Lilyfield Christian Adoption and Foster Care


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…?


Ryne & Kate

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

We talked about adopting before we were ever married. It was a “someday” dream. We never thought about fostering because that was way too scary. But then we moved to Tulsa in 2012 for Ryne to become the Community Pastor at The Crossing South Tulsa. That’s when we begin to hear about the 111 Project and the need for foster families in Tulsa. We realized this wasn’t just something we should tell others to do, but something we needed to dive into ourselves. We were officially approved as foster parents in May of 2015 and have had 4 placements and 5 amazing kids.

Caleb & Julie

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Being a foster family has been difficult, but it has helped us grow in many areas of our lives. Each of us are learning to be more giving, selfless and adaptable. 

Super Bowl Michael Oher

Friday, February 05, 2016

Adoption touches almost every family in one way or another. Adoption provides a priceless gift, both to children and to families. When we make adoption placements, we don’t have an idea what the true impact on the life of the child will be.  We can easily look at people and wonder where they will be in 15-20 years or what they will accomplish in that timeframe.


Here are some influential individuals who were either fostered or adopted:

Steve Jobs - founder of  Apple – Adopted  

Dante Culpepper - Football player - Fostered

Dave Thomas - founder of Wendys - Adopted

Faith Hill - singer - Adopted

Michael Oher - football player - Fostered


The movie Blindside was based off Michael Oher’s childhood. It is an amazing story of how one mom had deep compassion for Michael Oher regardless of the differences in their worlds. She looked at Michael and saw something special in him. This weekend Michael will be playing in Super Bowl on the main stage in front of millions world-wide. His mother could have never imagined him playing in the Super Bowl when she encountered him at a time of such great need. It wasn’t an idea of his future success that prompted her to love him.  She felt compelled that she wanted to make her life count and in turn make a difference in a complete stranger.


As we see needs right in front of us, I pray that we respond. That allow our hearts to be touched and that we move to help children to have hope and a future. Saying yes to loving children gives us the chance to develop qualities in them that will last forever. 

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!

A Family for Joel

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

One afternoon I received a phone call from a birth mother contacted asking if Lilyfield could assist her in making an adoption plan for her seven year old little boy. That week I was blessed with the opportunity to meet a very special little boy named Joel. Joel is an energetic and loving little boy who has been diagnosed with Down syndrome. Joel is very affectionate and loves to give hugs.


All of our staff had the opportunity to spend a fun filled afternoon with Joel while we waited for his transitional foster family to pick him up. Joel ate goldfish crackers, played with toys, and loved playing in front of the mirror in our office bathroom. I would say that has been one of the best and most memorable afternoons I have had working with this agency. Joel spent three weeks with his transitional foster family while we worked to find the family that God prepared for Joel. He was able to play with his foster brother and spent the holidays with this very special family. During that time, Joel grew to love the band Journey and loved showing off his dance moves. Joel was nurtured and loved in the three weeks that he spent with his transitional family. Right before the New Year, Joel was placed with his forever family. He has thrived since being placed with his family.


Joel is a very special little boy and our agency was blessed to have had the opportunity to help him find his forever family. Joel became a special part of several people’s lives in those three short weeks that he was with his transitional foster family and this agency. We thank God that he is now surrounded by a loving Christian family! They made a courageous decision to open their home through an older child adoption. Through their action, we see the Gospel being lived out.




Brittany Eck

Adoption Coordinator

Fostering – Two Generations Deep

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Gary and Janell embarked on a journey that would forever change their life and the lives of their children. Their journey began when they accepted the challenge of becoming foster parents. At that time two of their biological daughters were grown and the other was in high school. Gary and Janell were well on their way to being empty nesters. Little did they know other plans were in store for them. They say that they “simply felt a calling” to become foster parents. There was no other way to describe it.

Gary and Janell have opened their arms to 10 babies over the last 5 years, their stays ranging from 2 days to 17 months.

“We can’t remember what our family was like before foster babies. We must have been boring,” Gary and Janell joke. Their lives with foster children are anything but boring. They go to Disney World, take family trips, and have numerous family gatherings. Their foster children have certainly felt the love and support from their foster family.

Foster parenting comes with joy, but it can also be challenging. Gary and Janell have felt the heartache of babies leaving their home to uncertain futures. They have endured sleepless nights and walking the floors with infants.

Amidst the challenges, they have experienced numerous blessings. Both Gary and Janell agree that when a child runs to them with open arms, their hearts swell. They feel the pride when a child recites a Bible story for the first time. They know the joy from comforting a scared child. Rewards far outnumber the challenges.

“It hurts sometimes, but in the big picture, the blessings outweigh the hurt.” states Janell.

When two of their foster children became eligible for adoption, they felt it was in the best interest of the children for younger parents to adopt them. Bailey and Avery, the Smiths’ older biological daughters, stepped forward to open their homes to the children. Having already gone through the foster care training, Bailey and Avery were well equipped to become foster parents themselves. Without much delay, the two foster children were able to remain in the family, with their older daughters.

Now that their older daughters are foster parents, Gary and Janell feel extremely proud of them for the decision they have made to provide homes for children who would otherwise be placed in shelters. Bailey and Avery joke about how easy their parents made fostering look.

Avery is now married and has a biological daughter of her own. Her foster child and biological daughter are only ten months apart. They hope their foster child will soon become a permanent member of their family. At first Avery was a little nervous that her love would be different for her biological child. Her anxiety was quickly overcome. When asked what it was like to have a foster baby and a biological baby, she expressed, “There is no difference [in love] in adopting a child and having a child.”
The family has been asked frequently how they can cope with difficulties of fostering, such as having to let a child go. Their outlook is “You take care of the physical and let God do the rest. It’s not about you.”

When Gary and Janell decided to become foster parents, they immediately turned to Lilyfield Christian Adoption and Foster Care agency located in Edmond, Oklahoma. They knew the agency to be a reputable, Christian organization specializing in adoption and foster care.

Understanding the need for foster families and having a heart for the most vulnerable in our community is originally what led Gary and Janell to step forward on this journey. Five years later they have still felt overwhelming peace with their decision and have now passed their legacy of fostering to their own children.

Through all the joys and heartaches Gary and Janell have endured through fostering, they know it’s not over for their family. Their hearts and arms are open wide for children who need love and support.

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