Room to Grow 12
When I was a teenager, God laid it upon my heart that I would be the father of 12 children and that it would come about through adoption. To date, we have a total of 8 children (2 biological , 4 adopted & 2 foster).
I know, for most people, the idea of having more than 1 or 2 children sounds crazy enough but 12 is totally insane! For us, it's very different though. It's something I've known would happen long before I had even met my wife, Angel, and something we have found to be extremely rewarding. Anyone who knows our family can tell you, our family is one of great love and affection and, all-in-all, our kids are some of the most well behaved and well mannered children you'd ever meet. We are so proud of each of them and can't wait for the day when we've reached our ultimate goal of 12! In order for this to happen, however, we need some Room to Grow!
For the average American family, a 5 bedroom/3 bathroom home would be considered quite large. When we purchased it in 2009, it was for us as well. Of course, at the time, we only had 3 children (our 2 biological daughters, Madeline and Ella & our 1 adopted daughter, Sage).
Since we knew we would eventually need more room, we had a roughin for an additional bathroom installed in the basement so that we could eventually add an extra bathroom and 2 additional bedrooms (giving us a 7 bedroom/4 bathroom home) which could accomodate the 12 children that God had promised.
In the fall/winter of 2011, Darius, Cierra and Taylor came to live with, reuniting them into the same household for the first time in almost 4 years! Just before Christmas of 2013, their adoptions became final.
Then, just before Christmas of 2014, our current foster son and foster daughter came to live with us as well. After 9 months, they returned home to their birthmother but then returned to us in May of 2016. So, at the present time, we have a total of 8 children (3 boys and 5 girls).
That's what brings me here today. To adequately, and comfortably, house our next 4 additions, we really need to finish off our basement. To accomplish this, we originally set a goal of $25,000 (the price quote given to us in 3 different estimates) but, because of the extreme generosity of several fellow foster & adoptive families, offering to perform the labor aspects of the project for free, we now only need a total amount of $15,000 to make this happen! I know asking for such an amount may be a long shot but, after spending countless hours pondering and praying about it greatly, we felt lead to at least try. In doing so, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Even if we can't reach our goal, we might at least gain the prayer support of countless others we may never know this side of Heaven. That's worth more than all the money in the world! And, maybe, our story might encourage others to adopt, as well.
Every child deserves a loving family to call their own. That is the ultimate goal of this GoFundMe campaign. Please, help us bring 4 more children out of foster care and into our family. Most children over the age of 5 years old tend to linger in the foster care system for years, often times separated from their siblings. Far to often, many of these children will age out of foster care, never to find the loving forever family they so desparately wanted and needed.
I am extremely hopeful as to what this campaign will do and know wholeheartedly that it is achievable. I see families that raise $25,000 - $50,000 (or more) on a regular basis, just to adopt 1 child. We are asking just $15,000 to get 4! Most importantly, I know what the Bible says:
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them... (Psalm 127:5)
Ask, and it shall be given you... (Matthew 7:8)
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. (Luke 6:38)
And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you...(Luke 11:9)
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. (John 15:7)
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, He may give it you. (John 15:16)
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. (John 16:23)
Having my quiver full of children is the most rewarding thing God ever placed in my heart and my home. It truly does make me happy in so many ways. I don't view my children as biological or adopted. I just view them as my children. Words could never adequately express the extreme joy I receive from parenting my children, children that many in this world had discarded and forgotten. I know most people can't even imagine parenting so many children, especially ones that they didn't conceive and came with baggage most of us couldn't even fathom, and that's okay. We are all called for different purposes in life and ours is to parent the fatherless and the orphan. For others, maybe it's to help those who help others. Any amount of money, prayer &/or time you could extend to those who do, whether it be our family or another on a similar journey, would be greatly appreciated. God will honor your gift and bless you accordingly. Thank you for your time and consideration! In Jesus' name, may God richly bless you and your family and ours!
P.S. Whether you are able to give or not, please, share our link on your Facebook page &/or Twitter account.
