Imagine that you are 5 years old and a social worker has just picked you up from your home. As you drive away she tells you that you’re gonna have to live with strangers until mom can make it safe for you at home again. You are in shock and overwhelmed with emotions: anger, fear, powerlessness, hopelessness. But do you know what would make it worse . . . a LOT worse? Also being separated from your brothers and sisters, ages 1, 4, 7 and 11, who are going to different foster homes. Just imagine.
A special focus for Agape is keeping large sibling groups together in a foster home through Enhanced Foster Care (EFC). About half a dozen families have committed to partnering with Agape to keep siblings together.
- Vanessa Colley became a teacher years ago because she wanted to make a difference in children’s lives but retired when diagnosed with MS. She decided foster care was the open door to still making a difference in their lives. That was 16 years ago.As she cared for children in her home, God revealed that her calling was to keep large sibling groups together. So she has. And she says, “The children keep me going.”
- Jeremy and Leslie Faulkner have traveled a different path from Vanessa. A young couple, no children, thinking about adopting, but beginning to feel God calling them to be foster parents. So they became traditional foster parents, serving children and small sibling groups. Over time, God equipped them to serve children of all ages and large sibling groups. They are so glad they’ve opened their home and hearts to the children He sent them.Leslie says foster care has led them to an amazing place she never imagined. “Wouldn’t change a thing.”Permanency for the children is always the priority for foster care, whether through returning to the birth family or adoption. The Faulkners are adopting the four siblings in their home; and Vanessa is in the process to adopt the six in her home, ages 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 years old.
Enhanced Foster Care does not typically lead to an adoption plan, but it always has a major impact on the children’s lives as it gives them security and emotional safety when they have lost all that is known or familiar.
Agape is looking for other families who will consider opening their homes and hearts.We offer training and support, which is vital for families to be successful, but the starting point is the family being led by the Spirit to say, “Tell me more.”
Buddy Renahan • 334-272-9466
Natalie Chambers • 205-733-9755 firstname.lastname@example.org
Linda Sanders • 334-393-1990