for us really helped a lot, and then when deciding to adopt again, just pray for that clarity,” said Nicole.

The process of adoption can be very emotional and is filled with uncertainty. Brian and Nicole stress that the love for an adopted child is fierce and strong. Adoption creates a unique bond for families who chose to love in a very special way.

Making an Adoption Plan: Brooke's Story

Friday, April 25, 2014
I am writing to tell you about how Lilyfield helped me through a very difficult time in my life.

I had recently moved to Oklahoma when I learned I was pregnant with my third child. I was trying to secure a stable life with my two children. I was in a relationship but it was not going well. He and I were fighting all the time and I knew I needed to get out of that situation fast. He wanted nothing to do with a baby, so he made it easy to get away from him.

When the news of being pregnant sank in, I felt overwhelmed and then drained. This was so unexpected. I knew that being pregnant was not the hard part. The hard part would be the responsibility that would come in nine months. All I wanted for my family was to be settled with a good career, have a good school for my children to attend, have minimal stress and to be happy. A new baby was not something that I could deal with.

I knew that abortion was not an option for me, but I couldn’t parent either. I didn’t want this child to have to grow up without a father and in a family situation like we were in at that time. I knew that I had to find a way for this child to have a better life than I could offer at the current time.

I started talking with my boss about my situation as well. I told him I was considering adoption, but being new to Oklahoma I didn’t know where to turn. He and his wife had adopted through Lilyfield a few years before and highly recommended the agency as a place to start for support and guidance. I contacted the agency and through counseling with my adoption counselor and continuing to talk to friends and to my boss, adoption seemed like the best option for this baby.

Making an adoption plan was interesting. I was not sure what to expect and honestly it went pretty fast. I met with my worker and she helped me through the process and then she showed me families. I had high expectations for the family for this child and thought they would be impossible to find. It was pretty nerve-racking wondering about the family. I didn’t know if they would be willing to accept my expectations and be sensitive to my feelings.

Lilyfield allowed me to meet the family and find out for myself if this was going to be the family for my baby. The agency continued to act as mediators between me and the family until time for this child to be born and through the placement process.

I have no regrets when it comes to my decision to place my child for adoption. I couldn’t be any happier knowing that she has a wonderful family that loves her. We have contact with the family and are able to see her on a regular basis. Her new family has accepted my family with open arms. We get together for holidays, birthdays and barbeques. It is truly amazing.

I am still trying to reach some of my goals that I had laid out for my family, but I am on the right track. I would not be where I am today had I not decided to place my child into a wonderful family through adoption.


Brooke, Lilyfield Birth mother         

The Ministry of a Lifetime

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
By Terry Laudett, Lilyfield Adoptive Parent

Some ministries last a short time. Some ministries last a long time. The ministry of adoption lasts a lifetime.

Actually, more than one ministry may be involved in adoption.

Adoption may be an international ministry. If you adopt a child from another country, you are engaged in an international ministry.

Adoption may be a pro-life ministry. By adopting a child, you are challenging the cavalier attitude toward the value of a child's life.

Adoption may be a ministry to the disabled. If you adopt a child with disabilities, you are engaged in a ministry to someone with special needs.

Adoption may be a family ministry. By adopting a child, you create a family ministry.

Adoption may be a preaching ministry. When you adopt a child, you will have many opportunities to preach to him or her. (Trust me.)

Adoption may be a ministry to the poor. In many cases, an adopted child will be saved from a life of poverty. In Tulsa, one-third of children in foster care will be homeless when they leave the system (unless they are adopted).

Adoption may be an evangelistic ministry. When you adopt a child, you will be able to share the good news of Christ with him or her (possibly for the first time in the child's life).

Of course, adoption is much more than a ministry. But it is not less. In some manner, you will serve the child that you love for a lifetime.


 


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