When I first started it, we were living in a 2-story home with 5 bedrooms / 3 full bathrooms & 2,127 sq ft of living space & an unfinished basement on .18 acres with 6 children (2 biological daughters, 2 adopted daughters & 2 adopted sons). Our intent was to finish the basement, creating an additional 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom & 800 sq ft of living space with the money raised so we could fit 12 children total.
During the first year of the campaign, we raised enough to put a waterproofing seal & insulative wrap on the basement walls. We also had 2 more children come to live with us ( a brother & sister), taking us to 8 children. With 5 girls & 3 boys, we had an odd number for an even number of children's bedrooms so, the first time they were with us, 3 girls had to share a room. The second time, Darius moved into the newly insulated & waterproofed basement so the girls wouldn't have to have 3 crammed in 1 modestly sized room. Neither option was ideal.
Then, during their second stay with us, our foster children's behaviors started to worsen, especially our foster daughter's! There were several external contributing factors, some of which were out of our control, but the one factor that was somewhat within our control was our school district. Despite living in what is arguably the worst school district in our county, our other children were doing very well there but our foster children, who had just come from the best school district in our county, were not doing well at all! So, we prayed & God led us to a 2-story rental property with 5 bedrooms / 3.5 bathrooms and 2,292 sq ft of living space on 1.69 acres AND it was in our foster children's previous school district! So, we moved in to the new home in January & sold our other home in May. Financially, that was a very rough time but, between our tax refund & ultimate home sale, God pulled us through.
The move to the better school district was a great move indeed! Everyone wound up loving their schools, they made lots of great friends, the bad behaviors our foster son had been exhibiting ceased & our foster daughter bad behaviors decreased (for a while).
Then, everything changed within just a couple of months. Our oldest, Darius, joined the Air Force & left for Basic Training in May. Then, in June, our foster daughter decided she didn't want to be adopted (by us or anyone else) & that she wanted to be an only child, so she moved out. Our foster son, on the otherhand, wanted to stay with us very much & was adopted on July 13th! In the midst of his adoption & his sister's move, we found out that the septiv system at our rental home had failed &, although it wasn't really affecting us, it was causing a huge issue for our neighbors as it was seeping into their yard & well! Facing a fairly certain displacement, we prayed (again) about our housing situation &, yet again, God led us to an even greater property & it was FOR SALE!
The new home is an all brick, 1-story home with 4 bedrooms / 2 full bathroom / 2 half bathroom / 2,753 sq ft with an unfinished basement on 1.06 acres, surrounded by farm fields on all sides! With our child total at 6 again (4 girls & 2 boys) our new home has adequate sleeping areas for everyone. However, although it accomodates our current family size, all the rooms are larger (especially the common/gathering areas) & we are in a much better school district & setting, we don't have room for any more children. So, to make room for 5 more, we are reviving our gofundme.com/RoomToGrow12 campaign, to raise an additional $10,000 ($14,000 total) to finish our new basement -creating an additional 2-3 bedrooms, expanding our 2 half bathrooms into 2 full bathrooms & creating an additional 1,800 sq ft of living space!
I know there are some that will not see the beauty (or the necessity) behind what we are doing (& hoping to expand) but it is my hope & prayer that those reading this do! There are over 100,000 legal orphans in the USA alone &, each year, more than 20,000 of them age out of the system, never finding a forever family. Statistically speaking, children who age out are far more likely to be unemployed, homeless, incarcerated, involved in drugs, gangs, violence & the sex trade. Many never complete high school. Almost none of them go on to college & somewhere around 70% become unwed parents by or before their 21st birthday! We might not be able to save the world but, for the 5 we've adopted already & the 5 to come, it has meant/will mean the world to them!
Please, consider giving to our campaign. No amount is too little. Even if you can't give, please, pray for us & share our campaign. Together, we can be the change we wish to see!
Thank you & God bless!
When we built our home in Hagerstown, nearly 8 years ago, we did so with the intent that we would eventually finish our basement & then fill it with 12 children (primarily through adoption).
Then, 19 months ago, with 6 children in our home & no more room for 4 of the additional 6, we started our gofundme.com/RoomToGrow12 campaign, in an effort to raise the funds to add the 2 additional bedrooms (& 1 more bathroom) necessary for the remaining additions.
