Stewart Adoption Story
My heart stopped as I heard my husband's words. I closed my eyes and prayed for courage as I felt our lives getting ready to change drastically. As pastors, we have always tried to help people as much as we could, but this was on a whole different level. It was bigger than us and we knew it.
Let me back up to the beginning. We started a church called Refuge located in Pasco County, Florida which happens to have a rather large homeless population. We knew this community was hurting, so we dove right in and started helping in every way we could. We partnered with Metropolitan Ministries, serving free hot meals at the church twice a week (Tuesdays & Saturdays) to the homeless. In a matter of months, we were feeding 500 people a week and offering free clothes & toiletries.
On Friday, Nov 6th, we were working all day at the church, and I couldn't help but notice the tiny face of a toddler staring in at us through the glass doors. His younger brother lay strapped in a stroller next to their parents for an estimated 10 hours that day. It gripped my heart. I recognized the parents, they had been attending the feeding program for a few weeks. The family, along with another man, camped out under the awning of the church all day. It was evident at that time that the children were in need, and I knew we were placed in this community to meet needs.
Our hearts were breaking as evening came, along with storm clouds. We began imagining the night these boys were about to have as we were getting ready to go home to a warm, dry house.
I asked my husband, "Since the parents are high and refuse to go to a shelter, should we just ask them if they want us to take the babies home for a warm bath & bed for the night?"
"Ummm they said yes..." were the next words I heard. Without hesitation they put an old, blue polo shirt they had gotten from the church on the toddler and handed me the baby in the car seat. I asked the parents the babies names as we drove away not realizing I didn't even know what to call them. Within 5 minutes of driving down the road, the rain began to fall and I couldn't help but stare in my rear view mirror amazed and overwhelmed that God provided a refuge for these boys, and chose to use my home to do so. After returning them to their parents Saturday, we prayed as a family that God would protect the sweet boys and always provide a shelter for them (never dreaming it would be with us).
As we were leaving church Sunday morning, we were approached by the family with their social worker in the parking lot. They told us that after investigating, the social worker determined the boys would be immediately removed from the parents. (Due to the boys privacy I will not disclose details). The parents asked if we would temporarily shelter the children to avoid foster care and needed an immediate answer. That was 5 months ago, and what was so unplanned & unexpected has turned into a beautiful blessing for our family.
We have now been faced with the decision to adopt or place the boys in foster care. We are absolutely positive that God has placed them in our lives for a purpose and to love them as our own. We cannot deny God's sense of humor; my husband laughs as he remembers the conversation that we had the day before we met the boys. I was 6 weeks post-op from a total hysterectomy after battling an early cancer diagnosis and sadly said, "Well, no more kids for us!"
With the consent forms already signed, we are now finalizing the process to legally adopt the boys and officially make them part of our family.
Thank you everyone for your prayers and support thus far. Since we are not foster parents we have received no assistance from the state to care for these boys. For those that have asked for us to set up a go fund me, it is truly an honor. You will forever be a part of our family's miracle.
Even though the boys have been in our care, finalization requires attorney, court, and filing fees estimated at $10,000.
Our prayer is that our story inspires others to also take generous leaps of faith when your moment arises.
For those that have followed our story we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts and also let you know of an exciting update! Please click on the link below to meet our boys new baby sister
Cherie Ann, apparently you didn't read the entire story... The parents were high! I personally would much rather donate to a family that is using the donated funds to give the babies a loving family that will take care of them than donate to get their parents high! Have some respect and go post your criticism elsewhere.
when I was younger I wasn't living right I wasn't on drugs but I ran the streets party all the time . I did stuff I wasn't proud of but I had kids at a young age and I wanted to give them more then I could so I did an open adoption. they are now 14 aND 12 and I still talk to them. it was the best choice I made. I think its amazing that you guys heave hearts big enough to love these boys as your own.you guys rock
Cherie Ann, it clearly said the parents are consenting to the adoption. They have already signed. So the obviously want the kids to be given their best chance and it takes a strong mother/father to admit/agree that their best chance is with someone else. To the family who has taken on these boys as their own, I would like to say I hope you reach your goal and can finalize this process so those boys can get the fresh start they so desperately need. My family personally took in a child after her mother asked us to keep her for a few days. She was 10 years old then. That has been 2 years ago last month. I understand how difficult it is and may God truly bless your family for the compassion you have to squeeze in two more children into your home and your hearts. I am also thankful that you were able to help these children at such a young age. The child we took in tells us all the time that she wishes we would have got her as a newborn because she has dealt with and seen so many things she should not have in her first 10 years of life. She will forever be damaged from it. And it is a daily constant battle for her and us now. Sometimes we wonder if we were to late and if she really cannot change. But then we remember that if God brings your to it, he will bring your through it. I pray that those sweet baby boys don't remember their first year/years of life for that reason. I pray they only remember the warmth and love your family gave them. My deepest thoughts and prayer are with you.
This is a wonderful story that could have had a very different ending if these pastors had not listened to God. I hope someday these beautiful babies realize how lucky the are! I did something similar when I adopted 7 children from the same mother. She lost them due to drugs and neglect/abuse. They are all grateful that the cycle of neglect and abuse has been broken and they have had a great life! That was over 15 years ago and I could not be prouder of each of them! God blesses you just when you think it is hopeless!!!
I see you have reached your goal and I am so glad these kids have been placed with you. I pray their parents get the help they need to quit drugs and stay straight. Maybe one day the boys can thank them for their selflessness. God Bless your family.
Although I wish I could donate, I do however want to say what a blessing it was to read your story this morning! It touched my heart and those sweet boys faces are truly precious! God put you in their lives on purpose and we as followers of Christ just have to follow his lead and let him direct our paths! My husband works and I stay home with our kids and have had to sacrifice a lot to do this but I know for my children's safety and well being it's the best thing I can do as a mom, me raising our children instead of a daycare! My prayer for your family is that you raise all the money to adopt them and then some so it will help with things they need! May God continue to bless your family and would love to see more of your journey with them! ♥️
Bless you.. My husband i did the same thing. We took on 3 siblings ages 1, 2, and 3. We have two of our own which are now grown. We have had them for over a year now with no help from anyone. I understand the adjustments you must have made. I cant afford to help but will pray for your beautiful family
I read this story over the weekend, and have shed many a tears. I loved hearing this story of taking these sweet babies in. I truly wish we could help in someway right now. I send my love and well wishes to you and your sweet family. Those boys are beautiful and I am thankful they have a good home filled with love!
What you are doing is wonderful. I will be praying for your family. I wish i could do more, but i myself am in a similar situation. I have had to take in my 3 granddaughters 3 times now, to keep them out of foster care. If my daughter and her boyfriend can't straighten up, i will have to figure out how to to the same with my girls, who are 3 12 years, 2 years, and 9 months. So i knoe exactly how important what you are doing is. You have changed their lives for the better, but you have slso changed your entire familys. Thank you for your amazing love of others, and open hearts.
You guys are truly amazing I want you to know that what you did for that family was beyond amazing you give me faith in humanity that people do care an do help those in need those boys are blessed to be with you I'm glad there's people like you in the world !!!