Within the first 12 months, we managed to raise $3,000, put a waterproofing seal around the interior of the basement & installed an insulative wrap. It was still far from finished but, it made maintaining comfortable temperatures easier & Darius moved into the basement to free up upstairs space.
Since we were still very far from the total needed to complete the project, we started looking into alternate, adequate housing. Much to our surprise, we found a beautiful, 8 bedroom/4 bathroom home, on over 2 acres, in Williamsport that we thought would be perfect for our family! To get it, however, we needed to sell our current home first. We placed it on the market in the fall of 2015 (quite possibly the worst time to put a home on the market). Not wanting to risk moving around Christmas, we took it off the market after a few months & decided we'd just stay & keep working on obtainiing the funds necessary to complete the basement project.
Then, in the spring of 2016, with the home we wanted still on the market, we decided to try & sell our home again. Within 6 days, we received a FULL-PRICE offer & the sellers accepted our offer on their home. As great as everything sounded, it wasn't long before everything began to fall apart (in some ways literally). Every inspection on the home we wanted to purchase seemed to fail - radon, mold, electrical, chimney, structural, etc. We were devastated! To add to our dilemma, the buyers for our home had us sign a document saying we had to move whether we had a place to move to or not! Homes large enough to accommodate our family of 8 were sparse, especially in our price range. And none of them would accommodate more than our 8. In the midst of trying to find a home for our family, we got a call from DSS, asking if we'd be willing & able to take back our 2 foster children from the previous year. We had to say yes but, in doing so, our dilemma went from bad to worse! There was absolutely nothing remotely close to the size we needed! "But God!" Our buyers financing fell through & we were able to stay where we were!
Obviously, we were disappointed that we still didn't have enough room for the remaining 4 but, we were incredibly relieved that we at least had a home adequately sized for our family of 10. We went back to our campaign & some new friends of ours offered to provide the labor for finishing our basement for absolutely FREE! Their very generous gesture reduced our amount needed from $25,000 down to $15,000!
Then, in the fall of 2016, all our kids started at their new schools. Previously, our 6 biological & adopted children attended a private school but, at the end of the 2015/2016 schoolyear, their school closed, due to low enrollment & insufficient funds to maintain it. Our 2 foster children attended school in the Cascade/Smithsburg School District but, given the distance of their school, continuing there was no longer possible. Ultimately, each of our children had to start attending our local public school.
The first month wasn't too bad but then things changed terribly. Both of our foster children were having significant behavior issues in school, resulting in numerous detentions, notes & calls home. We didn't know what to do. So, we prayed! And God showed up! Immediately after praying about our situation, He lead us to a gorgeous rental property, large enough for our current (& future) family size, that was well within our price range & it was in the Cascade/Smithsburg School District (the same district our foster came from, where they weren't experiencing any behavioral issues)!
So, as of January 1, 2017, we are currently maintaining two homes! As scary as maintaining two home would normally be for most people, we have a tremendous peace about it all! It has allowed us more time to complete our move & will enable us to conduct showings of our home without the stress of keeping it "showroom ready" 24/7 with 10 people living in it!
We do, however, need to find a buyer (or renter) for our home in Hagerstown, ASAP! If you, or anyone you know, is interested in buying (or renting) a beautiful home, in a wonderful community, in the Hagerstown area, please, consider our home! It will be going on the market around January 15th - For Sale $249,900 / For Rent $1,850 per month. That means, we need to move the rest of our belongings by next weekend! If you are in the area next weekend & our willing & able to assist us in our move, please, let me know. Unfortunately, I can't pay for your service but I will gladly provide you with food for your efforts!
Thank you for joining us on this journey & for all the love, prayers, help & financial support you have provided us these past couple of years! You have no idea what a blessing each of you have been to us!
P.S. The $1,050 remaining amount raised went to minir repairs, additional beds & bedding. If any additional funds are raised, they will be put towards the purchase of our next home.
Most of you are probably aware that our two foster children from last year are back with us again. They've actually been with us since May of 2016. Right now, the plan is adoption but none of us know for sure what will happen.
We love them dearly & would love to keep them but we also love their parents as well. Knowing how much it hurts just thinking about losing them, I can only imagine how much it would hurt them. No matter what happens, we are committed to the children's wellbeing & are dedicated in maintaining strong, healthy relationships with their birth family members (mom, dad, aunts, uncles & cousins) as we believe it is crucial for everyone's success. Developing & maintaining strong family connections has been an area of tremendous blessing for us. Their family is no different. We truly view them as extensions of our family.
Whether our current foster care situation turns into adoption or not, our need for more room in our home to accommodate the ultimate 12 is still a huge need of our family. If we had gotten the 3 boys we thought we might get last year (or any others for that matter) our foster children would not have been able to come back to us because of our current room situation.
Something outstanding that has occurred is that our financial goal has decreased dramatically from $25,000 down to $15,000 because of the extreme generosity of several fellow foster & adoptive families offering to provide the labor portion of the project for free! That makes reaching our goal a much greater possibility!
Please, read our campaign, pray about it, give if you can & share it on your page. Together, we can be the change we wish to see!
What I really want to share with you is what happened this past Saturday. Two things occurred that are probably even more important than our campaign progress (one bad thing & one amazing).
Our local Department of Social Services (DSS), offers classes several times a year for prospective foster & adoptive parents. Over the past couple of years, I have been invited to speak on a panel with other foster & adoptive parents to share stories about our adoption journey. When I arrived, my initial reaction was one of sadness & disappointment because of how few prospective foster & adoptive parents were actually present. In the 10 years we've been involved with DSS, the numbers in attendance usually range anywhere from 10 - 30+ people but this time there were only 3 people! There were actually more people on the panel than there were taking the class. Considering how amazing our county's team of social workers & families is, I probably shouldn't be too alarmed but, I've recently been reading about some places in our nation that are experiencing a foster & adoptive family shortage. Most notably, in recent months, the State of Texas has been forced to keep children entering care in their offices because of the shortage! That's disgraceful! Children entering care have already gone through far more in their short lives than many of us could even imagine. On any given day, there are approximately 450,000 children in care. Of those, approximately 104,000 of them are legally free for adoption. And annually, over 20,000 foster youth age out of the system, never establishing a forever family connection! Can you imagine spending a large portion of your youth without a family saying, "I love you!", "You're valuable!", "You're important!" & "I'll be there for you, no matter what!" & then be set out on the street (literally) once the system considers you an adult? Not only do many of them wind up homeless, a large number of them never acquire a high school diploma & very, very few go on to college (only 3-5% go on to college). With the cards stacked horribly against them, large numbers of them can't find or keep a job. With no way to support themselves & no one to help, many wind up in gangs, selling drugs, selling themselves, pregnant, on drugs & a plethora of other terribly tragic outcomes! We can do better than this! We MUST do better this! (But I digress).
In the midst of my sadness & disappointment, something truly amazing occurred! As I was sharing our story, I told them about "the God promised 12" & how we were in the process of raising the $25,000 necessary to finish our basement & make it happen. Immediately, one of the prospective foster & adoptive fathers said, "I'm a carpenter. I could frame out your basement!" Then a gentleman from the panel said, "I'm an electrician. I could do your electrical." I was taken back. I couldn't believe what I was hearing! I then said something like, "Wow! That would be amazing! Now all I need is a plumber!" But God is so great that, as soon as I spoke those words, a lady from the panel said, "My husband does plumbing!"
So, where does that leave us in terms of our fundraising? Honestly, I'm not really sure but, with labor expenses taken out of the equation, I'm guessing considerably less! Since I don't know definitely what the total will be, I'm going to guesstimate it to be somewhere around $15,000 & adjust our campaign accordingly to reflect that amount.
I just want to say thank you to everyone that has helped us on our journey so far - whether it be through donations, sharing our campaign, praying &/or volunteering your time & services. I really do not know what we would do without you! Your support in this endeavor has been renewing my faith in mankind. You are making this dream a reality & it WILL result in at least 6 more children being adopted!
Please, continue to pray for our family & the children still in care. If you could donate &/or continue to share our campaign (along with a testimonial if possible) that would be greatly appreciated as well!
Again, thank you! God bless!